Conservative history

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  • Howard Beal Provo, UT
    Oct. 25, 2013 6:07 p.m.

    Let's get some simple facts straight. A little history lesson.

    1) The Constitution strengthened the national government. This came at the expense of the states. I don't think that is somethings conservatives of today advocate.

    2) The original Constitution did not contain a Bill of Rights. Jefferson opposed the Constitution generally but softened when a Bill of Rights were added.

    3) Some great Americans or patriots didn't sign the Constitution at the convention, namely George Mason who advocated for a Bill of Rights and Edmund Randolph who proposed the Virginia Plan. "Give me Liberty or Give me Death" patriot Patrick Henry fought against the Constitution like no other.

    4) As said well above, historical context is important. The Constitution indeed strengthened the national government and was flexible. It has changed to free Black men, give women and Blacks the right to vote, changed how we elect Senators and the President and yes gave our national government the power to tax our income.

    5) Frank makes the common mistake of looking at certain "founding fathers" as monolithic figures of same spirit. Washington was not exactly neutral but Federalist leanings, Jefferson was an anti-Federalist, Madison a Constitutional Nationalist.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 25, 2013 12:58 a.m.

    OK, Frank, how would the founders have dealt with the Gulf oil spill? It polluted an entire region, affecting multiple states and countries. The founders could not have comprehended such a catastrophe. More are in store as our world becomes more and more complex due to technology and international capital. Your strict constructionist views don't cut it. Wake up and smell the coffee.

  • Happy Valley Heretic Orem, UT
    Oct. 24, 2013 12:19 p.m.

    Badgerbadger says:
    Libre means free.

    Liberty means free to choose your actions and accepting the consequences of those actions.

    Liberal means freely take from others.

    They have 'free' in common, but that is all they have in common.

    Why would people take you seriously when you make up definitions, unless they too get their info from radio which encourages this. Let me help you out.

    a. Not limited to or by established, traditional, orthodox, or authoritarian attitudes, views, or dogmas; free from bigotry.
    b. Favoring proposals for reform, open to new ideas for progress, and tolerant of the ideas and behavior of others; broad-minded.
    c. Of, relating to, or characteristic of liberalism.
    d. Liberal Of, designating, or characteristic of a political party founded on or associated with principles of social and political liberalism, especially in Great Britain, Canada, and the United States.

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    Oct. 23, 2013 9:02 a.m.

    "...Guess who the most ultra-conservative politicians in this nation’s history were?.....How about George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and particularly James Madison and in general the framers of our Constitution, who were the most ultra-conservatives in our history...."

    To that list, I would add Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt who both understood that to resist reform whose time had come was to invite catastrophic change. What we today label liberalism is the best hope for preserving and reinvigorating our way of life and our system of popular government.

    What set the American Revolution apart from all subsequent revolutions around the world is that it was not led by radical theorists who wanted to upend the old order. It was led by a native aristocracy inspired by the 18th century Enlightenment. They were fighting not to tear down but to preserve that which was being threatened.

  • happy2bhere clearfield, UT
    Oct. 23, 2013 8:36 a.m.

    ECR and others

    And this is why the Republicans need not worry about polls that show 75% of Americans would not want the Republicans re-elected. It is always the others guys bum that they want thrown out not their own. Frankly I'd be happy to get rid of most all Republicans and Democrats. Far too many on both sides have been in too long and have learned how to game the system. A lot more Mr. Smiths going to Washington would get rid of the House and Senate wheeling and dealing that only serves to serve the politicians themselves. I still lament that term limits was not constitutional.

  • Badgerbadger Murray, UT
    Oct. 22, 2013 9:03 p.m.

    Libre means free.

    Liberty means free to choose your actions and accepting the consequences of those actions.

    Liberal means freely take from others.

    They have 'free' in common, but that is all they have in common.

  • David Centerville, UT
    Oct. 22, 2013 8:59 p.m.

    We must put our founding father's views in context. When Washington and others favored a strong, centralized federal government, it was in the context of a unified military. It was not so that government could control every aspect of our lives (mandated contraception, mandated health care to name a few). Obama introduced Jane into the political discourse during the campaign to describe government involvement from cradle to grave. This is not how the founders viewed the role of government.

    Today Washington, Adams, Madison, and company would be conservative.

    Remember that Liberals opposed civil rights.

    Remember that Lincoln was Republican.

  • airnaut Everett, 00
    Oct. 22, 2013 7:53 p.m.

    @2 bits
    Cottonwood Heights, UT

    Frank didn't mention that Lincoln was a Republican. I know the Republican party has changed a LOT since then, but Democrats keep trying to pretend that he was one of them, but that's not historically correct. He was Conservative (and when I say "Conservative" I mean as a personal life style, not the political definition) as were many of our founding fathers.

    9:19 a.m. Oct. 22, 2013


    Gee , I don't know --

    Taking a Master's "private property" and freeing them without monetary compensation?
    Saying the Federal Government suspercedes a State?

    But Yes,
    I will agree with one thing,
    The "D"'s and the "R"'s have done a complete 180 role reversal since Lincoln.
    Getting the necessary votes from the House, Senate and Supreme court without holding the Country hostage to get your way.

    BTW - I recall millions of Tea-Party Conservative Republicans signing letters to secede from the Union aftger President Obama was re-elected...

  • Open Minded Mormon Everett, 00
    Oct. 22, 2013 7:27 p.m.

    That would get an "F" in any history class.
    The Founding Fathers were Progressive Liberals in every sense of the definition.

    The latin word "Libre" is the very root for for Liberl and Liberty.

  • Badgerbadger Murray, UT
    Oct. 22, 2013 7:20 p.m.

    I wonder what the congress approval rating would be if the president were silenced in any press for 3 months, and only congressmen were given unlimited air time?

    I think if there were fairness in journalism, the president's approval rating would drop and congress's would rise.

    But we will never know. The press loves Obama's face.

  • Mister J Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 22, 2013 2:41 p.m.

    re: one vote

    "The founders should have set of conservative utopia and made Glen Beck the ruler and the predominant religion in 1780 the official religion."

    You have just come up with a great idea for a sequel to *The Village* by M. Night Shyamalan.

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    Oct. 22, 2013 1:29 p.m.

    Mike in Sandy -- that is one of the BEST posts I've ever seen here.

  • Mike in Sandy Sandy, UT
    Oct. 22, 2013 11:07 a.m.

    Bad officials are elected by good people who don't vote.

  • Irony Guy Bountiful, Utah
    Oct. 22, 2013 11:06 a.m.

    A hilarious letter. Washington and Hamilton were strong gov't interventionists--conservatives like Jefferson hated them. Jefferson talked a good game until he became president and continuously acted contrary to his own views on the Constitution. Madison did nothing but run from the British while Washington burned. His wife should've been president, not him.

  • Roland Kayser Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Oct. 22, 2013 10:31 a.m.

    Trying to shoehorn the founders into our current conception of liberal or conservative is an exercise in futility. The world they inhabited bears no relationship to our own. For example many nineteenth century conservatives were extremely opposed to capitalism, industrialization, and free trade because those things would be highly destructive of traditional communities and cultures. They thought that only a people tied to the land could be conservative.

    So how does that apply to our current politics? It doesn't, that world no longer exists.

  • merich39 Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 22, 2013 10:17 a.m.

    The problem is that while approval of congress as a group of representatives is embarrassingly low, the approval of individual representatives is not nearly as bad. If you polled Utahns, those polls would show our approval rating of our own representatives to be high enough to assure re-election. Same thing with Nevadans and Californians and Texans and New Yorkers.

    Well, we Utahns don't get to vote for Nevada's representatives. When it comes time to vote the bums out, we only have the choice of our own representatives. So when we Utahns are in the polling booths next November, ask yourself if you want to take some personal responsibility for shaking up the Washington status quo. If you push the same old button for the same old representative, you are just as guilty as any other voter who did not vote their bums out.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Oct. 22, 2013 9:59 a.m.

    To all those "liberals" claiming credit for George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison...

    Declaring independence from the King was defiantly a radical thing to do. And putting your life on the line to fight against that king's army was also a very radical thing to do. I don't know if it was the "Liberal" thing to do, or if they were "Liberals" in today's political definition of the word. But obviously they wanted to get out from under the King and put all the political power in the hands of the people (which is kinda a Conservative principle).

    So maybe we can BOTH claim some ownership of the Founding Fathers. I think the best thing about the Founding Fathers was the Constitution and Representative Government (Constitutional Republic) they created. I'm with anybody who supports that Constitution (Liberal or Conservative). And I oppose anybody who disregards the Constitution they wrote (Liberal or Conservative).

    I don't care who owns them. I just know they wrote a Constitution that became the model for all nations and similar documents were adopted by almost every government giving more power to the people over the next 200 years.

  • lost in DC West Jordan, UT
    Oct. 22, 2013 9:52 a.m.

    No, I don't think Jefferson was ever "ok with it".

    I've read biographies on Washington, Adams, Franklin, Hamilton, and Jefferson. One common theme throughout all of them was Jefferson despised the power the constitution gave to the executive. So much so that even while serving on Washington's cabinet, he worked hard to undermine what Washington did - not because of any animus toward Washington, but because of the office.

    Now, you may say, Jefferson worked hard to gain the office he despised. This is true, but consistent with Jefferson's enigmatic nature. Jefferson was pragmatic enough to know he could not derail the constitution once it was adopted, so he accepted it, but I don't konw that I would say he as "ok" with it. it seems our disagreement may be purely over semantics, and how we define different terms.

    But I still confirm what I initially said - Jefferson was neither a drafter nor an advocate of the constitution.

  • Lew Scannon Provo, UT
    Oct. 22, 2013 9:30 a.m.

    Gosh, we've missed you, Frank.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Oct. 22, 2013 9:27 a.m.

    lost in DC,
    If Jefferson hated the Constitution so much... why did he make the very public Oath or Affirmation to... "preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States”, when he became President?

    Sounds like he was OK with it eventually.

    That's the thing you politicos need to learn today. You don't have to love EVERYTHING about something to be OK with it. There's room for compromise (as was needed when writing our Constitution).

  • Kent C. DeForrest Provo, UT
    Oct. 22, 2013 9:26 a.m.

    As has been pointed out, the Founders were, for the most part, the liberals and radicals of their day. They abolished the Articles of Confederation because they did not provide for a strong central government. They put in place a form of government that was not just radical but practically unthinkable in their day. What audacity, to think a strong federal government could hold together such a diverse population over such a massive geographical area.

    If they lived today, they would certainly be pushing for changes in the way we treat the land, the many ways we maim and kill each other, and the appalling disregard many of us have for the health and well-being of the general populace. Unfortunately, they were not very foresighted in imagining the society that would emerge with scientific advances, and therefore they were unable to construct a Constitution that would apply to many of the issues we deal with today. This is why that old document needs to be updated. The Founders would probably be first in line to revise it.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Oct. 22, 2013 9:19 a.m.

    I agree with Frank's conclusion. WE are responsible for who we elect (bottom line).

    If our representatives are not representing us... we need to replace them next chance we get. But if the majority keeps electing them... what can I say?

    Frank didn't mention that Lincoln was a Republican. I know the Republican party has changed a LOT since then, but Democrats keep trying to pretend that he was one of them, but that's not historically correct. He was Conservative (and when I say "Conservative" I mean as a personal life style, not the political definition) as were many of our founding fathers.

    There's literally NOTHING wrong with being "Conservative". Those who pretend we should be wiped off the face of the earth just for our life philosophy, our life style and views, are just showing their in-tolerance.

    There's also nothing wrong with being Liberal BTW (I mean the traditional definition, not the political definition). We need BOTH to be a good society.

  • one vote Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 22, 2013 9:03 a.m.

    The founders should have set of conservative utopia and made Glen Beck the ruler and the predominant religion in 1780 the official religion.

  • Eli Tesecular PhD Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 22, 2013 8:53 a.m.

    Let's face it, the founders just weren't smart enough to come up with Social Security, Medicare, food stamps, free school lunch and Obamacare. America would have to wait almost another 200 years for the genius we now know as progressivism to fix the blunders of George Washington and company.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Oct. 22, 2013 8:47 a.m.

    "How about George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and particularly James Madison and in general the framers of our Constitution..." Liberal, educated elitists of their day.

  • lost in DC West Jordan, UT
    Oct. 22, 2013 8:10 a.m.

    I must object to your inclusion of Jefferson in the group who drafted and advocated for the constitution. Jefferson was in Paris during the constitutional convention and he hated it when he saw it.

  • Sal Provo, UT
    Oct. 22, 2013 7:55 a.m.

    The federalists were compromisers. If not we would not have the Constitution we have today. There was tremendous give and take in the framing of the Constitution.

    Senators Lee and Cruz and Congressmen Chaffetz and Bishop are poor politicians; they don't understand how to win through compromise and savvy politics. I'll work against Lee and Chaffetz in my neighborhood caucus.

  • MaxPower Eagle Mountain, UT
    Oct. 22, 2013 7:44 a.m.

    ""How about George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and particularly James Madison and in general the framers of our Constitution..."

    In an article about Revionist history. Do a little research and tell me exactly what role Jefferson had in the Convention (hint...he was in Paris, and opposed ratification).

    To call them conservatives is also "revisionist" it was the most forward thinking document of the time, a very liberal idea to empower the people. At a time in the nation's history where if he wanted it, Washington could have been king!

    And looking through the scope of history, the wanted a strong federal government (albeit not too powerful) after having experienced the dismal failure of the Articles of Confederation. To understand the scope of their goal, one must also look at the failure of the preceeding government.

  • Baron Scarpia Logan, UT
    Oct. 22, 2013 6:14 a.m.

    "How about George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and particularly James Madison and in general the framers of our Constitution..."

    More revisionist history here. The advocates and framers of the American Revolution and the creation of the new American Republic were liberal, plain and simple. The conservatives of the south were very hesitant about the Declaration of Independence because it was such a radical idea about breaking away from a mother country (Great Britain) and setting up a government order that was so radical in orientation -- dividing the powers of government with checks and balances and allowing men (regardless of wealth, property ownership, slave ownership, etc.) the right to vote on matters and the establishment of a democratic republic. Southerners were particularly concerned about preservation of their slaves and property and "peculiar way of life."

    Washington and Madison were federalists, who sought a strong central government over state governments.

    Advances in rights and liberty, from the abolishment of slavery to women's right to vote to civil rights to public education for the masses to today's gay rights to healthcare -- all emerged from the liberal quarters of society. Conservatives opposed such movements and history documents this clearly.

  • ECR Burke, VA
    Oct. 22, 2013 5:14 a.m.

    The last paragraph of this letter is right on the mark. We get the government we choose. Recent studies have illustrated that most Americans have contempt for the current Congress yet they continue to vote for the Congressman(or woman) currently serving their district, apparently feeling that they are different than the others.

    Whatever label we want to attach to the Founding Fathers we can safely say that they had the best interests of the nation at heart, a trait that might be challenged if it was attached to the current Congress.

    Before the Constitution, Jefferson pushed an anti-urban policy in the Land Ordinance of 1785. This land policy divided land in what is now the Midwest into six square mile townships, divided into 640 acre sections. The policy supporters imagined that each section would become used for farming, except for one section that would be reserved for public education.

    And while Jefferson was against the creation of cities, John Adams was a communitarian who saw the value of community life. Washington, Jefferson and Madison were all conflicted about salvery and yet they all owned slaves. It was an intersting group. Thank heaven they were there.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    Oct. 22, 2013 4:56 a.m.

    "When we give Congress a low approval rating, we are in fact rating ourselves, because we elected these individuals into office"

    Yes Frank. And be assured that the sinking numbers (reaching historic lows) have lots of fingers pointing directly at Lee and Cruz.

    Who will you be voting for next time around?

    See the problem?

  • one vote Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 22, 2013 2:13 a.m.

    Cruz and Lee are the most ineffective trying to un-fund a funded law and starting the damaging tea party tantrum.