Ten Principles of Conservatism
As a very political year approaches an end, and a new presidential election cycle looms, it’s a good time for conservatives to step back from partisan politics and reflect on their cause.
What do conservatives believe? Here are 10 principles worth pondering.
1. God’s Law Governs Nations as Well as Men.
The Ten Commandments should not only be enshrined in our courthouses, they should be engraved in our hearts and minds as guides to all behavior, public and private. As the Founders acknowledged in the Declaration of Independence, laws and policies that violate the natural law are abuses of government power that must be resisted and reversed.
2. Life Is the First God-Given Right
It’s always wrong to deliberately take an innocent human life. When this principle is abridged, violence escalates. Thus we have aborted 47 million unborn babies in the past three decades, begun to accept euthanasia and doctor-assisted suicide, and stand at the threshold of cloning human beings for the specific purpose of killing them.
3. Marriage and Family Come Before the State and Deserve Its Protection
The marriage of one man and one woman is the natural foundation of all human society, and the means by which children ought to be brought into the world and taught the basic values of our civilization. Government has a duty to recognize and protect the family and must not grant alternative relationships the same status and privileges.
4. Freedom of Conscience is the Soul of Liberty
Understanding that freedom of conscience is at the heart of liberty, the Framers protected freedom of religion and assembly in the 1st Amendment. Movements to force the Boy Scouts to accept homosexual scout masters, or to compel religious individuals or organizations to distribute birth control or abortion drugs against their beliefs, directly attack these freedoms.
5. Private Property is the Servant of Freedom
The more that individuals, families and businesses can acquire and control the goods necessary to sustain and advance themselves, the more autonomy they will have from the state and others who may wish to unjustly restrict their freedom. The free and responsible use of private property tends to create greater wealth and greater freedom for greater numbers of people.
6. Government Dependency is the Seed of Tyranny
The more that individuals, families and businesses are dependent on the state for the goods necessary to sustain and advance themselves, the less autonomy they will have from the state and others who may wish to unjustly restrict their freedom. This is why expanding the welfare state is bad, and Social Security personal retirement accounts, Health Savings Accounts and school choice are good.
7. The Constitution Means What It Says
Believing in the God-given rights of man and understanding the imperfect nature of human beings, the Framers crafted a Constitution designed to protect the former from the latter. Many of the problems in U.S. government would be resolved if the President, Congress and Courts limited themselves and each other to the authority the Constitution actually grants them.
8. Taxes Are Justified Only to Fund Necessary Government Spending
A massive and complex tax code has become a powerful weapon politicians can use to pressure citizens to behave as the politicians, or the interest groups that support the politicians, wish. The correct function of taxation is to equitably collect only that revenue needed to fund the legitimate activities of a constitutionally limited government.
9. National Defense Is Just That
The first duty of the federal government is to defend the American people against foreign enemies. While advancing freedom in the world is good in itself—and, where it prudently can be done, would advance the interests of the United States–ultimately, the mandate for our national leaders is to use whatever moral means they can to carve out that path in our relations with foreign powers that is most likely to lead to enhanced security, prosperity and freedom for this nation.
10. We Should Strive to Give Our Children a Better Country
America is more than just an expanse of territory or a set of laws. It is a culture, whose art, architecture, journalism, music, movies, television, schools and universities, should reflect and reinforce the traditional values that made this country great. We owe this to our children, who will build the America of tomorrow on the foundation of the America we teach them to love today.