I have been mining my old Not Eudora columns for the book I’m writing. One pseudonymous writer has been honoring me by throwing questions at my columns. I just discovered one such question that I missed. I missed it because I can only find my critics if I go back a few days later to the website of the Duluth Reader where, after my posts are uploaded, people are given a chance to comment. If I don’t go back I miss the questions and don’t answer them and I never saw this one. Having just found this one I want to answer it because my return to “modern” Republicanism to burn it down will make a lot of people scratch their heads over my intention to turn it into a Phoenix. The Party was pretty awful before Donald Trump. Under Trumplicanism its hair is on fire and I didn’t start that.
Here is Juan Percent’s question:
Harry – there is a major philosophical difference that separates you from modern republicans. The government is not the answer to your problems. You have that responsibility. How can you even consider yourself to be conservative?
I did not answer this in December of 2018. I will answer it here later today:
HERE’S MY ANSWER:
I’m a Presbyterian by upbringing if not a current member (although I’ve sung in our church’s choir for a quarter century) A Presbyterian lives in a church with its own set of rules not unlike those of the American Constitution. In the same way Americans codify seperate but equal branches of government to preserve us from a tyrant the Presbyterians insure that they can preserve the Presbyterian church for Presbyterian ideals that can only be modified with the consent of the majority of church members. How can this play out?
A few years back in Grand Rapids Minnesota a swarm of evangelical folks were swept into a Presbyterian church and drove the old timers out. They then attempted to take over the church building. My wife was one of the larger community of Presbyterians that let them know that under our church’s polity the church building belonged to the greater church not the take-over artists.
No such guarantees preserve old timers in political parties other than preserving their majority. In the case of both parties events have swept new majorities in and changed the platforms over the last 200 years. One party, Lincoln’s Whigs, simply disappeared.
I am not a modern Republican. That would be a Trumplican. I was not really much of a Republican before Trump when bloodless Ayn Rand aficionados, like Paul Ryan, ruled supreme. You really have to go back to Dwight David Eisenhower or Nelson Rockefeller to find my kind of Republicans who were also my Dad’s kind of Republicans. Farther back in my Grandfather’s day Teddy Roosevelt held sway. Those were days when the party proudly traced its lineage to Abraham Lincoln. Today’s Republicans are very much “Lincoln who?” I was shocked and pleased in my brief foray into the Democratic Party to discover that they held Abe Lincoln in high esteem.
Hitler was once modern. So much for mere modernity. Although my Grandfather would have cast a disapproving eye at “socialism” in his day, he didn’t want to take advantage of Medicare until my Dad convinced him he had paid for it, he would have understood that America’s NATO allies were all far more heavily invested in socialism than the United States. Judging by how miserable so many Americans are I think its long overdue to follow our allies lead because they do not have such wells of poverty, despair and ignorance in their nations as we Americans do.
As for “conservativism” that generally means holding fast to what has worked and will continue to work. I see little in the modern Republican Party but despoliation of the planet. That doesn’t work for me.