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It is good to be a conservative

By Alan Caruba
web posted April 14, 2003

I was first exposed to conservatism when, in 1964, the late Barry Goldwater gave his acceptance speech as the Republican candidate for President, running against Lyndon Johnson. He said, "I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue."

Like a good liberal, I was appalled at the time I heard this. I voted for Johnson and got seven years of the Vietnam War and had to wait for a Republican, Richard Nixon, to extricate us from it. I also watched as billions were wasted on Johnson's "War on Poverty" to no avail. It took the overhaul of our welfare system to have any real impact.

The liberal solutions didn't work then and will not work now. Now I watch the Democrat Party decry another Republican administration's effort to cut taxes while pursuing one of the greatest victories in modern warfare. Republicans still know how to reinvigorate the economy. Democrats haven't a clue.

There is nothing more "extreme" in the defense of liberty than war and, after eight years of the Clinton administration's effort to undermine our Armed Forces and its feckless and desultory response to the threat the Middle East poses to this nation and the world, that is being reversed. After 9-11, President Bush determined to apply this extreme response first to Afghanistan and then to Iraq. He has proven right in both cases, though it will surely take a very long time to see his efforts play out in a Middle East that must adopt democracy and end its support for a worldwide Islamic Jihad.

Under President Carter, we saw the loss of Iran as an ally and the giveaway of the Panama Canal. By contrast, under President Reagan we saw the collapse of the Soviet Union. In two cases, Republican Presidents were required to clean up the mess left behind by two Democrat Presidents, first in Vietnam and now in the Middle East.

A leading Democrat contender for the presidential nomination, John F. Kerry, called for "a regime change" in Washington, presumably comparing Bush to Saddam. House Minority Leader, Nancy Pelosi, keeps talking about casualties. Tom Daschle, Senate Minority Leaders has totally disgraced himself. If you are concerned about the future, there are any number of good reasons to vote for Bush in 2004 and to support GOP candidates who are not Democrats in disguise.

Like many conservatives I worry about the "Patriot Act" and the loss of our rights to privacy and the jettison of Constitutional protections. Still, "moderation in the pursuit of justice" to weed out the enemies in our midst rings true to me. In times of war, this nation has followed a similar course of action.

It is good to be a conservative and be able to have alternative avenues of information other than the defeatist daily newspapers. I tune to Fox News for "fair and balanced" news of events. I can listen to any number of radio talk show hosts who understand who the enemies of this nation truly are. I have access to dozens of Internet sites for further insight and information. This is a fairly new phenomenon.

It is good to see Germany, France and Canada, whose leaders spoke out in opposition to America's decision to put its troops in harm's way for the cause of liberty, scramble to support regime change in Iraq. They hope we have short memories, but I don't think that will be the case. A lot of Canadians have personally emailed me to say how ashamed they are of their premier. Some Germans, too, have written to apologize for the Chancellor. The deafening silence of the French and the widespread rise of anti-Semitism in that nation speaks volumes.

It is good to see the weakening of public support for the United Nations after more than a half century of being told it was going to end "the scourge of war" while failing to do so on a regular basis. Few Americans, however, are aware that the UN is vigorously pursuing its goal of becoming a global government, nor are they aware of the countless UN treaties, protocols, and conventions that harm the interests of the United States and undermine our national sovereignty. We need to withdraw from the UN and let this hotbed of anti-Americanism implode.

We need to tighten our immigration laws and our borders. We need to keep an eye on Red China. We need to pay more attention to Communist inroads in South America. We need to end the Federal destruction of our nation's educational system. We need to let thousands of environmental laws lapse or be rescinded. We need to revive the economy. Who do you trust to do this? Democrats or Republicans?

I wasn't always a liberal, but as Paul wrote in Corinthians I, Chapter 13, "When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things."

Barry Goldwater was right.

Alan Caruba is the author of a new book, "Warning Signs", published by Merril Press. His weekly column is posted on the Internet site of The National Anxiety Center. © Alan Caruba, 2003

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