Thursday, March 03, 2016

Constitutional Conservatives vs. Common Sense Conservatives

We are facing a bigger divide in conservatism than we have seen in decades.

Though a lot of voters like or dislike a candidate on the basis of emotion, there is a core of people who normally think about issues and values.

Ted Cruz
In the current election, we are seeing the splintering of conservatism. Those who are Constitutional conservatives (CCs) believe in limited government as set out in the text of the Constitution and in human rights that government cannot infringe mostly set out in the Bill of Rights. Ted Cruz is the major politician carrying the banner for this view.

Donald Trump
Common Sense conservatives (CSs), on the other hand, are more concerned with outcome. They have a picture of how society should operate, and they are not that concerned about how one gets to that picture. Donald Trump is the major politician carrying the banner for this view.

Here are some differences between the two camps on how to achieve specific ends.

1. Defending the nation. CSs like Trump suggest torture, which is against the Eighth Amendment, and killing the families of terrorists especially going after their wives, which is against the prohibition of bills of attainder in Article I, Section 9, Clause 3,

CCs are outraged at the prospect of disobeying any major Constitutional provision especially those that have to do with human rights. So, CCs are adamantly against using torture to defend the country or bill of attainder tactics that target relatives of traitors.

2. Wanting jobs to remain in America. To keep jobs in America, Trump threatens Carrier, a company that is moving production facilities to Mexico, with punitive taxes.

CCs want American jobs to remain in America and thus propose cutting business taxes to entice businesses to stay but not punishing businesses from leaving the U.S. CCs are against a Berlin Wall tax that keeps people from freely leaving the country (whether companies or individuals).

3. Media fairness. Trump thinks the way to make that happen is to strengthen libel laws so that negative articles against politicians are subject to lawsuit and financial and punitive damages. Of course, that would apply not only big media, but bloggers who publish online. CCs also want the media to be fair but reject the idea that politicians need more shelter from public, media or opposing candidate criticism. CCs want a strong First Amendment.

Is there a way to bridge the gap? There seemed to be when Sarah Palin was carrying the Common Sense conservative banner. She didn't suggest unconstitutional means to get to her ends. But, now that Trump is its poster boy, aside from accepting a trashing of the Constitution and its values, there doesn't seem to be a path to get Constitutional conservatives to agree to Trump's Common Sense conservative means.


OregonGuy said...

Never let sound principles stand in the way of a good idea.

MAX Redline said...

and thus propose cutting business taxes to entice businesses to stay

We have the highest corporate tax rates in the world, and "businessman" Trump can't figure out why businesses are moving to places like Ireland.

ZZMike said...

Trump gets weirder and more unsettling every day.

Good catch on the Bills of Attainder thing. Someone ought to tell Obama abut that, next time he orders a remote drone strike. On the other hand, it does say "No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed." So if a President doesn't want to bother Congress with trivia, he can just go ahead and blow 'em up real good.

T. D. said...

Thanks for weighing in, guys! It's pretty clear all three of you are on the CC side.