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        William J. Dodwell




In Praise of Fiscal, Social and Cultural Conservatism
Straight Talk About America's Decline
Political Correctness Be Damned





            Political conservatism is defined traditionally in terms of fiscal and social planks.  Fiscal conservatism is founded on limited government and the primacy of private enterprise.  Social conservatism is rooted in individual freedom and personal merit, while recognizing a safety net for the truly needy.  Both philosophies emphasize the rights of the individual vis a vis the public interest in the affairs of government, business and society in the context of our founding principles promulgated in the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution.


But another category, cultural conservatism, embraces aesthetic standards that derive from human potentiality realized through personal and societal cultivation and achievement in science, the arts, commerce, religion, language and behavior.  The combination of fiscal, social and cultural conservatism constitutes what I call “Comprehensive Conservatism”.  The purpose of this website is to establish solidarity among those who support this trilogy and who want to promote it in the interest of wider acceptance.  In view of a long political and cultural decline in this country, reaching a nadir in the 2012 re-election of a Marxist president, it is hoped this content will motivate like-minded people who have been silenced by political correctness.  May they speak up and mobilize. 


            Like fiscal and social conservatism, the cultural variety implicates both individuals and society.  Unlike fiscal and social conservatism, cultural conservatism cannot be as easily assessed objectively in terms of right and wrong.  Rather, it comprises subjective elements of humanity, creativity, personal fulfillment, style and taste, the absence of which undermines the human condition and the social fabric. Although subjective, cultural conservatism is ultimately defined by certain intuitive limits, and sometimes overlaps with social conservatism.


The Comprehensive Conservative deplores expansionist government and cultural deterioration that have gradually breached appropriate boundaries over the last fifty years. The fiscal conservative opposes excessive government spending, taxation and regulation while supporting a sound dollar and a strong defense.  The social conservative bemoans the egalitarian zeal of the Left that promotes social engineering, government dependency and political correctness, while denouncing long-held conventions as extremist.  But while we celebrate a meritocratic society, we are not Darwinians.  Indeed, we support honest and effective public and private programs that help those who cannot care for themselves.

The cultural conservative recoils at a society of Philistines that accepts degeneration in the form of public vulgarity, noise that is called music, and universal slobbery manifest in hideous personal appearance that no one dares to criticize openly.  Despite controversy, we challenge the culture that promotes the nihilist and the lowest common denominator, largely propagated by the media and abetted by basic herd instinct.  Freedom of expression, yes, but there is a point at which it becomes deviant.  Absolute relativism has no place in Comprehensive Conservatism.




We call a spade a spade, and couldn’t care less what’s cool.  We defy political correctness rebuffing sacred cows, taboos and third rails.  We stand up for both political and cultural conservatism in brutally honest terms invoking traditional individual freedom, decency and excellence amid a declining civilization.  This means promoting the Comprehensive Conservative as a non-violent, lawabiding iconoclast – a gadfly and firebrand who rejects liberal shibboleths and blows the whistle on the objectionable and the unmentionable imposed by politically correct speech codes. Indeed, we challenge leftist decorum and, where appropriate, criticize the general citizenry, not just the well known.  As such, we admonish America for losing its way.  But in the quest for truth, intellectual honesty must prevail as a strictly adversarial approach is not enough.  That is, we also denounce disingenuous, knee-jerk conservative argumentation and hyperbole where they arise, and acknowledge a possibly good point expressed on the Left.  It’s about more than advocacy.  It’s about truth and propriety, even in the face of certain conservative conventions sometimes.


Many conservatives are too timorous to resist popular opinion and the liberal thought police who intimidate through peer pressure and the mass media.  Comprehensive Conservatives must rouse this alienated constituency by pointedly exposing government profligacy, the perniciousness of the liberal agenda, and cultural rot, while encouraging vociferous opposition.  Consider the mission a formal expression of indignation through in-your-face conservatism.  Imagine in its ultimate application anti-media that espouse conservative principles not only in politics but in movies, sitcoms, reality shows and comedy routines.  Of course, some will characterize us unfairly as misanthropes.  Others will call us, perhaps fairly, scolds pining for the days of yore.  Be prepared for the backlash. 


Reconciling disparate elements among us


To be sure, Comprehensive Conservatives face a dilemma in that few embrace all three elements, especially the cultural component.  Many tout their fiscal conservatism but distance themselves from social conservatism for fear of being called anti-poor or even racist.  The so-called fiscal conservative/social liberal label, which applies to many so-called moderates and cowardly politicians, falls far short and is even contradictory since many social issues implicate government spending that fiscal proponents claim should be contained.  This hybrid may also operate at cross purposes with the behavioral principles of cultural conservatism.  Cultural conservatism is largely generational and more difficult to reconcile.  For example, many respectable political conservatives like raucous hard rock music and inane reality shows, but those preferences are patently anathema to cultural conservatism described here.  Likewise, many traditional artists are leftist simpletons.  But not to throw out the baby with the bathwater, true political and cultural conservatives are welcome in their respective wings of the Comprehensive Conservative temple while banned from the other.  Of course, as such, they are not Comprehensive Conservatives.


 Again, mainly because of generational differences, cultural opinions will not appeal to all political conservatives.  Nor will political conservatism appeal to all cultural conservatives.  As such, many political and cultural conservatives are incompatible.  Nevertheless, we believe in a certain intuitive commonality between political and cultural conservatism that bridges the two views in a compelling cause célèbre called Comprehensive Conservatism that satisfies a largely hidden constituency.


Indeed, the term presupposes a nexus between political and cultural conservatism founded on a common appreciation for individual freedom, self-reliance, restraint, discipline, cultivation and achievement in all aspects of life exemplified in the writings and teachings of Ayn Rand.  By contrast, political and cultural liberalism connotes individual repression and mass appeal associated with a collectivist mindset that celebrates the unproductive and undistinguished, and encourages dependence on government.  Cultural conservatism promotes excellence and recognizes unspoken limits to individual behavior and expression, however ambiguous, which separate decency from degradation.  As Justice Potter Stewart said about defining pornography, “I know it when I see it.”  Similarly, political conservatism supports restrictions on government interference in social and economic activities that foster prosperity over dependency.  Those limits, albeit subtle at the margin, are compelling today in an environment in which liberals are continually pushing the envelope, blurring the line between propriety and perversion.  Many political and cultural conservatives agree on delineating excess at a common point, hence the connection between the two constituencies that defines the Comprehensive Conservative.


Website content


This website promotes politics and culture through the lens of the Comprehensive Conservative, while also illustrating a relationship to commerce.  It presents comprehensive conservatism in three sections:  1) Politics; 2) Culture; and 3) Finance and the Economy.  Each contains a fixed position statement about the nature of its particular content as contextual background to complement ongoing current commentary.


·        Politics – Exposes the liberal agenda in terms of its strategy, tactics, organization, government overreach and hypocrisy.  This section also focuses on the conservative counterattack.


·        Culture - Addresses issues concerning behavior, morality, ethics, physical appearance, the arts, entertainment and media, wherever cultural decay is rooted.  This section extols traditional values and highlights quality of life issues.  A sampling of my piano recordings is included.  Consider it a particular illustration of "conservative" music.


·        Finance and the Economy – Discusses the impact of comprehensive conservatism on the economy.  Content covers the effect of fiscal, social, as well as cultural conservatism, or the lack of it, on consumers, businesses, investors and their respective markets on Main Street and Wall Street.  As such, this section reflects how conservatism intersects with commerce in respect of productivity, profitability, marketing, communications, employment, competition and free markets, investment, capital formation, government regulation and intervention, and the standard of living.


We buck the tide of an increasingly secular society.  But it is hoped this grass-roots, eclectic dissertation of conservatism will help to foster a new right wing rallying cry and camaraderie that will galvanize what used to be called the silent majority.  In the process, we will uphold truth founded on honest debate about our problems in the face of left wing demagoguery and relativism, and the liberal assault on constitutional principles.  Perhaps the spirit of this mission will eventually engender a critical mass in support of political and cultural change that many Americans yearn for.  Herein we establish a standard.  Let’s promote it, defend it, and execute it.

© 2012, 2015 William J. Dodwell

Capital Markets,
Sep 25, 2012, 11:48 AM