What Does it Mean to be a Conservative?

If you ask a dozen conservatives to give you a definition of conservatism; you will likely get a dozen different answers.

Donald Trump was asked what he thought being a conservative was and he gave some mumbled explanation that we like to “conserve things.” It became clear that Donald Trump knows nothing of conservatism or anything associated with it. In fact, many of his followers say that conservatism is dead and obsolete, so we should adopt populism instead. Yea, that worked out real well for the French during the revolution. Anyway, moving on..

Donald Trump had it partly right. We do like to “conserve things,” but not just for the sake of conservation itself. See, Donald Trump loves to say he is a “common sense conservative.” The problem is that conservative principles are rooted in common sense.

A true and informed conservative will know and love history. Every conservative I have ever met that is well-informed is an avid reader and student of history. Why? Because we understand that history tells us about our future. We analyze what ideas, philosophies, and beliefs have lasted the test of time and we implement them. We also believe in learning from the mistakes of the past in order to avoid the pitfalls many other civilizations fell into.

Most conservatives are either religious, or believe in the Judeo-Christian founding of our nation even if they are atheists. They believe that the founding ideals are vital to the continuing prosperity and stability of our country.

We believe in individual liberty which is directly linked to the size of government. We abhor a powerful and centralized government. The bigger the government, the less power resides in the hands of the people and the individual.

We believe that history has taught us that freedom is fragile. Tyranny is always lurking and we must never cease being vigilant in protecting her. Liberals would call us paranoid, we would say we understand human nature.

We believe that man is fallen and his sinful nature is always present. God has given us rights that not even governments have the right to take away, so we have the right to fight that government when those rights are being violated.

We believe that there are just laws and unjust laws. If they violate God’s law they are unjust. Authority and power are not interchangeable. The government may have the power to infringe on our God-given rights, but it does not have the authority to do so. Our Founders understood this concept all too well and was the bases of their argument against the King.

We believe in the free-market and the individual’s God-given right to be a good or bad steward of his or her property, money, and ideas with as little government intervention as possible.

We believe that the people give the government the power to tax and we decide how much or how little, not the government.The government does not have an inherent right to our hard-earned money. We believe that short of our express agreement, taxation is theft. The money belongs to the people who earn it and it is theirs to do with as they wish.That is their God-given right.

We believe that our country was the first of its kind and was founded through divine inspiration. Without God’s blessing and intervention, America could not have performed a 5,000 year leap in technology, democracy, and power. We are not God’s chosen people, but our Founders made covenants with God and his blessing has been evident ever since. No country has done what America has done in such a short amount of time. The evidence is flabbergasting and obvious to all who want to see.

We believe that America is exceptional because it was the first to be founded in freedom, with Judeo-Christian values, and have imparted more freedom  and the Gospel to the world than all other countries combined.

We believe that America, with all of its flaws, is still a shining city on a hill that has been a place of refuge for so many. America was and is an idea, one that has filled millions around the world with hope that there is a country where freedom still rings. Unfortunately, that ring is growing fainter by the day. Yes, we conservatives want to “conserve” that freedom and the ideals we were founded on.

If that makes me crazy, radical, or a bigot; then I proudly claim that mantle.

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