Conservative Politics Essay

1263 words - 5 pages

Goldwater was the dream candidate of America in and around 1964. He offered a choice to move out of a capitalist system that most Americans at the time attributed the Depression to. After the Depression, Americans thought that the federal government had an obligation to protect them from those whom Franklin Roosevelt described as “malefactors of great wealth”, and wanted the government to regulate and control those financial interests. Goldwater noted that conservatives "believed the communist projection of man as a producing, consuming animal to be used and discarded was antithetical to all the Christian understandings which are the foundations upon which the Republic stands. Ronald Reagan frequently emphasized Christian values as necessary ingredients in the fight against communism. Belief in the superiority of Western Christian traditions led conservatives to downplay the aspirations of Third World and to denigrate the value of foreign aid.
In the following decades conservative policies once considered outside the liberal mainstream such as abolishing welfare, privatizing Social Security, deregulating banking, embracing preemptive war were taken seriously and sometimes passed into law. Conservatives finally found a new champion in Ronald Reagan, whose 8 years as governor of California had just ended in 1976, and supported his campaign for the Republican nomination. But by the end of the decade, a full-fledged tax revolt had gotten under way, led by the overwhelming passage in 1978 of Proposition 13 in California, which cut property taxes sharply, and the growing Congressional support for the Kemp-Roth tax bill, which proposed cutting federal income taxes by 30 percent. Supply side economics developed during the 1970s in response to Keynesian economic policy, and in particular the failure of demand management to stabilize Western economies during the stagflation of the 1970s, in the wake of the oil crisis in 1973. It drew on a range of non-Keynesian economic thought, particularly the Chicago School and Neo-Classical School. The intellectual roots of supply side economics have also been traced back to various early economic thinkers, such as Ibn Khaldun, Jonathan Swift, David Hume, Adam Smith, and Alexander Hamilton. Republicans took control of the Senate for the first time since 1954, and conservative principles dominated Reagan's economic and foreign policies, with supply side economics and strict opposition to Soviet Communism defining the Administration's philosophy.
By all the traditional measurements of American politics, the election of 1964 was a disaster for American conservatism. If 1964 was a decisive political defeat for Barry Goldwater, it was only a temporary setback in the steady growth of a conservative movement which would reach new heights in the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980 and the creation of a Republican majority in both houses of Congress in 1994. Founded in 1964 and bankrolled by wealthy business...

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