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What is a Constitutional Conservative?

Written By: Jack Hunter  |  Posted: Monday, August 1st, 2011

            The images of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson during the 4th of July holiday are hard to escape, as celebrating American independence necessarily includes honoring two of the most prominent figures of the Revolution and Founding era. Yet, in my permanently politically-addled mind, when I look at Washington and Jefferson (who were by no means monolithic in their philosophy), I see two men who today would be considered near anarchists in their "extreme" views on the limited and minimal role of government; die-hard libertarians in their views on civil liberties and even recreational drug use; violent militia members given their opinions on secession, states' rights and guns; religious fanatics, if not in their individual faith, their deference to the role of Christianity in public life; money "cranks" in their belief in hard money and opposition to central banking; and dangerous "isolationists" in their desire that their country avoid foreign "entangling alliances."

            But what do my fellow Americans likely think of when they ponder Washington and Jefferson? This is perhaps best answered by other images that typically accompany these figures: The American flag. Fireworks. The Statue of Liberty. Mt. Rushmore. Apple pie. Abraham Lincoln. Aircraft carriers. Capitol Hill.

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