On Youtube, I came across a neo-conservative with a profile picture of Thomas Jefferson. This struck me as odd because I remember learning about Jefferson in U.S. history as being one of our greatest presidents, one who penned the Declaration of Independence and cut the national debt in half, among other feats.
While he was an Anti-Federalist (the precursor to the modern-day Republican Party/GOP), he did a lot of things that would be very disapproved of by the Teapublicans.
It was then that I realized why this user had chosen Jefferson – conservative nostalgia. Jefferson was a big advocate of America agrarianism, the idea that the United States was mostly farmland and rural pastures where the little guy (yeoman farmers, plain folks) deserved the most priority while the elitist merchants and industrialists were to be scorned at. This ideology came to be known as Jeffersonian Democracy.
I know many of you are thinking that this is nothing more than pure hypocrisy at its finest. These are the same people who backed Citizens United and corporate personhood, those who love industrialization, and above all else, support low taxes to the wealthy.
How can such an obvious disparity go unnoticed by them? Nostalgia. At the heart of Jefferson’s democracy was a limited national government that exercised power only for the good of the people. I’ll be the first to admit that I respect this vision. Like many liberals/progressives, I don’t agree with a smaller government, but I admire those who truly follow through with this. The philosophy behind this belief is that individual responsibility can get most jobs done over a big government.
I’m fine with individuals adopting this as I know that they do believe it. What I’m not buying is the entire Republican Party going for this. Again, it’s hypocritical for the GOP to adopt this romanticized ideal when their own party is split on future goals. It’s idiotic for them to scream no government involvement in the economy whilst granting million-dollar subsidies to corporations worldwide.
I suffer from nostalgia. I have memories of a time when my family used to be a real family, when animated shows were actually good, when it used to snow during Christmas, and so forth. Here’s the difference between my own recollections and the neo-con ones: mine are real. It’s been 32 years since Reagan destroyed any hint of the old conservatives. It’s time to for them to embrace this new image they’ve come to represent to the world and let go of their Rockefeller principles. The Democrats have taken over that position. Trying to claim that you’re still the old you advocating for the same original principles after everything that’s happened is only destroying what little credibility you have left.
When you have the time, stand in front of a mirror and ask yourself how much you’ve changed since your childhood days. Then follow-up with whether or not the change was good. No conservative can do this without lying to themselves.