In the ship of state, conservatism makes good ballast, but poor sails.
America is the grand ship of state that set sail in the 18th Century, but today conservatism — especially conservatism in service to the wealthy — has shredded the sails, is dragging the anchor, and more. Let me explain.
Conservative ideology in practice has skewed incomes and wealth to such an extreme of disparity, that a huge proportion of citizens are no longer productive, and no longer able to consume what others produce. This undermines the production of wealth. Conservatism has shredded the sails.
Conservative policies have sent a large proportion of America’s productive capacity, jobs, and incomes overseas. Worse, some companies have outsourced their research and development, the very basis of innovation. In other words, many have abandoned ship.
Conservative resistance to progress, resistance unbroken for many decades, keeps us dependent upon oil and coal for much of our energy. Meanwhile, other countries have become, or are becoming, the world experts in mass transportation, alternative energy sources, and innovative production and assembly practices. American conservatism is dragging the anchor.
Conservative ideology in practice forced the deregulation of finance at all levels, leading to the savings and loan crisis of the 1980s, the real estate bubble, and the recent world-wide financial meltdown. Conservatism has lashed the wheel to starboard (rightward), and America is running in circles of boom and bust.
By undercutting public education, conservatism is suppressing the emergence of future Fords, Edisons, and Einsteins. Potential future pilots are being cast adrift.
Religious conservatism is impeding the teaching of the sciences, especially the biological sciences, which can only result in a populace ignorant of the real world and our place in it, and unable to weather the storms of political and moral decisions necessary for personal and collective well-being. This is not the way to train a competent crew.
To stay afloat and on course, conservatives will have to admit that we are all on this boat together. America must unfurl new sails made of egalitarianism, innovation, and progress.