In this post I will continue to share principles which identify a conservative worldview.
Principle #5. Economic Freedom- Free markets are morally & pragmatically desirable
Economic freedom allows people to pursue their skills, gifts and talents to the fullest ability. Repressive economic policies (including excessive taxation) reduce people to a lower state of existence in society; people become slaves to and for the State as well as forces a subsistence condition on them. In this condition, people are forced to become dependent on the State, which simply enables the cycle to continue. Conservatives understand that ‘central planning’ leads to oppressive governments and policies and true liberty cannot exist in such a situation. Conservatives know that income taxes are an immoral overreach of oppressive government systems to further control the economics of a society, taking money away from producers and redistributing it as they see fit, most often to line the pockets of bureaucrats or doled out to those who refuse to contribute to society. On the whole, free market States are healthier States.
Principle #6. Pro-Family- Healthy families as the basis for healthy society
The traditional family unit is the building block of all society. Statistics show that single parent homes, especially fatherless homes, produce children with higher likelihood of societal problems (trouble with the law; substance abuse). As the concept of family is redefined, society itself must be redefined, usually with negative results. Abortion, abuse and euthanasia are evidences of unhealthy families and thus an unhealthy society. Liberal social commentators bemoan the conditions in our communities but they are crying about the effects of the causes they themselves have put in place and support! Under this heading comes the rationale for the defense of traditional marriage. The issue is not one of homophobia or some supposed ‘hatred’, as it is certain that many same sex partnerships exhibit the same care and love as traditional family units. The issue at hand is a morally and spiritually based rejection of the assumed authority of modern governments to define and redefine fundamental human ‘institutions’ which have existed for thousands of years. Conservatives welcome the discussion of contemporary issues and allow people freedom of conscience whereas social liberals demand strict adherence to the new societal forces.
Principle #7. Evolutionary Social Change- Lasting social change is a gradual not radical process
This is one area where we might say that ‘evolution’ is positive. Real change takes time. Revolutions rarely accomplish the lasting change they hope for. The barbarous French Revolution of 1789, intended to sweep away monarchy and rule by the few, gave way to the rise of the dictator Napoleon and, after his defeat, a return to the very monarchical system it revolted against. The fledgling United States could not retain the principles of independence it had won and abandoned the Articles of Confederation for a return to a strong centralized government, similar in ways to that which it had revolted against. William Wilberforce labored for decades to outlaw the slave trade before his work saw success. True Conservatives seek to win hearts and minds to ideals while leftists and statists seek immediate change through legislation, coercion and force. These will never bring true change.
Principle #8. Historical-Social Skepticism- Realistic appraisal of intentions and results
Because people are sinful, even the purest motives or intentions are tainted. Conservatives, whether Christian or not, listen to the promises of politicians and corporations with a wary ear, understanding that these are in no way pure or even sincere. Cure-alls and quick fixes tend to create more problems than they solve, as the long term fallout from FDR’s ‘New Deal’ or LBJ’s ‘Great Society’ have demonstrated in the burdensome welfare state and the insolvency of Social Security. The aims may have seemed noble, but unrealistic as solutions. The desire for universal healthcare is good in its aims; but an oppressive, unwieldy, cumbersome centralized government is not realistically able to make that desire an effective reality. A friend of mine (who is likely reading this post) once told me of a certain Washington insider who, when discussing comprehensive reform, said something to the effect of “we in Washington don’t do ‘comprehensive’ very well.” Conservatives know that no product of the human mind can ever be perfect, even if the intentions and motives are of the highest quality.
So then, considering the current field, is there any Republican candidate who can truly be called ‘conservative’?
Which now begs the question, should conservatives vote their conscience, even if we lose an election; or toe a party line, even if it means forfeiting our convictions?
That’s a different topic for someday…