Where is the future of the conservative movement? What can we expect from it in years to come? What positions will it hold, who will be its main base, and will it maintain majority status? These are questions that both conservatives and liberals ask themselves behind closed doors, with friends, and in the secret war rooms of politics.
I will not dare attempt to predict where the movement is headed for the long term. I will, however, take you on a tour of some philosophies that are shaping the conservative movement of tomorrow. I will also give you what I believe are the primary choices for the conservative movement in the next decades.
Perhaps the most important issue facing the next generation of the conservative movement (my generation to be exact) is whether or not fiscal conservatism will be followed. This issue has arisen because so many of the Republicans in the U.S. Congress have been spending money like it is going out of fashion. While Republicans are still very pro-tax relief, they are extremely spending hungry as well. This cannot and will not last forever though.
There are two possible outcomes for this situation. The first possible outcome is that conservatives will reassert themselves and attempt to bring spending back under control. There are signs that such a possibility might become a reality soon if things continue to go as they are.
The other possibility is that conservatives will cease to be fiscal conservatives. This would have extraordinary consequences, and would dramatically change the entire political landscape of the United States. As anyone can guess, this could be nothing but positive for the liberals. Liberals would see this as an opportunity to take back control of this country and would probably masquerade under the disguise of the fiscally responsible party. Of course, this would be only a trick to gain control again. The other outcome of this would be a split in the conservative movement, which would also allow liberals to gain the upper hand in the war of ideas.
As we all know (especially those who have been reading the “Why A Conservative Trilogy”), the other primary camp in the conservative movement are the social conservatives. This side of the conservative movement, the more loyal of the two, does not possess quite as much of an uncertain future as the fiscal conservative camp.
The reason I say this is because I believe the social conservative movement will not be much of a factor in years to come. As far as I can tell, I believe the social conservative movement will dwindle in power and influence due to key factors outside of its control – namely liberal control over education. Social conservatism is the harder to defend of the two branches of conservatism; therefore, for many students it is difficult to explain adequately to a hostile teacher/professor. If something cannot be defended well in the eyes of a student, many times the idea is disregarded by the student (I have personal experience with this, but you’ll have to wait for next week’s post to see what I mean!).
What will be the consequences of this falling-away of the social conservative movement? That is hard to say. It is difficult to calculate how fast the social conservative movement will fail. If it lasts a few more decades, the impact to the overall conservative movement will be minimal.
Do not take this the wrong way either. For the most part, I am a social conservative; therefore I do not want to see social conservatism fail. However, I am also a realistic person; I do not see the camp continuing on for much longer.
Given the possible outcomes for both the fiscal and social conservative camps, what is my general view of the future? Optimistic describes it quite well. Conservatism, as I have said many times before, embraces the individual. This philosophy is attractive to anyone who is not dogmatically intolerant. I believe the conservative movement will continue. What form it will be in, I will not reveal that here for fear of being dead wrong. Whatever the future holds, the underlying ideal of individual liberty will continue to support the movement for decades to come.
Your favorite 18-year-old conservative blogger,
PS – Many people have asked me about what my opinion was about Referendums C and D the Colorado election on 11/1/2005. A friend of mine who shares a nearly identical opinion on C and D has a blog article on the subject. Go check it out!
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