Conservative First

March 23, 2012

My Definition of Conservatism

Filed under: Politics — Sofie @ 12:49 pm
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As I wrote in March of 2009, conservatism is a political philosophy or ideology based on and promoting the two principles stated in the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence:

  • maximum freedom of individuals, who possess inherent rights to ” Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”
  • minimum power of government, which exist “to secure these rights”

Ronald Reagan spoke of the three legs of conservatism:  national defense, free markets, and traditional social values.  National defense is clearly a function of government in fulfilling its role to protect our rights, as is the “justice system.”  Free markets are necessary to allow individuals to exercise our rights.  However, except for abortion, which violates the right to life, social issues like the definition of marriage, pornography, etc., have nothing to do with conservatism because they do not, or should not, fall within the very limited purview of any level of government.

April 17, 2009

Protesting Is Not Enough

I recently ran across a quote attributed to Leonardo da Vinci: “I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.” I’ve had a couple of exchanges on Twitter along these lines, and I’d like to paraphrase the Renaissance genius for contemporary conservatives:

Listening to talk shows is not enough; we must study.

You can learn a lot from listening to, watching, and reading Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, Laura Ingraham, and other talk show hosts about current events and issues; I have. However, if you want to really understand issues and be able to support your views, you need to study history, philosophy, economics, and specific issues in depth. That probably means reading. (Horrors!)

Obviously, you should start with the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, and the Federalist Papers.

After that, you can find books (and websites) on various issues on the Information on Issues for Conservatives wiki, and I plan to add to this wiki in the future. I would also recommend Penn Pfiffner’s Freedom Reading List on the Free People Free Markets Ning site. Glenn Beck has some history books listed on the 912 Project website, and last week he spoke to the authors of the following books on an episode of his show titled “Destined To Repeat(?)”:

  • Robert Gellately, Lenin, Stalin, and Hitler: The Age of Social Catastrophe
  • Ronald. J. Pestritto, Woodrow Wilson and the Roots of Modern Liberalism
  • Amity Shlaes, The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression
  • Johan Goldberg, Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Change

Complaining is not enough; we must teach.

Start with your family, especially children and college/university students, and friends.  Join the online conversation with a Twitter account or a blog.  (If you need help, I’m working on a series of lessons on Social Media for Conservatives.)  Explain to them what you’ve learned in your studies.  Discuss the issues in a reasoned and polite manner.

Protesting is not enough; we must lead.

Contact your elected representatives and let them know what you think about the issues they’re considering.  Volunteer for a conservative official or candidate.  Serve in your community on a city or county board or commission or with a non-profit organization.  Run for office.

Whatever you do, stick to your conservative principles.

March 4, 2009

Just Conservatives

Filed under: Politics — Sofie @ 10:08 pm
Tags: , ,

Conservatism is a political philosophy based on the premises “that all men [and women] are . . . equal, that they are endowed . . . with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness [i.e., individual liberty], [and that] to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men [i.e., limited government], deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed” (Declaration of Independence).

A conservative is someone who accepts, adheres to, and argues from these premises.  A person who doesn’t believe in these principles, individual liberty and limited government, is not a conservative.

We don’t need labels like fiscal conservative, social conservative, paleoconservative, neoconservative, etc.  Either someone is a conservative, or he or she is not–period.

January 6, 2009

Wordle: Declaration of Independence

Filed under: Technology — Sofie @ 3:38 pm
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Declaraation of Indepdence Wordle

Declaration of Independence Wordle

First Fix the Foundation, Then #Rebuild the Infrastructure

I recently joined the Ning site for Rebuild the Party and have read and heard quite a bit lately about rebuilding the Republican Party, particularly by making more effective use of the technology available.  However, before the party’s infrastructure is renovated, its foundation needs to be fixed.

For the last eight years, the Republican Party and the country have been led by a big-government moderate, and the party’s most recent presidential candidate was selected by independents, Democrats, and members of the old media.  Bush ignored conservatives, and McCain insulted us.

If the Republican Party wants to gain and retain power (the reason for its existence), it must first rebuild the foundation out of conservative principles.  This foundation should rest solidly on the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution.

I believe the key passage from which all other conservative principles grow is found in the Declaration of Indepencence:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. . . .

That passage clearly definies the purpose of government:  to secure our rights–not to meet any or all of our needs and wants.

In order to secure its future, the Republican Party must return to these basics and invite back the conservatives it abandoned in its lurch to the left the last several years.

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