Which Party Will Be Conservative Today?

Today, a majority of the members of the House of Representatives is expected to pass at least one Article of Impeachment against President Trump related to a series of events that includes a call in which the President of the United States asked the leader of a dependent and vulnerable foreign ally to investigate another American, one of his electoral rivals. It is anticipated that the vast majority of the Representatives affiliated with the Democratic Party – the party of progressives, liberals, socialists, and other unreliables — will vote for the Articles. It is further anticipated that not one House member affiliated with the Republican Party – the party of avowed conservatives, proclaimed strict constructionists, and staunch defenders of the cultural mores that have made America great — will support the Articles.

The Englishman Edmund Burke is considered one of the founding fathers of modern conservative thought – a philosophy which embraces social order and the belief that reliance upon traditional institutions, community, and customs is the best way for a society to advance itself. In 1790, Mr. Burke wrote in Reflections on the Revolution in France:

“[T]he steady maxims of faith, justice, and fixed fundamental policy are perfectly intelligible and perfectly binding upon those who exercise any authority, under any name or under any title, in the state. …. [T]he House of Commons cannot renounce its share of authority. The engagement and pact of society, which generally goes by the name of the constitution, forbids such invasion and such surrender. The constituent parts of a state are obliged to hold their public faith with each other and with all those who derive any serious interest under their entanglements … Otherwise competence and power would soon be confounded and no law be left but the will of a prevailing force.”

Addressing his constituents in the city of Bristol, Mr. Burke once declared:

“[A representative’s] unbiased opinion, his mature judgment, his enlightened conscience, he ought not to sacrifice to you, to any man, or to any set of men living. Your representative owes you, not his industry only, but his judgment; and he betrays, instead of serving you, if he sacrifices it to your opinion.”

No one can be so naïve as to believe that if Mr. Trump was a Democrat, the Democratic Representatives would be so steadfastly voting to impeach him. Even so, since the substance of the interactions between Mr. Trump, his cohort, and Ukrainian officials is undisputed, if the House vote unfolds today as anticipated, which party, according to Mr. Burke’s precepts, should be considered the more conservative?

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