September 25, 2010

Conservative principles

What have conservatives stood for over the last 100 years? Put another way, where would we be if they had their way? I am asking this in all honesty, by the way, and am not trying to be shrill. This includes many conservative Democrats, by the way, and liberal Republicans (those used to exist) have done a lot of good. But would we have:

Clean Air?
Clean Water?
The American Bald Eagle?
Women's sports?
domestic violence legislation?
a ban on child labor?
anti-lynching laws? (Students of history will know that civil rights activists spent the better part of 60 years trying to get federal redress for lynching. It was usually left up to local officials, and in places were lynching was a problem, the local officials were usually involved in the lynching).
Women Republican candidates?

I ask these, because I see conservatives willing to stand on principle to protect the oddest damn things. Not always, of course. I have also seen conservatives stand on actual principle to protect religious freedom and free speech. But I am looking at the Republican vow to repeal healthcare and it just struck me that conservative are willing to go to battle to make sure that people have less healthcare. Less. They think that the mandate is unconstitutional and so are standing on principle to say that people should have the right to not buy insurance, and later stick us with their bills.

That last part is partly tongue in cheek. Of course, if it is actually unconstitutional, then we need to fix the constitution. I don't mean to suggest that all of them are unprincipled. But it just strikes me as a long list of questionable defenses. Conservatives defending the corporations' right to hire children or underpay immigrants--or avoid responsibility for worker safety. Conservatives going to bat for property owner's right to discriminate against people of color, or gay couples. Conservatives defending keeping women out of college athletics or certain professions. Conservatives defending property rights for polluters. And now, defending insurance companies who kick people off who need care.

I don't get it.

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