Who Is The True Conservative?
If you were a follower of Twitter, Facebook, or other social media before Mitt Romney became (almost) their GOP nominee for the 2012 Presidential election, you probably watched many conservatives grapple with which candidate was the “truuuu” conservative. Some of the tweets and posts ranged from humorous to hideous. Shortly before Rick Santorum dropped out of the race, I watched two conservatives confront one another because one found out through Unfollow Me (an online tool used to find out which of your followers have broken up with you) that the other had in fact unfollowed them. The rejected person caught up with the one who rejected them and asked what had happened to cause the breakup. Rejector told rejected that it was nothing personal, but they were tired of the constant GOP cheer leading. OK. I don’t unfollow my friends because they cheer lead for their candidates of choice, but to each their own.
Many of us wave the conservative banner declaring FREEDOM; yet, we try to shut the mouths of those we don’t agree with! That’s hypocritical isn’t it? We scream at those on the left for trying to shut our speech down, yet we think it’s OK to shut down our own and others? Truth! Be what you say you want! Filthiness of speech doesn’t have to be tolerated. True hate speech needs to be dealt with, but if the speech is simply opinions you disagree with, no matter how maddening or ignorant, trying to shut it down is not good! We’d better forget about selecting the “truuuuuu” conservative nominee until we know who and what “truuuuu” conservatives are! We need to start with ourselves. Am I a true conservative? Are you? If we can’t even support the very basic concept of freedom of thought and speech, whether we despise what they think and say, we have a problem.
Historically, the origination of conservatism is credited to British parliamentarian and political writer Edmund Burk . He penned Reflections on the Revolution in France, in which he was undoubtedly repulsed by the violent upheavals. Sound familiar? Certain conservatives in the past believed that society was too multifaceted to trust government enough to try and solve the many problems we face, let alone enact legislation that probably wouldn’t work over a long period of time.
Viscount Falkland, an English author and politician who sat in the House of Commons in the 1800s, said, “If it is not necessary to change, it is necessary not to change.”
Change is inevitable, but I don’t want governmental policy changing us from top down. I want Americans changing policy from the bottom up. Government is supposed to serve the people, not the other way around.
Let’s fast forward to 2012. I contacted several men and women that I respect, and asked them what conservatism meant to them. Here are some of their responses, and thank you all for taking time to respond!
@KesGardner (Ken Gardner) wrote the following:
“A friend has asked me what being a conservative means to me. I am a small government conservative. To borrow a phrase from Corie C. Whalen, I feel like a libertarian around conservatives and a conservative around libertarians. Philosophically, I agree pretty much 100% with Ayn Rand’s views on individual rights (including property rights), capitalism, and the role of government being limited essentially to law enforcement, national defense/security, and the courts. The US Constitution is a limit on federal government power, not a floor. Politically, I agree with the Ben Franklin approach: aim for what is realistically possible to move us closer to these ends. I agree with Reagan’s “peace through strength” approach to defense, GWB’s proactive approach to counter terrorism, and John Bolton’s “promote American interests” approach to foreign policy. Culturally, I believe in promoting virtues of rationality, individual responsibility and self-reliance, honesty, integrity, and treating others with the respect they deserve through their own actions.”
@JJAuthor (Janie Johnson penned the books: Don’t Take My Lemonade Stand & Obama 2012 Slogans Rewritten.)
“Conservatism is taking care of the truly poor and needy and creating opportunity for the rest of us to go back to work.”
@KLSouth (Kelly South, Calvin Coolidge conservative; Investment Banker.)
Kelly has a great blog, titled, Know Your Frequency. It’s worth the read and gets to the very heart of conservatism: http://klsouth.wordpress.com/2011/09/01/know-your-frequency/
@TerriGreenUSA (Terri Green, Christian, Conservative, Patriot, GA-GOP Faith Based Outreach Chair)
“I am unapologetic when it comes to my faith in God, and my personal relationship with Jesus Christ. I pray that the Religious leaders in our country – from different denominations – will come together and work on the social issues that face us as a country such as: “the right to life”, the Sanctity of Marriage and traditional family values. We have lost our equilibrium and reversed our values. We have rewarded laziness and called it welfare. We have killed our unborn and called it choice. We have neglected to discipline our children and called it building self-esteem. We have abused power and called it politics. We have coveted our neighbor’s possessions and called it social justice. As Conservatives we should stand on God’s side of the issues. By that I mean the precepts of His word define our politics, not our political views defining our religious views.
I believe that Conservatives should be authentic, meaning, not false or an imitation, being true to one’s own personality, or character. We should be ‘bona fide’ which is being exactly what it claims to be, to be trustworthy according to fact. We need to be genuine in our core values so that our character won’t seem counterfeited, imitated, or adulterated. Our intentions should come across as bona fide implying sincerity of heart. Therefore, if we could say what we mean and lead with conviction because we hold certain truths to be self-evident, people will want to follow us. Conservatives should never do something for convenience’s sake – but rather do them because this is what we believe. And if we are able to demonstrate it by our actions and our words – then persuade people – and prove it to others, we can unite once again to take our country back.
We need to get back to our roots and our basic principles as Conservatives and then we need to stand firm on them. Not in a desperate way, because as Conservatives we do not believe in a panic over government, because our God is Lord over even our most corrupt institutions. Truth will survive, so there’s no need to panic, or throw one bit of the baby out with the bath-water. Republicans have never been more complacent to our own foundations and we’ve lost our ability to articulate a vision for a brighter and stronger foundation for America.
We have to be determined to: Lead with Courage, Stand on Principle, Communicate our Vision, Connect and reach out to others. We must be a fighter, thinker, realist, communicator, connector, and a believer.”
@GregWHoward (Gregory Howard, a USMC Vet, DAV, Music Ministry):
“Being a conservative to me means being true to the original intent of the Founders. It means having a limited government, spelled out in Article I Section 8 (http://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/articlei) of the Constitution. That means no Social Security, school grants, and a lot of other things, too. Unfortunately, for many conservatives, my beliefs turn them on their ear. Limited government includes hands off of many traditional issues.”
She wrote straight to the point: “As a woman, teaching your children personal responsibility. The world doesn’t owe them a thing! Being a victim is ugly!”
“When I think of the word conservative, I think of not being wasteful. Like wearing your clothes until they start to wear out – and then repairing them or figuring out another use for them. It’s looking for a way to use that last bit of a bar of soap instead of tossing it in the trash. If it’s practical, why not rinse out a ziploc bag & use it again? Or keeping our car repaired so we can drive it at last ten years. Being conservative is being respectful of other people’s stuff and not doing anything to purposefully mess up someone else’s belongings. Not being silly & wasteful with things that cost money, whether it’s your things or someone else’s. Using the earth’s resources wisely….like not running water at the sink unnecessarily. It’s a mindset of seeing how far you can stay from “the edge” instead of seeing how close you can get to “the edge” without going over “the cliff.” It’s spending money wisely and saving for the future, being frugal not stingy, trying to have margin in your life so that you can be ready to help someone, if it’s in your power to do so. Being conservative is valuing people and relationships instead of stuff.”
@ChrisORights (Chris, a software developer):
“The shortest possible answer I can come up with is this: Belief in individual freedom and responsibility, the U.S. Constitution and Amendments, and particularly the Bill of Rights.”
Please read Chris’ blog about conservatism. It’s a quick read, and awesome. http://www.chrisofrights.com/2012/04/what-does-being-conservative-mean-to-me.html
As you can tell, there are different thoughts about conservatism, but you’ll notice freedom, reigning in spending, and limited government are at the root. Conservatives will differ on issues, and how we deal with them, but the mark of the “truuuuuuu” conservative constantly stays in a less government mentality, not a lording it over the sheeple mentality.
We’re facing another election, and the past three and a half years have shown us what bloated government looks like, and if we have four more years of President Obama, the government is not going to get smaller. Do we want that? Do we want the thought police, the racist police, the hate police, the speech police, the sugar police, the happy hour police, the Christian Cross police, or the political correctness police continuing to interfere in our lives? We can’t have it both ways. To compromise and give in means someone is going to give away more of who they are than the other side. Some are throwing the Constitution and freedoms under the bus cloaked in the guise of compromise. If we want the lifelong governmental insertion into the life of #Julia (us) shown on the White House website, kiss conservatism goodbye. Kiss independence and any freedoms we have left goodbye.
Speaking from a fundamental Christian heart, and being a social and fiscal conservative, I see sides of conservatism in my Heavenly Father. He gave Adam and Eve only one law to obey, to not eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. He warned what would happen if they did, knowing what they were going to do, but He allowed them to break the law. We’re like Adam and Eve. We want to make our own way. We want to learn on our own. We want to make our own choices. If Adam and Eve didn’t want to obey ONE regulation, do you think society wants to obey thousands of regulations? We are created to be free not ruled and regulated into depression!
Looking back again, Burke, one of our fathers of conservatism said about Catholics that they were “the most effectual barrier” against radicalism. Was he peeking into 2012 from long ago? Does the Catholics and birth control issue sound familiar today? Conservatism believes we are endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights and we respect the separation of church and state. Many conservatives try to obey a law much more important than man’s law, and we’re free to do so, or should be free to do so! Amen?
Whoever wins the 2012 elections could possibly change the balance of the Supreme Court. Vote wisely! Your vote will affect generations to come. We’re now reaping previous votes! Will future generations live in a freer world than we have now, with a smaller government than we have now, with a less corrupt government than we have now, in a country that supports freedom of religious expression more than it does now, that is more respectful of religion than it is now? Know who your vote is going to! Teach our younger generations the importance of conservatism; teach them the importance of who we vote for and the results that can come from lethargy.
No man is perfect. We all make errors, but if we want conservatism to continue, let’s find the “truuuu” conservatives who are for me and you ruling ourselves within normal boundaries, not government watching our every move. The “in name only” conservative don’t cut it anymore. We must find thoroughly vetted men and women that are like Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Howard Taft, Grover Cleveland, Calvin Coolidge, Ronald Reagan, and George W. Bush. No candidate will ever be perfect, but we must get as close as possible to the mark as possible!
We must decide if we want the whole package, partial package, or small package where conservatism is concerned. I prefer the whole package, but I will accept any package if it’s my only choice for 2012. Conservatism must stay true to itself, and if all else fails, a new formation will begin again if discontentment continues. Revolution will always come out of horrible situations. We just want to be on the right side of any future change to come! Personally, I will go forward by going backwards, getting closer to the Constitution, getting closer to freedom, getting closer to limited government, and I will gladly do so. I don’t ever want to be #Julia.
I am ever looking for the “truuuu conservative” who respects and lives our Bill of Rights, our Constitution, our Preamble, which says, “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”