Thom Tillis said he was running for Senate and as soon as he got the words out of his mouth Greg Brannon, the Libertarian doctor who’s also running, let fly with a broadside calling Tillis “yet another in a long line of career politicians eager to take the next step on the ladder of political power.”
That was standard political pyrotechnics – but then Dr. Brannon added Tillis “has taken liberal positions on…Ferry Tolls, Interstate Toll HOT Lanes and the protection of telecommunication monopolies at the expense of smaller free market competitors.”
Now, I understand why taxes and government spending are ideological issues. Liberals favor more government. Conservatives less. But ferry tolls? How’s that ideological? I asked a legislator who laughed and said, Ferry tolls simply mean the people using the ferries pay for them – what’s more conservative than that?
Brannon had a better point about protecting monopolies from free market competition being an ideological issue – but a legislator set me right on that too, saying, There’s a quirk in this particular case: The smaller, free market competitor Brannon’s talking about isn’t a private company – it’s a government-owned cable TV system in Mooresville. Does opposing a city going into the cable TV business and competing with a private company make Thom Tillis a liberal?
It used to be, back in the old days, conservatism rested on a foundation of principles. Like individual responsibility. But, these days, there’s a new kind of conservatism where a fellow decides what he likes – and calls that conservatism. Then, when his opponent disagrees, he calls him a liberal. That’s surely useful politically. But it’s also a weak as a reed, wobbly kind of conservatism that shifts with the wind – it’s sort of the polar opposite of commandments written in stone.