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Defining conservatism
by Hank Martin

There has been much debate and discussion recently, regarding the definition of liberalism and conservatism. It would seem that many would choose to accept the current Roget’s Thesaurus definition of both, self-evident in it’s employ in the current media dialogue, and media spun sound bites. However, being “Old School”, I find that as a conservative, defining my socio-political ideology falls in line with the following definition:

Conservatism: The practice of preserving what is established; disposition to oppose change in established institutions and methods.  This definition taken from the Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary, Second Edition.

As I comprehend this definition, it very accurately explains my thought processes and disciplines, which dictate the manner in which I have endeavored to live my life. As a conservative, I cherish and defend the founding documents that created this nation of “WE THE PEOPLE”. This, our great experiment, our American Republic. Those foundational documents that serve as the ideological pillars of our nation, prescribed and set forth by our founding fathers in the form of The Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. Writings that affirm the idea that rights are given to man by God, the Creator Himself, and confirmed to each and every human being, by the shed blood of His Son, Jesus Christ, at Calvary.

Accordingly, as a conservative, I defend free expression, in speech, the press, and assembly. A right guaranteed by the First Amendment to the Constitution. Additionally, as a conservative, I insist upon due process and protection of the individual from excesses and abuses of law enforcement. In particular, I, as a conservative, oppose “unreasonable searches and seizures” (The Fourth Amendment), double jeopardy, and self incrimination (The Fifth Amendment), and “cruel and unusual punishment, of which I do not consider the death penalty as such, (The Eighth Amendment).  In addition, as a conservative, I believe in “the right to a speedy and public trial” and the right to confront accusers and “to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation” (The Sixth Amendment). That having been said, I oppose the willful abuse of those rights, which distorts our judicial system. I oppose extraneous procedures that retard, at considerable taxpayer expense, the quick actions of pronounced judgments, allowing criminals to waste time, money and human energy, in petty appeals, etc. I am opposed to allowing the perversion of the system that no longer renders “Justice” blind, but allows her a peak under the blindfold, making true the old axiom of “He, who has the gold, makes the rules.” I oppose the seeming distortion of the system that creates an environment where the victim seems to possess far fewer rights than the criminal. A system that wastes taxpayer dollars, warehousing child molesters, rapists, and murderers’, rather than eradicating them from our system through the death penalty.

While recognizing the many doctrinal differences amongst religions, as a conservative, I endorse those historically proven and recorded “traditional values” that have been inculcated by the Judeo-Christian religion. The religion of revealed truth, which served as the primary philosophy and inspired the vast majority of the founders to create this nation. The Judeo-Christian faith that has produced an atmosphere of tolerance, mercy, charity, compassion, moderation, and peacemaking, which has allowed for the safe haven of all other religions to exist in this country,  as in no other anywhere in the world.

My conservative position also applies to my attitude of economics. As a conservative I understand and believe in the free market and free enterprise system. I therefore possess tremendous disdain for “government interference” in the corporate economic world.  I prefer “free enterprise” over monopolies; however, I do not favor the rights of business owners to be subjugated to the historically corrupt power appropriated to governmental agencies, at local, state and most certainly, federal levels, which feel themselves charged with “leveling the playing field.” Too many times, the enforcement of “equal opportunity” mutates into the activity of attempting to coerce “equal outcome.” There can not nor should there exist, the notion of an umbrella of “Equivalent Success” in the free market environment. Success will be determined by “WE THE PEOPLE” voting with our pocket books. If the product or service is found to be of value, then “WE THE PEOPLE” will continue to fund its operation. If the service is not of value, then “WE THE PEOPLE” will not pay for it. The market will speak for itself, and no individual, corporation or even government, is ever to big to fail.

As a conservative, I believe in maximum personal liberty, but that liberty ceases upon the infringement of another’s. I believe that the notion of personal liberty is protected by the rule of law. That being through the right to vote, which is the “consent of the governed”, and by legitimate popular government, again whose laws are based upon the precepts of the Judeo-Christian philosophy, and whose laws are not in violation of, nor attempting to render legal decisions on matters out of the realm of human authority.

As a conservative, I am opposed to the use of taxpayer funds, to propagate policies and programs that are in direct opposition to the commonly ideals of the Judeo-Christian ethics regarding the sanctity of innocent unborn life, as well as those activities which would serve to undermine or attempt to redefine such time honored traditions as marriage and family.

As a conservative, I am naturally and profoundly suspicious of the philosophical idea and current exercise in the notion of “big government”. I understandably am highly desirous of the institution of separation of powers, as designed by our founder’s. A system created to provide the required checks and balances that keep our Republic as a governmental system and body created to represent the interests of the public rather than campaign contributors, and lobbyists, and one that restrains government assaults upon the personal liberties of “WE THE PEOPLE” as set forth in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Therefore accordingly, while as a conservative, I believe in the notion, that it is not the business of government to promote any particular religion, I equally believe that government can not use it’s legislative or judicial power to obstruct any one particular religion, the subjugation of one being by default, the promotion of all others, or to interfere in the private lives of citizens.

As a conservative, I believe that it is the function of the various courts of our judicial system, to interpret established law with due regard for legal precedent, based upon the original intent of the Constitution.

As a conservative, I expect the simple yet required discipline of responsibility and accountability. This applies to persons, to corporations, institutions, and most certainly, to government. There can be no exceptions allowed for “well-placed individuals” (e.g., Ben Bernanke, Timothy Geithner, Rahm Emanuel, etc), or firms (The Federal Reserve, Lehman Brothers, General Motors), or governing administrations (ACORN, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, etc).

As a conservative, I believe in the idea of national sovereignty, and the active protection and projection thereof. I support the idea of secure boarders, able to identify, apprehend, and remove from our soil, all those who are here illegally. I am opposed to the abuse of constitutional amendments which allow for illegal aliens access to our socio-economic infrastructure, by simply giving birth on American soil. I support the rights of all citizens who have obeyed and complied with the laws regarding American citizenship, but wish to see all others who are not in compliance treated as the criminal outlaws that they are. National sovereignty also demands the need for national independence from other countries for the material needs of our citizens. I therefore am in favor of taking any and all actions required, to utilize the available resources to which the United States has at its disposal. I am in favor of eradicating the various governmental policies which currently render impotent, our ability to be energy self-sufficient. I am in favor of the exploration, location, and harnessing of natural resources such as coal, natural gas, and oil. I am in favor of the design and construction of nuclear power facilities which will continue to allow for the majority of American families to have access to the energy they require for the heating, cooling and carrying on the activity of living, in their homes.

As a conservative, I am cognitively aware of time, and my position, as well as the position of my generation within its realm. I am aware of and appreciative of history. I am acutely aware of those generations upon whose shoulders I stand. Those men whose blood was spilled in order to grant me the blessings of liberty in which I have had the opportunity to live, and which imparts me the awesome and transcendent responsibility I have to bestow those same ideals and opportunities, to future generations. Therefore, as a conservative, I can not support the idea of the instruction of anti-Americanism that has taken root in too many of our public institutions of education. I am naturally diametrically opposed to budget deficits, and other unconstitutional policies, which will have dire consequences for our progeny. Those activities and ideologies currently being exercised, that foresee the mortgaging and perverting of the future for the “millions yet unborn” that will follow me, which will find them existing in a nation so unlike the one we have heretofore enjoyed, that their only exposure to it, will be through history texts and oral recitations of the few still alive who can recall it.

I believe this to be a more complete definition, which this is a far more detailed and representative definition of “Conservative” and better explains the spirit that currently propels the many who now find themselves actively engaged in the political system that is our Republic.

4 COMMENTS

  1. Many of the alleged leaders of the republican/conservative party, would do well to take the time and absorb this definition. This “definition” accurately captures my mind set,and I’m sure the mind set of many others. I’ve not seen so concise and percise an expose from any of the profesional spokespersons for the conservative side. Republicans and newly elected TEA Party legislators, who are willing to compromise on the above points, will find themselves voted out. It’s taken too long, but people are awakening to the reality of what is at stake, and are finding their voices. Many for the first time. These are the beliefs for which we passionately contend.

  2. Hank, three cheers for you for having taken the time and effort to make your principles clear. However,

    I, as a conservative, oppose “unreasonable searches and seizures” (The Fourth Amendment), double jeopardy, and self incrimination (The Fifth Amendment), and “cruel and unusual punishment, of which I do not consider the death penalty as such, (The Eighth Amendment). In addition, as a conservative, I believe in “the right to a speedy and public trial” and the right to confront accusers and “to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation” (The Sixth Amendment).

    So do liberals. The question that divides us is what constitutes “the willful abuse of those rights.”

    I am opposed to allowing the perversion of the system that no longer renders “Justice” blind, but allows her a peak under the blindfold, making true the old axiom of “He, who has the gold, makes the rules”

    Great, but this is one reason why liberals favor limits on campaign contributions and high taxes on the rich. He who has the gold inevitably has the most power to make the rules.

    As a conservative, [ . . . ] I am acutely aware of those generations upon whose shoulders I stand. Therefore, as a conservative, I can not support the idea of the instruction of anti-Americanism that has taken root in too many of our public institutions of education.

    As Christians, those generations believed that they were sinners, and nations composed of sinners can’t help but sin. America has sinned. Do you deny it? Then why do you call acknowledging America’s sin anti-Americanism? You don’t honor your ancestors by pretending they were sinless.

  3. Ken,
    In response to your statement about the division of “the willful abuse of those rights”, I would answer this way. Me personally, I would consider it an abuse, if the judiciary, or representatives thereof, apply and execute legal proceedings, based not upon the original intent of the Constitution, as envisioned and scribed by the founders. It seems tremendously self-evident, that we are in this swampy, murky mess, due in large part, to the ideological notion of citing precedent, rather than intent. Had we stayed true to the Constitution, rather than finding ways in which to circumnavigate the intent of the founders, in order to appease and grow a constituency, many of our ills would not exist.

    Your idea of favoring limits on campaign contributions and high taxes upon the wealthy, I agree, would grant many a tremendous amount of emotional satisfaction, however it would only provide a short term fix, and ultimately would fail to pass the test of less government and more individual liberty. While I can concede to your point to a degree, how long would it take the wealthy, who have unlimited financial assets and unparalleled access to lawmakers and legal council, to fabricate an elaborate maze, which ultimately filters out the urine, but leaves the feces? In other words, they would still have found a way to not pay what you would call “their fair share”, but would have a whole new government bureaucracy to fund, and who would invariably fulfill their positions at the cost of the little guy, or at the very least, the upper middle guy. The government is like a poor marksman, they keep missing the original target, but rip the heck out of everything else on the range. An excellent case in point. Those responsible for the financial mess that is now Wall Street, are still in power, on the government side of things now, calling the shots. For all of the brave and bold talk, have we seen anyone held accountable? Have we seen the enormous managerial bonuses returned? No, we have not, nor will we. Don’t get me wrong, this criticism goes to both parties. I am beginning to believe that there is as much difference between democrats and republicans as there is between coke and pepsi. In a room with the lights out, can you really tell much difference.

    We are told to love the sinner, but hate the sin. Yes America has sinned, her sin is no more nor less than any other nation before her. The attitude to which I refer, is the one that uses America’s past wrong doings as an excuse to bash her into oblivion. Lest we forget, that while America did some things incorrectly, she did that much more in a noble and well manner. The world as we know it, would not exist today if she hadn’t. I can acknowledge the wrong doing of the past. I can also call out anti-Americanism when I detect it. They are not mutually exclusive.

  4. Patriot, if you love the Constitution, you owe it to yourself to read in depth the views of liberal patriots who also love it. Intent isn’t always easy to discern, and the Founding Fathers had many differences among themselves anyhow.

    And limiting campaign contributions wouldn’t require a whole new bureaucracy. When people find ways around laws, and they often do, we write more comprehensive laws. You’re arguing that because we can’t entirely or eternally succeed, we shouldn’t even try.

    And we’ll have to agree to disagree about whether liberal criticism of America’s past in “anti-American.” But on a similar subject, here’s a Washington Post columnist on Robert E. Lee.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/dispelling-the-myth-of-robert-e-lee/2011/04/25/AFrXC1kE_story.html

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