The Negroconservative

I’ve been thinking for the last few days, both about my previous post starting the “Black Republicanism” dialogue, and about the Julia Gorin column Richard highlighted on Friday. I’ve never been very taken of the “neocon” label myself, both because of the negative stereotypes the label has been used to evoke by it’s detractors, and because of some stark differences I have with some of the positions of the faction.

This is my second attempt at writing out this particular post, the first falling apart when I couldn’t quite identify how I wanted to trace the roots of the various conservative factions, respectively. The cornerstone of my first attempt wondered aloud if the neoconservatives, who to a large extent trace their political ancestry back to their days in the Democratic Party, actually first departed from the Republican tradition when FDR moved his party to the left of the Radical and Progressive Republicans of earlier days. The next question, of course, would be to ask if paleoconservatives are actually dominated by the “classical” conservatives who moved right just before and during FDR’s move left, or who finally fled the Democratic Party after the Dixiecrat Rebellion failed. I’ve since found several pieces of evidence here, here, and here that suggest that those are more than random thoughts.

I must say, the more I look into the paleo mindset, the more disgusted I am by it, and the more distasteful I find the label “conservative” that we are saddled with, associating our cause with theirs. Still, I don’t find my revulsion so severe that I am willing to adopt the “neo” label to oppose them – there ought be a name for the ideology I support that will align myself with the ancient Republican traditions of Lincoln and TR, and without the racial and political baggage now impugning the neocons.

“Black Republicanism” is too awkward, but the word I’m looking for should be just as much a repudiation of racial stereotyping as the name of this blog. What term will finally identify me, and throw into their own faces the prejudices of the race-baiters and racist apologists on the right and left alike? What term could simultaneously act as a rallying cry against the historical amnesia The Black Republican was founded to heal?

Thus, the negroconservatives are born.

I find the word euphonic (pronounced with a short “e” sound), and so similar to “neoconservative” as to fool the ear of any who might not be listening carefully enough. And rightfully so, because the connotation so justifiably disputed by Gorin (“It’s those weathy JOOOOOS!”) is turned on its head when the prefix turns out to be the archaic definition of “racial underclass”. Close enough to be equally despised, but unique enough to make a sharp distinction within the varied ranks of Reaganism. And most of all, it’s practically a transliteration of “Black Republican”.

What does a negroconservative believe?

That freedom is God’s gift to humanity, and cannot be separated from us by arbitrary force or illicit persuasion short of the extinguishment of our very lives;

That the Founders’ contention that “all men are created equal” is just as true today as the day it was written, even though the modern definitions of both “men” and “equal” are perceived to be different, and that this fact should not diminish the profound nature of their endeavor, or our devotion to living this basic principle and conveying its message to all mankind;

That the right to secure property was as much a foundation of the settlement of this land as the right to practice one’s religion in peace, but that neither of these rights is mutually exclusive with the principles of majority rule, or with one another;

That the right to communicate in public on matters of importance, and to influence one’s neighbors to follow a particular course of political action, is not reserved to a few by class, method, or content, but is available to all citizens through whatever means of communication is most practical for them and available to them in the market;

That only a form of government “of the people, by the people, and for the people” is properly constituted to guard against behavior destructive of these rights, and that this concept is not limited to one race, ethnicity, or nationality;

That the most equitable form of government is not defined by that which protects all these values equally, but that defends them all unequivocally from itself;

That it is the obligation of government to protect its citizens from both external agression and internal strife, and to administer justice through due process of law;

That the Constitution of the United States is the best arrangement yet devised for empowering government to fulfill its proper role, while restraining it from the concentration and abuse of power;

That the market economy, allocating resources by the free play of supply and demand, is the single economic system compatible with the requirements of personal freedom and constitutional government, and that it is at the same time the most productive supplier of human needs;

That when government interferes with the work of the market economy, it tends to reduce the moral and physical strength of the nation; that when it takes from one man to bestow on another, it diminishes the incentive of the first, the integrity of the second, and the moral autonomy of both;

That we will be free only so long as the borders of the United States are open to immigration and trade, closed to invasion and corruption, and securely defended by policies maintaining our national sovereignty and traditional identity;

That the forces of international terrorism and their despotic benefactors are, at present, the greatest threat to these liberties; but

That the forces of international Communism, while having been largely discredited, are not eradicated, and they have learned that “social democracy” is a better vehicle for their goals than the Revolution;

That the United States should stress victory over, rather than sufference with both of these menaces; and

That American foreign policy must be judged by this criterion: does it serve the just interests of the United States, holding “the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends,” and in all things under God, Brothers as Free Men?

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6 Responses

  1. Richard says:

    This is why I hate labels. They are nebulous, they carry baggage, and they are easily mis-defined by ones foes, they are limiting. And while labels have their purpose, they are best left to the historians, for in any contemporary discussion they only serve to confuse the issue; they are never an argument in and of themselves, yet they are often proffered as proof of the legitimacy/illegitimacy of a position. No one is right or wrong, on any subject, just by virtue of the label they are tagged with. A Peace activist is not necessarily incapable of hurting someone. A Liberal/Progressive may wish to retain (read conserve) the practices/standards of the past. And a Conservative does not insist on preservation of the status quo without alteration.

    These days, labels, (Republicans, Democrats, Conservatives, Liberals, etc., ad infinitum) serve mostly to limit discussion, and to put an opponent in a box from which they must produce a defense in order to extracate (sp) themselves before they can move the discussion forward ont eh real point they wish to negotiate. I say, leave labels to the historians, not the contemporary historians, those that follow and look back; for they best have the perspective to judge, sort and identify who belongs in which box.

  2. Chris says:

    Well Rick, your dissent is duly noted. But I don’t feel the slightest bit limited by a label -in fact, I find it liberating – as long as I am able to understand and affirm the meaning and purpose of the label for me. I feel like it’s a shorthand way of dispensing with some extended introduction into my philosophy, and allows others to get to the heart of the matter of why they disagree with that philosophy.

    Put another way, my ideology is defined by me just as much as it defines me. It’s a dissertation describing the logical method by which I think about all manner of issues. I frankly don’t understand people who say, “I vote on the issues.” If you pick and choose your stand about various issues without a logical framework to surround them, your vision of “How Things Oughta Be” is nothing but a haphazard quilt of anarchy.

    A “label” is merely the title of that dissertation.

  3. Patrick says:

    Great blog. Great label. Great article.

    Your principles are the principles of the party of Lincoln: The party of Lincoln was a party based on the principles of freedom. The freedom of free markets; freedom against slavery and against
    other injustices visited upon humans by others;
    the freedom of a nation secure in its borders, united in its liberty, and at peace at home and abroad.

    You can reaffirm that label, because, as you probably know, the Republican was the more ‘progressive’ party for 50 years… then the Democrats in the 20th century, which was always the party of populism, bought into socialism as the thing to sell to their voters. The latest version? selling the snake oil of ‘health care entitlement’.

    The Republicans have always been the more confidently Pro-American Party, projecting the unique American ethos and belief systems. The Republicans have been a party of principle trying to pretend to be a party of interests; the Democrats the party of interests pretending to be the party of principle.

  4. Chris says:

    Thanks, Patrick. I means a lot when people tell me they “get it”.

  5. Chris says:

    Welcome aboard, Jonathan!

    Watch out, Rick – it seems I’ve struck a nerve, and your opinion is quickly becoming a “minority” position.

  6. Jonathan says:

    It is amazing sometimes when and how things come into your life. I have been working at my computer for hours trying to take my mind off of the fact that I am going to watch tomorrow’s presidential debate with my fellow college republicans. As far as I know, I am the only black republican on my campus, which is in Phoenix, and I’ve been wondering if there is anywhere that my views will be shared by others African-Americans that understand why I am a “negroconservative”. Then I came across your website and was blown away. It is as if you knew that I needed to know that I am not alone and that there are other that “get it”. Thank you for creating a website that makes me feel at home. Your website has just gained another avid reader.