STAFF NEWS & ANALYSIS
Barack Obama Fails to Defeat Conservatism
By Staff News & Analysis - October 30, 2009

This week's striking Gallup poll on political ideology is further confirmation that the United States is in essence a conservative nation, which has ironically become even more conservative under Barack Obama. According to Gallup, 40 percent of Americans describe their political views as conservative, 36 percent as moderate and 20 percent as liberal. This is the first time conservatives have outnumbered moderates in America since 2004. These are staggering figures when you consider that the Left currently dominates the Executive Branch of the US Government, both Houses of the United States Congress, the federal bureaucracy, huge swathes of local government in many big cities, academia, the public school system, and most of the establishment broadcast and print media in America. The figures show there is a huge disconnect between the American public and those who wield much of the political power in the country. – Telegraph

Dominant Social Theme: Conservatives win?

Free-Market Analysis: We just commented on this article as it appeared on the Gallup site, and now here comes a Telegraph follow-story that confirms pretty much everything we tried to point out. The article is in our opinion a kind of elegant gibberish, which confuses free-market principles with "conservative" ones and comes up with a series of flawed conclusions.

First of all, let us define our terms, something we didn't fully do when we were analyzing the Gallup poll results. Gallup uses the term conservative to describe the free-market movement in America, but conservative is a fairly amorphous nomenclature that first began to appear in the literature in Britain about 300 years ago. Then as today the term conservative is very hard to define, but most scholarship seems to settle on a definition that involves a preference that things remain as they are – that change for change's sake may be counterproductive or even damaging to the fabric of society.

Of course this is not at all what Gallup seems to mean when it uses the term, which is why we questioned Gallup's terminology in the first place. Gallup it seems to us very clearly intends for Conservative to involve a preference for freedom – or some kinds of freedom – and free markets. We argued that the term Libertarian (or free-market thinker) would be a much better term than Conservative.

Another term that could be used is "classic liberal – instead of conservative — a terminology that developed in Britain some 300-400 years ago to describe individuals who wanted less government involvement and interference in society. While the term may be somewhat new, the impetus is thousands of years old. While the "conservative" sociopolitical perspective only seems to have emerged about 300 years ago, we can trace classical liberal perspectives back thousands of years.

The Greeks, Romans and Renaissance Italians all included classical liberal tenets in their successful societies. Many of America's founding fathers were classical liberals. But scrutinize the Constitution or the thought surrounding it, and you will find little that reflects "conservative" opinions. The phrase would likely have been meaningless to those who were creating a new and freer society (for most anyway) because it meant little or nothing at the time. We would argue it does not mean much more these days – even though it is a term continually in use.

Here's some more from this analysis of the Gallup findings:

Most significantly, Gallup's 16 surveys of 5,000 adults conducted across 2009 have definitively shown that conservatism is on the rise despite the election in 2008 of the most liberal president in American history. The biggest factor pushing up conservative support has been a shift among independent voters, 35 percent of whom now describe themselves as conservative, compared to 29 percent in 2008.

The Gallup survey also reveals a distinctly rightward shift in public attitudes since the Obama administration took office, with a growing backlash against the US government's support for big government solutions to the country's economic woes, as well as a marked rise in public support for socially conservative views.

To us, as mentioned above, such analysis is confusing. We don't think conservatism is on the rise in America. We think what is on the rise is free-market thinking. That would explain the shift of independent voters. These voters in our opinion, didn't adopt conservative views suddenly (whatever that means) but have adopted Libertarian ones. The largest movement in America is for freer-markets, not for "conservative" markets. And the "traditional values" that this group is said to endorse are traditional American Libertarian values. These are not Conservative values, or even statist values, but are values that are distinctly anti-big-government.

The spirit of Ronald Reagan is alive and well in America, exemplified by strong public backing for the principles of limited government, free enterprise, individual responsibility and a strong defense. The White House should sit up and take note: it is liberalism, and not conservatism, that is in decline in the United States.

How do we know these Independents in this article are not trending toward Conservative? We know it apocryphally for one thing. There are few Independent thinkers, let alone a majority of Americans we believe are enthusiastic about either the Afghan or Iraq war, for instance. If you asked the average American whether he or she thought the Pentagon was well run or even run with the best interests of most Americans in mind, we think the answer would be either an unenthusiastic positive or a firm negative.

Americans, for the most part are a scared people right now in our opinion. If they do any kind of complex domestic or international business, they are concerned about the FBI's universal wiretapping – a profoundly unconstitutional and destructive gambit. If they are investing or have retirement money, they are most concerned about the Federal Reserve's mishandling of the economy. If they are concerned about the future of freedom in their country, they are concerned about the growth of regulation, taxes and the increased militarization of civilian police forces.

Anyway … we don't think there is an increased Conservative movement in America. We believe there is a Libertarian or classical liberal one. Polls like Gallup that are then picked up and analyzed by mainstream newspapers such as the British Telegraph end up promoting one of the monetary elite's favorite dominant social themes – that both liberal and conservative voters favor state involvement in one part or another of their socio-political agenda. But that is not what is going on in the United States. Many in the so-called Conservative movement are not enthusiastic about a bigger and more intrusive military or expanded Homeland Security. Many such individuals would probably not be in favor of the 1,000-plus military bases that the United States has opened around the world and still maintains.

After Thoughts

The growth of the Conservative movement in the United States is actually the growth of the Libertarian movement, sparked by information available on the Internet. This movement which is coming into its own in Europe as well, is anti-big government, anti-big government regulation, anti endlessly expanding security measures of Western states, and pro-free markets in general. The movement is anti-central bank, and we think pro gold and silver. The movement in America is led by that feisty "Libertarian" Congressman from Texas, Ron Paul, who wants smaller government across the board, including America's military and police-state expansions. Heck, he's even leading the charge for an audit of the Fed. The movement is NOT being led, in our opinion, by "Conservatives", except so far as they partake of free-market rhetoric and neglect to mention their support of the larger American empire which is in many aspects profoundly anti-free market.

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