I’m finally back.
After the election I decided to fast from political everything for an undetermined amount of time. I was going to get straight back into blogging about worship, bicycling, faith, and occasionally politics. Then the funeral and then I got sick and then Thanksgiving. It’s like anything else when you’re in the flow the momentum carries you but when you stop it’s hard to get started again. So here we go.
I have given this much thought over the last several days. I didn’t do any research, read any definitions or consult any political geniuses. I wanted to define conservatism in my own mind and let the conversation begin. This is by no means exhaustive it is rather the opening argument.
Conservatism is rooted in absolutes and principles that never change. Conservatism applies to everyone and doesn’t need to be tailored for each subclass or re-defined each generation. I believe you are either a conservative or you are not. I don’t understand how someone can say they are a fiscal conservative and a social liberal. Conservatism is a set of principles and core values that inform and shape what you believe, core values to guide you in both fiscal and social matters.
Here is what I think conservatives believe:
Conservatives first believe in God.
Belief in God can be expressed in many different ways, denominations, or religions; however it must come to the conclusion that man is not basically good, redemption is available to everyone, and there will be a final judgment. (Notice I did not say Evangelical Christian)
Conservatives believe in the sanctity of human life.
This is not a single issue. It is a core issue that informs every other point. Quality of life comes after the defense of life and human life trumps all other.
Conservatives believe in Liberty and freedom.
Individual liberty and freedom is what made this country exceptional. Not collectivism, not diversity, and definitely not government, though our form of government matters.
Conservatives believe in Individual responsibility.
Victimhood is part of what’s gone wrong with this country. When we take responsibility we take ownership and only then can we improve our situation. When you are given freedom you must take responsibility or your freedom will be taken from you. Government should enable individuals to pursue their own self interests but not at the expense of someone else’s. That’s why I am not a libertarian. I believe the state has a role to play. A role spelled out very clearly in the Bible and in the constitution. Limited government and individual responsibility must go hand in hand.
Conservatives believe in the rule of law.
Laws should be applied fairly without regard to race, gender, etc, etc. Laws should not be passed solely to make retribution, like affirmative action, and should not punish thought, like hate crimes. The state has an obligation to condone what is good and punish what is evil. God alone is the judger of hearts and motives.
Conservatives believe in strong national defense.
The constitution charges the federal government with defending our borders and our sovereignty. Immigration is what built this country; however allowing people to come illegally with no intention of assimilating or contributing to the culture and the economy will destroy it. Defending this country means war is inevitable unless we want to surrender to the latest evil that raises its head either within these borders or without.
Conservatives believe in stewardship.
Everything we have is a gift and we must steward it well. Environmentalism has become the home of the radical left who worship the creation not the creator. Stewardship is the answer not radical environmentalism.
I didn’t intend for these to be in any order but I think they’re ordered pretty well . The top two are definitely the top two.
Conservatism is hard. It allows you to own your successes and your failures. It allows natural consequences when you make bad decisions. It allows the largest number of people access to upward mobility. It gives tough love not coddling or enabling. It allows for personal pride and dignity. It requires integrity, conviction, and perseverance.
The idea of fairness is a lie and holds us back. The playing field is not level and cannot be made level. The government cannot remove obstacles but should create an environment where obstacles can be overcome.
I’m sure there is more but no less. Before you unload on me I understand these are ideals and the devil is in the details. As you know I love vigorous debate but have very little patience for those who are full of passion and fire but without principled arguments or core values. If you believe socialism is better fine. Make a principled argument and may the best ideas win. I believe I hold a Biblical Christian world view. If you think I’m wrong make a principled scriptural argument. If you show me where I’m in error I will repent and be grateful to you.
Let the conversation begin.