I support the decision to remove the Confederate Flag from the South Carolina Capitol.
Common Sense Conservatism needs a more intellectual, and yes, less Southern face. States in the Deep South have the highest rates of crime, divorce, illiteracy, obesity, and poverty in the country. Cultural factors are to blame. The South needs a cultural reformation. This step can help.
I am not implying that conservatism needs to be less conservative. In fact, I advocate that Republicans, Independents, Democrats, and Libertarians become MORE conservative. But we need to drop the symbolism that makes conservatism looks anachronistic. That will allow our ideas to appeal to a wider audience. This was a subtext in my book, Discovering Possibility.
Another factor that gets insufficient attention in my opinion is that the independent middle of the country, especially in Northern states and upper middle class neighborhoods throughout the country is rejecting in your face conservative religious fundamentalism and simultaneously attempting to maintain its common sense conservative ideals. A large majority of Americans still believes in God. Spiritual activism is on the rise, but many folks are tired of the all or nothing exclusion politics they perceive coming from people who espouse a worldview that excludes others from salvation. There is an especially pronounced stylistic divide, which is often unspoken, between Northern and Southern Conservatives, with the former group rejecting the fire and brimstone rhetoric of Southern conservatism while attempting to hold onto core Constitutional Conservative tenets. In my opinion, this is the primary reason there are very few Conservatives holding national electoral offices from the Northeastern United States, although that trend reversed during the most recent Congressional election in 2010. I know many people from the Northeast who are culturally and economically conservative but feel uncomfortable with Southern Christian evangelism.
As I wrote earlier I am a Deist like many of our founding fathers, and I own that perspective here. Many of the Founders were themselves tolerant of, but rejecting the imposition of revealed religious traditions they believed were claiming false superiority. I believe the American Restoration Movement would be wise to adopt a religious pluralist position that upholds Nature’s God without requiring belief in doctrinal religious imperatives that can sometimes lead to division. The Founders created a republic that had its basis in Nature’s God and was tolerant of many different religions and sects and even those people that were not believers. This necessarily pluralistic attitude certainly did not impose religious exclusivity on its citizens in either law or tradition. It might even be said that Deism has always been the de facto “national” religion of America even though the vast majority of Americans are professed Christians as they were at the time of our founding.
I would like to encourage my Liberal friends in human services and academia or those that identify with the progressive political tradition because they have distaste for what they see as narrow-mindedness, as in the above critique, to reconsider Classical Liberalism. We need you in the Restoration Movement. The Progressives are using you to take the country off a cliff so they can rebuild a different nation. They are using the tools of cultural Marxism to co-opt the energy that you feel because of the cultural divide above to foster a trans-formative agenda, an agenda I do not believe you really want. I am especially speaking to my African-American, Gay, academic and feminist friends and colleagues who are a part of the pluralistic American community our Founders created. Please consider learning more about the American Restoration Movement, remain true to your core values, but also join us in deconstructing Progressivism and restoring America.
The modern Conservative Movement should free itself from some of the baggage that frightens would-be adherents. Common Sense Conservatism does not need the anachronistic aspects of Southern culture to be conservative.