Thursday, March 08, 2007
Thoughts on Conservatism
Thoughts on Conservatism (Version 2) 3/19/07
What is Conservatism Anyway?
To conserve, in my lexicon, is to preserve and protect, and one who conserves is a conservative and a protector. Brad Minor, in his Concise Conservative Encyclopedia, describes six basic beliefs of a conservative as:
1. Realism versus relativism.
2. Skepticism versus progressivism
3. Evolutionism versus constructivism
4. Federalism versus statism
5. Capitalism versus collectivism
6. Theism versus secularism
This is a handy and brief high level statement of conservative beliefs, and it is amplified somewhat in the Encyclopedia, but I find it necessary to translate these ideas into more direct and simple prescriptions for belief:
1. Government is the servant of the people, and it should not grow beyond that mission to include support for uncountable invented needs. Government is not the answer to all needs. Less government is good. We must conserve our independence and responsibility for our own welfare.
2. Our Constitution and its amendments must be adhered to as far as possible, and not be altered without proper cause. Thus we conserve our founding directions.
3. The Republic of the United States, while still seeking greater perfection, is the best and most free nation in the world to live in, bar none. We conservatives mean to keep it that way.
4. It is also true that the government has become massive and unwieldy, to the point that it must be pruned of its multitude of agencies(over 100!) and their regulations that often conflict with themselves.
5. All three branches of government need to be reformed to a certain extent to reflect the provisions of the Constitution, to stop judges from legislating from the bench, to stop the Congress from dwelling on reelection and power instead of legislation, and to stop the Administration from abuses of its power as well. We need to ratchet back to the concept of our republic and protect it from changes based on poorly thought out ideas.
6. Taxation can also be reformed to rid ourselves of the entire idea of progressive taxes, which are nothing less than theft by the government to fund their redistribution programs. A flat tax, perhaps supplemented by a sales tax, is preferable. That citizens are paid out of tax revenues if their income is below a certain amount is pure welfare-ism.
7. Patriotism is a virtue and a reaffirmation of our support for the nation. One feels it in the heart, or not at all.
8. We must not waste our time on America-Haters, except perhaps to isolate and observe them. That is, unless they commit sedition or treason.
9. We have many institutions, associations, and religious sects in America that are dedicated to the proposition that this nation must remain strong, free, and morally upright. These institutions represent the strength of the nation and must be conserved.
10. Those that would dismantle our institutions or our religions in favor of some progressive, collective, secular idea or another must be prevented from doing so. We must be mindful of the gradual, baloney-slice approach some groups, such as the ACLU, use to effect change in the wrong direction. We must conserve our republic and our institutions.
11. We have other institutions, associations, and religions in the nation that favor changing America into either some form of collective nightmare, or a theistic or Islamic stone age society. These kinds of institutions and religions must be watched and prevented from harming our citizens and our nation. We must conserve our nation from radical movements.
12. Wide ownership of private property by citizens is a cornerstone of the republic that must be conserved and protected.
13. To be strong means to maintain an armed forces that is top-ranked, well-armed, well trained, and sufficiently numerous to exercise our power when and where needed. Our military strength must be conserved.
14. We must not be afraid to use our power when it is morally right to do so. This includes preemptive use of our military if called for by the situation. We believe in just war.
15. To be strong economically means to continue to practice our free trade and capitalistic principles worldwide, but with care that we also bring our trading partners into greater prosperity as well. Enlightened self-interest is the proper capitalistic and conservative idea.
16. To be strong as a society means to use all of the moral suasion our people and institutions can practice, all of the law enforcement we have placed in service, and all of the leadership we possess to maintain our society in the right direction. The essence of conservatism is moral conviction, respect for the law and well vetted leadership.
17. Change is inevitable in this world, but we must not ourselves create changes that we cannot control or reverse if they become onerous or evil. Changes thrust upon us from without must be analyzed and coped with, and even fought off if necessary. It is a practical, conservative trait to be skeptical of radical changes. The Law of Unintended Consequences awaits the radical changer.
18. We must maintain our full sovereignty at all costs, since the world of nations is predominately amoral, fickle and unfavorable to us. There is no possible world democracy to be had for many years to come, if ever. We must conserve our sovereignty from UN and other internationalist attacks.
19. We must not let the threat of global warming to be used as a lever to force us to give up any part of our sovereignty. Hysteria is no substitute for good science, which we have not seen so far. It is a rational and conservative approach that winnows out bad science in favor of well-founded scientific recommendations, not the herd philosophy we see today that is trying to rush us into costly steps with truth-bending facts. Just who profits from a headlong rush to cure the so-called man-made problems of global warming? It isn’t the public.
20. Our nation has fostered religious freedom for all citizens, and has placed into law provisions to ensure this freedom is maintained. We must conserve this freedom so long as it does not threaten our society.
21. It is also true, however, that there are religions that are bent upon destroying our country, notably Islam. By holding this religious tenet of destruction, they forfeit all legal protections in the nation, and they should be deported, and also prevented from entering the nation in the first place. We must conserve the nation from such threats.
22. The strength of our nation rests ultimately on our citizens, and their perception of their duties and responsibilities to the nation, and to their self-reliance. We must be certain to educate and inculcate the values of America into our children, and into our legal immigrants. We must conserve our value systems.
23. Self-reliance is the virtue that allows equal opportunity for all citizens to be realized, and not equality of outcome. We must conserve equality of opportunity.
24. We must become far more selective in admitting immigrants. There must be a positive contribution to America on the part of a prospective immigrant.
25. Illegal immigrants must be sent back to their native lands. We must conserve our laws.
26. Illegal immigrants should not be allowed to participate in government services paid for by our citizens' taxes.
27. A temporary work program must be devised to allow migrant workers to come into the nation to work for a period, and then to ensure that they leave as scheduled.
28. Formal education should be organized to teach both practical subjects that give students the knowledge they need to live, work, and be good citizens, as well as the many subjects that promote their ability to think and analyze things for themselves. We must inculcate conservative values in our children.
29. The classical approach to learning that combines memorizing of worldwide factual information together with significant intellectual challenges to the students is superior to the more radical approaches that have crept into our schools, including abolition of the track system.
30. We must reconstitute and follow the American ethical and moral code that encompasses all citizens, of whatever faith, race, religion, or culture of origin.
31. Those who come to America must learn and follow our American Code of ethics and morals, or else be subject to deportation.
32. This code is Judeo-Christian morals, supplemented by civil laws, which have been operative in America since its inception, have been written into the laws of the land, and should not be changed to accommodate minorities. By this we conserve our moral heritage and our diverse culture.
I suppose these tenets would classify me as a traditionalist or paleo conservative, although my own term for it is Common Sense Conservatism.
One root for this entire conception of conservatism is that Man is imperfect and sinful; hence, he must be constrained from harming others by moral influences, codes of behavior, customs and traditions, the disapproval of others, and, finally, laws, law enforcement and military action.
A second root is, obviously, Judeo-Christianity, and the morals it teaches, applied to today.