On Wednesday, conservative author and legal scholar, Mark Levin, opened his show by castigating progressives who continuously misrepresent conservatism:
Now I hear these fools go on and on about: "Look at this. Texas conservatives, they're gonna want money because of Harvey; and Florida conservatives, they're gonna want money because of Irma." [I'm] thinking to myself, do they even understand what “conservative” and “progressive” mean? We conservatives aren't anarchists; we're not the ones running around with black masks and helmets and outfits, burning down buildings and all the rest of it. We believe in a constitutional government.
There's a huge difference from massive redistribution of wealth, endless departments and agencies, a bloated bureaucracy, massive federal pensions, and on and on and on; a difference between that, and truly helping American citizens who have paid taxes year after year after year after year who need help.
We're not trying to rejigger society, we're not trying to remake the nature of man when we help people in trouble, whether we do it through government in cases like this — natural disasters, not mad made disasters — or through our own charities. We're not trying to change the world, we're trying to help our fellow man. That's quite different than redistributing wealth and the massive federal leviathan, which is in our faces left and right.
Every time something is invented, they want to regulate it, tax it, create a new department to oversee it. That's big government; that's out of control big government. Trying to destroy businesses, trying to destroy individual initiative, confiscatory tax rates — that has nothing to do, zero to do with helping people who are confronting natural disasters. ...
And yet I hear this all the time — it's constant now. "Oh, these conservatives are gonna have to rethink their philosophy."
This is an argument with which conservatives are all too familiar. "Conservatives are anti-government, so how can they ever support anything initiated by the state, whether it be natural disaster relief or something else?" To this argument, a typical conservative would say: We are not “anti-government,” we are against a government that oversteps its constitutional boundaries, the exponential growth of which stifles the individual freedoms expressly protected in our founding documents. Unfortunately, this answer nearly always falls on deaf ears, and progressives continue to repeat the previous assertion as if it were never corrected.
A recent example of this misconception came in the form of a grotesque political cartoon, courtesy of Politico:
In light of this dragon once again rearing its ignorant head, let us set the record straight in easy-to-understand bullet-point form:
- Conservatives are not “anti-government,” they simply want the federal government to operate within the boundaries dictated by the United States Constitution.
- Conservatives are not opposed to all government spending.
- Conservative are not opposed to natural disaster relief packages, so long as the designated legislation isn't tied to unrelated pork. For example, attached to the $50 billion Hurricane Sandy bill were multiple spending initiatives outside the scope of disaster relief.
What conservatives are opposed to is an ever-expanding system that breaks free of its constitutional confines, and begins to infringe on the personal freedoms and responsibilities of Americans via runaway spending, taxation, and regulation.