Most people who don’t like conservatives have no idea what conservatives are actually about. In fact, when discussing certain issues in a rational state of mind many people find out they actually are conservative. There is the caricature of conservatives liberals have created and popularized and then there is the reality which is quite different.
Conservatives have been at the forefront of the “leave me alone” mentality for centuries. The essence of conservatism is to make good decisions so as to avoid causing problems for ourselves. Let’s face it, life is difficult enough without adding more misery by making stupid decisions. Two very practical tenets emerge from this fundamental truth: avoid abuse and avoid waste. Almost everything associated with true conservatism falls into one of these two categories.
Environmentalism, apart from the control freak political corruption and high money greed involved, has at its core a conservative precept: don’t waste our resources and don’t damage the planet. In theory this is true. The facts don’t always support environmentalist claims (see Anthony Watts outstanding blog to keep up with environmental science stripped from its typical political narrative) but the ideas of “don’t waste resources” and “don’t abuse the environment” are sound. If not for the counter productive and non sequitur policies so often recommended by self appointed guardians of our planet they would have far more supporters, because conservatives also want clean air and clean water, etc., just like anyone else. If environmentalism really were about avoiding abuse and waste there would be far fewer policies focusing on wealth and far more focusing on actually improving the state of the planet. As is turns out the modern environmental movement, regardless of what is used to be, is more about control and funding than about honestly trying to protect the planet.
While Environmentalism may start out well and soon fall into corruption, race relations show a different angle. This is an example of how conservatism really works, or it would be if only people actually paid attention to history. Some people do pay attention to history and they know it was conservatives who were largely responsible for ending slavery in the United States. It was a controlling economic interest, free from a moral compass, which abused power in the early days of the United States to maintain slavery. All human powers want to maintain their power. That’s “preservative” in nature, not “conservative” in nature. Preserving power means exercising more of it, not less.
A conservative attitude is what drove many to fight to abolish slavery, because a free people holding the self evident truth that all men are created equal by their Creator, and endowed with certain unalienable rights cannot make arbitrary distinctions between humans who are people and humans who are not people. To hold liberty dear on one hand and yet deny all human rights to a different group of people on the other is an abuse of power. Thus it was conservatives who fought to end slavery, to end an abuse of power. And this was not merely because slavery was an American contradiction, but because if slavery is permitted for one group there is no reason to assume slavery will not eventually be expanded to abuse other groups in the future.
Many of the arguments in favor of slavery over a century ago are the same arguments used in favor of abortion today. And conservatives oppose abortion today for the same reasons conservatives of the past opposed slavery. It is no accident that slave owners of the past argued that abolitionists were assaulting constitutional rights in opposing slavery. And same goes for proponents of abortion who argue critics of abortion are assaulting constitutional rights. The reality is both slavery and abortion were the practice of self delusion and abuse of the highest order in the deprivation of all human rights to a particular group. And this backwards minded approach to liberty leads us to another aspect of avoiding abuse and waste.
There can be such a thing as too much freedom. With a mob mentality, people can do what they want convinced they are performing an act of justice. When a mob has the capacity to run amok without (or with minimal) legal restraint we can see people do horrible things such as destroying private property (destroying entire businesses, and destroying the jobs those businesses had created) and physically harming people. That’s one reason the U.S. Constitution guarantees the right to peaceably assemble, not to violently assemble.
Majority rule is a curious example of how too much freedom leads a society back to too much government. If there are 5 people in a room, and 3 vote to rob the other 2, the fact that a majority agreed to do this despicable thing does not make it right or just. That’s democracy in action, mob rule. Too much freedom can easily lead to abuse (and usually does), thus the need for law. But the law is not always just.
The United States Constitution is a document designed to protect freedom from government. Government’s tendency is to grow. When government grows, by definition, it acquires more power. The more power government has, the less power you have. Every decision the government makes on your behalf is a decision you no longer have the right to make for yourself. That is why conservatives opposed slavery and Jim Crow – because these things were abuse, and unchallenged abuse leads to more abuse. It’s why conservatives supported civil rights legislation and reject the absurdity that killing one’s child is a civil right. It’s why “hope and change” mean little to conservatives, because hope and change are empty words designed to gain support from unthinking masses. Change just means different, you don’t know if you will like the kind of change that’s promised when it finally arrives – especially if you blindly followed the propaganda. Obamacare is a prime example of buyers remorse – hope and change sold to the American people under false pretenses. Because of such shenanigans, conservatives want to see evidence and reliability rather than hope and change. There is no good way to do a bad thing.
Politicians lie and fads in education or industry may fade next year with nothing to show for it or even cause lasting harm. Even if politicians and social fads had good intentions there is still the unyielding law of unintended consequences. Ideas need to be vetted before implemented. Relying on centralized government has been tried for millennia and the men who invented the United States saw glimpses through out history showing organized freedom is a better way. Smaller, local, dispersed governance is better than concentrated power in the hands of a few.
Because of this localized governance idea, conservatives know the practice of compassion, improving people, making life more fair, and any number of things really are the responsibility of individuals. When government takes on these responsibilities we invite the erosion of liberty. We invite the government telling us what to do and telling us what sacrifices we must make for someone else’s vision of the greater good (a vision which usually protects them from inconvenience and transfers that inconvenience to you and me).
The freedom to live your own life is better than having someone else make your every day decisions for you, if you can demonstrate you are capable of making good decisions. If you’re a scumbag who can’t be trusted to make good decisions, well that’s why we have to have law. It’s a delicate balance and seldom easy to find. Sometimes the best we can find is merely a tradeoff. Decisions have consequences, sometimes lifelong consequences, or even beyond. Societies can be forever tainted by sins of the past. In efforts to organize society, conservatives look at history and see the fact that being careful is essential for making good decisions. Rushing into new policies and new government programs clearly designed to concentrate more power in government is a formula for disaster.
Of course, being careful requires thinking. Accusing someone of racism or homophobia or what ever form of hate is much easier than actually thinking. So that’s the standard criticism of conservatives today. Apparently, thinking for your self now means blindly following hope and change, selling your freedom to Uncle Sam for sub-par products and services you would never buy if you were spending your own money. And the next thing you know you can’t do anything for yourself without first getting government approval. That is not the kind of help you need, and that is not how to maintain freedom. Conservatives know this intuitively.
Race baiters, civil rights charlatans, racial opportunists, and progressives in general needlessly interject race into debate. It’s time to call them on it. Get your Race Card deck today. 54 copies of the Race Card. You’ll have no problem finding opportunities to give Race Cards to those who deserve them. A quick way to make the point that race really should be a non-issue.
conservative, freedom, ideology, philosophy, public policy