Often you hear pundits make the claim that the United States of America is a center right nation. This claim is generally presented as fact and even liberal pundits rarely make much of an argument against it. What no one ever discusses is why our country is a center right nation. It's time for that discussion. I see two main reasons for this.
1) Our roots and our forefathers are all center right by today's definition.
America has always been built on the idea of self reliance. Our country was founded in Judeo Christian philosophy. The ten commandments provided the roots for our Constitution. Furthermore, limited government was at the center of the conflict that lead to the Revolutionary War.
By today's standards, the Founding Fathers would all be considered Conservative. Is there any doubt that they would be fiscal conservatives? All of these entitlement programs, expansions of the federal government, and massive new bureaucracies would go against everything the believe in. Furthermore, they would all be strict constructionists when it comes to the Constitution. Of course they would, they're the ones that wrote it. They would be find groups like the ACLU as perverting everything they meant. How would the founding fathers feel about those forces that are trying to limit the expression of faith in the public square? How would they feel about the attack on Christmas? All of this is likely to have the Founding Fathers rolling over in their graves.
This country was founded in large part by folks who became outcasts because of the religion they practiced. The Founding Fathers wanted a nation in which everyone felt free to express their religious beliefs everywhere. The culture war between the Traditionalists and the Secular Progressives would have the Founding Fathers on the side of the Traditionalists.
When the founders of the nation are center right, there is a certain natural movement to that direction. Furthermore, it is much easier to make a center right argument when you are able to invoke any of the founders. It's much easier to make an argument defending the 2nd amendment when you can pull any of a thousand quotes from the likes of Thomas Jefferson defending your position. Movements like those limiting the use of firearms fly in the face of the manner in which the founders wanted this nation to look. Having the Founding Fathers as one's ally in a debate certainly strengthens any argument exponentially.
2) Most of the things that have worked in the past have been ideas from the center right.
I know that liberals will disagree furiously however history has a way of cutting through the fog. If someone wants to argue about the effectiveness of tax cuts, we only need to look at how well they worked in the case of Ronald Reagan and JFK. Government expansion like the New Deal and the Great Society are colored with much more complicated histories.
Our country is littered with failing and ineffective government programs like Social Security, Medicare, and Fannie Mae. Anyone that champions the idea of regulating business needs only to look at the effects of Sarbanes-Oxley to see the end result of such endeavors. Reagan, on the other hand, championed a policy of deregulation and what followed was decades of nearly uninterrupted growth.
The debate has been colored a bit by the economic Clinton and Bush years. Liberals have argued that tax increases lead to economic expansion, and they further argue that the spirit of deregulation lead to the financial disaster we are in now. Those arguments, however, are still on going and I would counter both as absurd.
On military matters, we saw how aggressive military expansion by Reagan eventually lead directly to the disintegration of the Soviet Union. Furthermore, we saw how Clinton's gutting of the military lead directly to our weakening intelligence apparatus and ultimately 9/11.
Reagan attempted to give amnesty in the mid 1980's to millions of illegal immigrants and twenty years later we see almost twenty million more living in America.
Frankly, I would dare a liberal to come up with one truly liberal policy that they can stand behind as a beacon of success in America's history. On the conservative end, we see an endless stream of fiscal conservatism, strong military, and deregulation leading to effective governance.
So, there you have it. We are a center right nation, and that's because that is our roots and those are overwhelmingly the policies that have worked. As such, don't let a liberal fool you into thinking the election will mean some sort of seismic shift in the manner in which our country's philosophy will be structured. We are a center right nation and we'll stay that way.
Please check out my new books, "Bullied to Death: Chris Mackney's Kafkaesque Divorce and Sandra Grazzini-Rucki and the World's Last Custody Trial"