Friday, June 13, 2014

The (guilty) Conscience of a Conservative by Craig Schiller

Although published before the Reagan years, this book puts into perspective why the former governor of California and eventual president of the USA initially lost in the 70's but became a very popular president in the 80's.  Rabbi Schiller explains that if the image of the Conservative could be stripped of the stereotypes of crony capitalist, hater of the poor or destroyer of welfare programs and resonate with regular Americans whom Rabbi Schiller claims are sincerely conservative then the White House would be held by more conservative candidates.

The rabbi points out that there was a bipartisan approval for Social Security which means that even conservatives believe in the appropriateness to aid those that can't afford care.  They do not believe in the fraudulent opportunities that a central government creates.

This book is really a primer in conservative politics. One learns that Conservative thinking is not monolithic.  There are many different kinds of conservatives from the deeply religious, to the completely secular or historical.  Rabbi Schiller makes the case that religious people are naturally politically conservative because of the role that religion and tradition play in their lives.  Keeping tradition and skirting change is a key element in being religious and being politically conservative.

Over the years, I have found myself drifting to right in politics.  Most recently, however, I have acutely felt the unreasonable encroachments of a big centralized government.  The more the government encroaches, the more one's liberty is curtailed.  Phone data collection strikes me as Orwellian.  The notion of prosecuting journalists for doing their job violates freedom of speech.

Rabbi Schiller calls upon Conservatives to go back to the unifying roots of free market capitalism with limited but solid social programs that everyone can support.  The face of the evil amoral capitalist as the Conservative is the creation of the left's propaganda.  The rabbi calls for better communication of the values with which most Americans identify.

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