- Politics and Social Issues
Being A Conservative
What Does That Mean?
What Does That Mean?
Being a conservative on many fronts, there are flavors of conservatism, just as there are various flavors of liberalism. I, personally, have core conservative values, with a smattering of liberal beliefs. Many people don't believe that but those liberal causes are there none-the-less having grown up in the turbulent, chaotic years in our nation's history during the late 60's and early 70's. What I have found is that the passage of time, and the events that occur over time, have caused me to gravitate to the right of center. You know the little things like getting married, having children and then the responsibility of putting a roof over everyone's head and vittles on the table. I'm also certain I'm not the only American who has undertaken this particular metamorphosis. But I do know it is centered on the concept of responsibility for first, ones self, and then others.
I had the interesting experience yesterday of reading the rants of a liberal on one of my posts where many assumptions about other commenter's and myself were made without knowing anything about the other person. That seems dangerous to me but also seems centered on not agreeing with the others person's views. Some of those people I've known for a while and others I've just experienced recently so I have some insight into who they really are and what they are really about. The experience, however, did get me to thinking about writing this Hub.
Being accused of being some far right wing whack job, when you're not even close to that, is out and out stereotyping. There are extremes on both sides of the political spectrum and it seems to flow from far left wing progressive whack jobs to far right wing whack jobs but a whack job is still a wacko. Because I don't agree with the present POTUS and his policies also doesn't classify me, or anyone else, as an extreme right wing fanatic, nor a racist or a fascist or any of those other lovely names that get hurled out there like unguided missiles.
True conservatism is based upon the adherence of this nation to the principles and guidelines found in the document our Founding Fathers, who weren't exactly dummies and understood what tyrants are all about, named The United States Constitution. Then before everyone at the time bought off on that there had to be the addition of 10 amendments to reach an agreement. I, personally, am a Constitutionalist. I don't give a hoot if Bush, Obama or any other President, or Congress for that matter, takes it upon himself, or itself, to stray from the US Constitution in order to get their way, they are violating the law of this land. Until it is changed for some reason, and changing it isn't necessarily very easy, then it MUST be the guidepost for those we send to Washington to do our will. We seem to have strayed very far away from that document and it seems to be continuing since politicians of today think they know best.
Being a conservative means that we embrace a small central government where power is delegated to the lowest level, as are the decisions the people are required to make in their daily lives and communities. It's also called power down. It doesn't mean having a bloated, maniacal federal bureaucracy that wants to guide every aspect of our daily lives. In other words, conservatives don't see the need in life for having a Big Brother to watch us and over us, or a Nanny to meet our every need. Do you realize that since Obama's inauguration that the federal bureaucracy has grown by 17% and we still aren't done with that deal. That, my fellow countrymen, is called the federal government trying to grab even more POWER than it already has over our lives, not to mention enhancing the "Jobs For Friends" program. Conservatives don't embrace that, again, no matter who is doing the grabbing and befriending.
Conservatives don't believe that you have to write 2,000+ pages of gobble-de-goop into a bill in order to write what should be a simple law to act as the outline in conducting the nation's business. Have you been noticing that trend? Try reading one of those puppies and discerning the meaning of some of it. Even lawyers are admitting that they need a lawyer to understand what is in some of these bills. The principle of "KISS" has given way to the concept of making something so complex that even the people who have to vote on it seem a bit confused about the validity of what they are voting on.
Here's where it gets a bit sticky where it shouldn't. Fiscal conservatism means that you don't spend more money than you make or take in. Violation of that principle over and over again, by whomever, is what has led this nation to the brink of bankruptcy. Looking at it realistically, that eliminates a whole passel of those seat warmers in Foggy Bottom as being fiscal conservatives. Many talk the talk but how about we see them start walking the walk. If there was a balanced budget amendment passed, something many of them talk about but pussy foot around, then our nation might start to find itself on a sound financial footing. Most of us know, some from experience, that you can't continually spend more than we make. The banks put a screeching halt to it after a while. But I reckon when you're the bank and you're printing the money that it becomes an acceptable practice? Something is wrong with that picture conservatively speaking.
We're against earmarks, also affectionately known as PORK. You know the old "gotta bring home the bacon" concept so that the people know we are doing something up here in Foggy Bottom. I don't believe that porking up any, and every, bill that whistles out of the halls of Congress is constitutional in the least. All those little small chunks of our hard earned tax dollars end up being a whole hog over time and inflate an already over the top federal deficit. No one needs to build bridges to nowhere for this conservative to understand what it is all about. Behind every earmark is a lobbyist or special interest group. Those people's mentality is "what's in it for me?" What's in it for the ear marker usually equates to a hefty campaign contribution into the re-election war coffer. That's what many of those things are really all about. Let each appropriation ever made be able to stand on its own merit and not slid into another bill at the eleventh hour.
The first 10 amendments, and their sanctity, are essential to being a conservative. Without the inclusion of those amendments, the US Constitution would not have been ratified by the people. Those people understood the dangers inherent with not having them. The First Amendment is the cornerstone of the other ten. The Second Amendment insures that the First Amendment remains the right of all American citizens. Now understand something here, and please keep it in context. I carried a gun for 23 years of my adult m life and know very well how to use one. I don't own one at all now, I don't feel I need to. But I sure don't want the federal government to ever overstep its bounds and try to prohibit me from owning one if in the future I find the need to own one. Do you? Sometimes I think it is best to reflect on our history and why the founding fathers, and the people themselves, found it necessary to include your right to bear and own firearms in the US Constitution. It's called having been under a tyrant's thumb for far too long.
Conservative views embrace less taxation. That includes "representation" which we seem to be lacking along the way. Taxation without representation is tyrannical and the principal cause of the Revolutionary War. It embraces the principle of letting the people themselves keep their hard earned dollars in their own coffers and out of a central governments money grabbing paws. We work hard for our money, all of us do that bother to work anyway,and it is our "right" to be able to keep as much of it as possible to further our own enterprises in life,. I'm not rich, nor am I poor as when I was growing up, but I tire of hearing people ranting about the rich paying more taxes. Fact: The top 10% of this nation's income earners already pay the majority of the income taxes collected by the IRS. As a conservative, I realize the only thing that keeps me from being rich is ME. I just want to live comfortably and keep as much as I can out of the taxing authorities hands.
True conservatism isn't too hot either on allowing people who break the law to enter this country to get a free pass to staying here after they have broken said laws. This is a land of laws, and opportunity may I add, where law breakers shouldn't be given a wink and a nod and a free pass to citizenship while the line of people trying to enter this country legally grows longer by the day. It slays a conservative thinker when they see those placards at a rally for illegal immigrants asking, ""What about my rights?" Well, since you're here illegally - you have none except the right to remain silent. There are many rationales behind the wink and the nod thingy but conservatives don't wink and nod on this issue. Just enforce the laws on the books and provide the necessary border security to keep the riff-raff out of our nation.
One of the key values a conservative embraces is that of self-reliance. This is a great nation and was built by people's self-determination for themselves. I don't expect anyone, nor should I or anyone else, to just give me something I did not work for. It doesn't exactly look fondly on the Nanny State that has evolved since the advent of LBJ's Great Society. I won't dispute the fact that, at times, there are people that need to have a hand extended out on a temporary basis. You shouldn't dispute the fact that there are people among us who just have their hands out on a permanent basis. And we don't make them do anything about changing that situation. Now to a conservative thinker that seems a bit pathetic.
Let me close this and back track to the First Amendment and conservatism. The principle of freedom of speech needs to be our guidepost. There are, however, limits to that freedom as we all know - offensive to society is offensiveness. Using a norm though, you, I and any other citizen of this nation should be able to speak or write about what we feel without any fear of censorship either governmentally or otherwise. It has been found that when one voice is silenced, two more spring up to take its place. As a writer and blogger of some note, I don't feel anyone has the right to personally attack another poster or myself because you don't agree with my, or their views. The right of dissent doesn't mean the right to attack someone. When you do that, you seem to have lost the debate and moved far beyond the bounds of civil discourse.
We need freedom of the press, the right to assemble peacefully to let our discontent be known, and the freedom to practice whatever religious beliefs that embrace our belief system. As conservatives, we need to safeguard those liberties and "rights." Those are rights granted by the US Constitution, not privileges granted to us by a federal government. The American people need to guard against any censorship that infringes on our right to speak freely about the circumstances and events we have now found ourselves in. There is danger in letting tyranny infest our ranks. Now there's a reality conservatives can wrap their heads around.
Am I a conservative? In many respects significantly so and I'm proud to be a conservative thinker as outlined above. I had to do some serious growing up and thinking to arrive at that destination but I have arrived there. We MUST insist that the people we send to Washington DC adhere to the US Constitution as they practice their own brand of political partisanship. It is OUR right that they do so, not a privilege a governmental entity has bestowed upon us. Much blood was shed to insure that we first, obtained our rights, then more has been shed to insure they remain our rights. So be it.
Have an awesome day!