Monday, June 18, 2012


What is Conservatism?, he asked! (Revised!)

My reply when asked what the main tenets of conservatism were.

You should be well-aware of the main conservative lines of thought by now, and of the various spokesmen for that movement over time. But, perhaps not. The message has been distorted by many who haven’t paid attention to the larger scope of the movement, but rather would seize upon some minor ploy and call it to be true of all conservatives. This is one of the characteristics of the liberal approach in their battle to remain relevant in the face of the financial disasters that progressive liberal policies in government have wrought on the nation for many years, culminating with the Obama $3 Trillion splurges. You should be well aware also that Republicans are not all conservatives, and that even libertarians have flirted with the Republican party at times.

It should also be obvious that I can speak only for myself on conservatism, although there are major threads of policies most conservatives I know seem to espouse. Some of them that come to mind at the moment that I will sketch out are:

1. Fiscal responsibility, balanced budgets accounting for, and paying down, our debts, spending within revenue, and not deficit spending except in truly dire emergencies, together with paying down our debts promptly.

2. Social responsibility, maintaining our American social institutions intact, and not giving in to those who want radical change.

3. Strong defense of the nation, and the freedom and liberty we all enjoy. Freedom and liberty are enhanced when there are strong laws supporting property rights.

4. Strong defense of the sovereignty of the nation, its prerogatives and its borders against the onslaught of internationalism. The world community of nations remains largely either immoral or amoral and is not to be trusted.

5. Equality for all and equal opportunity for all, and not an enforced equal outcome.

6 Support for the Constitution as plainly read, and not considering it a living document to be changed at the whim of a few. There are provisions for necessary changes in the Constitution itself that protect the citizens from unwanted changes. We must maintain rule by law and not by men.

7. Limited government, with well-defined boundaries, but also taking into consideration the growth of the nation.  The use of the phrase "the general welfare" in the act of law-making must be highly constrained.

8. Natural rights, natural duties, and natural law, as most recently spelled out in The 5000 Year Leap by W. Cleon Skousen with his 28 principles taken from the founders.

9. Religious freedom, along with the other freedoms: speech, association, movement...

10. The duty of judges to interpret the law and not to create it, and to defer any creative solutions to the legislature.

11. Supports capitalism and free markets insofar as practical, with regulation as needed, while taking into account the economic impact of too strict a set of regulations.

12. Supports strong family values and encourages their adoption by those who have strayed from this path.

13. Supports States Rights as an essential balancing factor in federal governance.

14. Supports defense of the nation against terrorism at home and abroad, and utilizes sane anti-terrorism methods within and without the nation.

15. Careful introduction of changes where clearly needed and generally approved. The clear threat of unintended consequences is always shadowing every law change, and it should be taken into account by every means possible.

16. Subsidiarity where possible, which devolves decision-making to the lowest possible level of governence. This is essential to block the progress of collective federal governence.

17. Support states financially in their efforts to produce students qualified to succeed in life, with a sensible curricula, and able to analyze and think for themselves, and not to be brainwashed in the dogmas of the left. This must be done with no strings attached whatsoever, except the use of the funds for education purposes only.

18. Moral rectitude based on the wisdom of the past regarding ethics and morality, especially that of the Christian faith.

19. and lots more…!

As Brad Minor*, drawing upon Kirk and others, published in American Conservatism, and added to by me:

1. Realism, not Relativism.*

2. Skepticism, not Progressivism. *

3. Evolved Order, not Constructivism. *

4. Federalism, not Statism.*

5. Capitalism, not Collectivism. *

6. Theism, not Secularism. *

7. Sovereignty, not Internationalism.

8. Personal Responsibility, not Central Solutions to All Problems.

9. Moral Rectitude, not Hedonism.

10. Firm rejection of progressive liberalism, socialism, communism, and pacifism.

11. Charity, not welfare, insofar as possible, but aid the truly needy.

12. Defense, not Appeasement.

Of course, the Devil is in the details, but the blog owner would not appreciate publication of the entire Encyclopedia of conservative thought here, or even one volume!



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