First, a political full disclosure: I am a proud conservative.
The following essay is based on my own personal beliefs and obviously, it’s not necessary for everyone to agree on all of the points in order to be considered a conservative, but I believe that most conservatives will agree on most points.
Practically all of my family members are also conservative. We weren’t indoctrinated in school, we didn’t study scholarly texts to decide that we were conservative; we didn’t automatically follow a path set out for us by a preacher, some political operative, our parents, or anyone else.
We are all thinking individuals who’ve arrived at our beliefs based on our own personal life experiences and what we view as being right or wrong. We have an enduring moral order: a sense of right and wrong, and personal convictions about justice and honor.
We believe that our Constitution has been the blueprint for what has made this country great (and it has been great) and that it remains the supreme law of the United States. We believe in the rule of law and a president who exhibits a disdain for our constitution is wrong, wrong, wrong. If anyone should honor the Constitution, it surely ought to be our president.
We welcome and celebrate legal immigrants, but at the same time, we believe that one of the responsibilities assigned to our federal government is to secure our borders from illegal entrants. To ignore that responsibility is wrong, wrong, wrong.
We believe that a marriage should be between a man and a woman. Not necessarily for religious reasons, but simply because natural procreation requires it. Nothing is more natural than the design of our bodies in order to continue the human race. It doesn’t matter whether you believe our bodies were designed that way by God, Mother Nature, or evolution, it is inescapable that men and women were designed to be together. If everyone was gay, there wouldn’t be any everyone.
We conservatives (for the most part) don’t have problems with two men or two women enjoying many of the benefits of a married couple (health benefits, legal considerations, etc.), but to equate a same-sex union to a man-woman marriage is wrong. They are not and cannot be equivalent.
We are conservative because we believe deep in our hearts (and consciousness) that killing babies in the womb is wrong. The opposition argues that it should be a “woman’s right to choose.” Choosing the death of a child is not something that any woman should be proud of – not when so many “choices” were available before birth. A woman has the right not to have unprotected sex, she has the ability to use all sorts of birth control, and now we even have an after-the-fact pill. So why is it necessary to murder an unborn child to satisfy a selfish desire to avoid inconvenience?
We believe in helping those who through no fault of their own have fallen on bad times, and that includes medical care and financial aid until he/she is back on their feet. We don’t believe in paying able-bodied people to avoid work and remain unproductive. It’s a matter of simple economics. We can’t afford it and it’s unfair to those working people who are footing the bill.
We believe that government works best when it’s closest to the people. A federal government is like a cancerous growth that continues to grow and be self-sustaining unless stopped by the people. In particular, health care and education are best administered at a local or state level, the federal government has a dismal record of success in every endeavor that it has taken over – health care and education are just two examples.
We believe that our United States should be as self-sufficient as possible. We have the natural resources to be self-sufficient and artificially restraining our capabilities for political purposes is wrong and self-destructive. Dependence on foreign oil is just one example. I remember the oil embargo of 1973-74 and that pointed out (painfully) what happens when a foreign government stops providing oil to the U.S. We shouldn’t allow ourselves to be dependent on anyone else (especially governments that are not our friends).
We believe in a strong defense. Very much like ordinary day-to-day crime, most crimes against people are committed because a victim is seen as weak and unable to defend against a mugging, a car-jacking, or a home invasion. When a criminal recognizes that a targeted victim has the ability to fight back, the criminal will usually find another (weaker) victim. And so it is with a country. When our armed forces are viewed as impotent, we’ll be seen as ripe for takeover – and we are moving in that direction.
We believe that reducing taxes provides the environment for new small business to flourish, and that’s where most jobs are created. The economy flourishes when business has the funds to expand and hire and when citizens have the funds to buy products – it’s a symbiotic circle.
There a lot of other conservative principles that could be listed here, but I’ve gone on long enough. It’s time to remind everyone of our conservative icon, Ronald Reagan and the values that he professed. It was successful then, and I believe that it can be successful in 2016.
Reagan’s success was in reminding the American people of their (sometimes subconscious) conservative principles – he didn’t create them, he didn’t teach them, he just reminded us that a majority of Americans agree on so many aspects of a conservative agenda.
Here are Reagan’s eleven principles:
Freedom • Faith • Family • Sanctity and Dignity of Human Life • American Exceptionalism • The Founders’ Wisdom and Vision • Lower Taxes • Limited Government • Peace Through Strength • Anti-Communism • Belief in the Individual
Optimism was Reagan’s most distinguishing characteristic and it was catching. Compare the country’s pessimistic vision of our future today to the optimism that pervaded the country during Reagan’s presidency.
Here’s an interesting exercise: look back at Reagan’s principles and rate Barack Obama on each one of them.
Barack doesn’t come off well, does he? If anything, he is the anti-Reagan.