By Neil Molaison
With the very best of intentions the brave, free men of these United States have ceded a star spangled Vision for the very systems of the countries that those early pioneers and pilgrims left behind. In the figure of Mr. Coolidge stands the last vestige of a passing era, nearly forgotten in the pages of history. He stands quiet and resolute before the turning of the times, before the deal was new, before the society was great, and before health insurance was a human right.
Conservative principles, e.g. limited government, separation of powers, and sound monetary policy have each had their turn at being chipped away. There are a legion of reasons for this slow decline, and each passing generation has come with a new cause to champion, another compromise to bring ‘progress’ to our system.
The citizens need jobs, why not fund projects? The security of the American worker is at risk, what will happen when they retire? Do we not care about your future, don’t we want a social security to rely on when we are old? And what of our health? Surely we will want to stay healthy! Our children are in need of education, why not form a federal bureaucracy to oversee this? The banks and moneyed interests are failing, and the lobbyists are demanding a solution. Is bailing out these companies not in the public’s best interest? We cannot leave any children behind, and these institutions and companies are far too big to just let them flounder in an unregulated market!
Don’t we care about the old, the poor, the children, the worker, the student, or the immigrant? If the government can provide a solution what kind of misanthropic miser must one be to withhold one’s wholehearted support or vote?
Compassion is indeed a powerful motivator, and if the charitable giving figures of the U.S. are any indication there is much to be said about the generosity of the average American. Conservatives have always seemed to struggle with one particular clarification when arguing their case: that though there may be a true need in society, it is not necessarily the place of the State to oversee the meeting of that need. Mr. Coolidge, through his marked lack of interference, seemed to understand this even if later conservative figures have not.
Particularly in this most recent election cycle, the true conservative is left without many champions for the cause. Senator Paul of Kentucky has most recently been assuming that mantle in regards to budget reform, living out a recommendation of Mr. Coolidge himself, “It is much more important to kill bad bills than to pass good ones.” Only time will tell if there is yet room in the American political landscape for true conservative principles.