Why be a conservative?

AmericanThinker | Christopher S. Brownwell | March 25, 2009

Why would I choose to be a conservative? Why would I choose the persecution? I am constantly ridiculed for my beliefs. I have been compared to Nazis. Liberals call me a sexist, racist, bigoted homophobe. My intentions are mischaracterized, and then I am judged by those mischaracterized intentions. For example, because I favor policies to help get everyone off of welfare to succeed on their own, my intentions are characterized as trying to keep blacks and minorities poor. These liberals then brand me a racist because they perceive my intentions are to keep blacks poor.

You would think I would choose to be a liberal. Liberals worldwide are hailed as compassionate for merely “raising awareness” of the plight of the poor. Forget that the poor don’t see a dime from the “awareness” raised. Despite poverty winning the war we waged on it, liberals get judged by their intentions rather than the results of their policies.

I was born a conservative. I was born with the yearning to be free. My love of liberty has been an inherent part of me as much as my blond hair and blue eyes. God gave me a conscience to know what is right and wrong. He gave me the desire to follow my conscience rather than the dictates of politically correct tolerance. But, even if I weren’t born this way, I’d still choose to be a conservative despite the name calling and lies about me.

Conservatives believe that right principles drive right policy choices. Policy choices must yield to the proper principles. As a conservative I will not change my conservative principles to mirror popular or progressive policies. These conservative principles stand in antithesis to principles held by modern liberals. Here is a sampling of conservative foundational principles:

1. Our liberties come from our Creator, not from our government. As a self-evident truth, we owe our allegiance to God for making us free and equal, not to our government. Our inherent, God-given rights include life, liberty and private property. No government has the authority to take our lives, liberty or property unless we forfeit those rights.

2. The authority to govern comes from God through the people. Our charter document, our legal authority to exist as a nation is our Declaration of Independence, not our Constitution. In our Declaration we told a candid world the source of our authority to govern ourselves. The Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitled us to “assume among the powers of the earth the separate and equal station….”


3. Human nature tends toward evil and not toward good. James Madison wrote in Federalist No. 51 “But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary.” John Adams stated “[W]e have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion…. Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

The problem today is that the predominant philosophy in America, secular humanism, does not allow for an inner moral restraint. People without moral restraint need an external force to restrain them. Benjamin Franklin said “[O]nly a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters.” Conservatives believe an inner restraint on human nature is preferable to an external one.

4. Government, being obligated to restrain human nature, must be obliged to restrain itself. “In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself.” Federalist No. 51. Our Constitution is a document of enumerated powers. This document gives our federal government only such powers necessary to protect our liberty from an unruly mob. To control itself, government must be small and government authority must be separated and restrained by checks and balances. The bigger our government grows and the more centralized government authority gets the more we lose our liberty.

Reagan conservatism is not dead and does not need to evolve with the times. Conservative principles are as true today as they were at the time of our founding. After reading americanthinker.com and other conservative websites, clearly intelligent, thinking, politically-oriented conservatives are far from extinction. We simply need politicians to articulate and postulate today what our Founders believed.

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