What Does It Mean to Be a Conservative?
In the United States of America, there are three major political factions - Liberals, Conservatives, and Moderates (or centrists). This hub discusses the group labeled "Conservatives." In general, conservatives can be characterized as those who adhere to the following:
- Traditional values
- Personal responsibility
- Smaller government
- Lower taxes
- Strong national defense
- Business friendly
- Pro Life
- Generous to others (as discovered from a recent research project)
A Conservative Believes in Traditional Values
First, a conservative is one who believes in traditional values (e.g. strong families and religion). As those who champion traditional values, conservatives believe that marriage should be defined in traditional terms; that is, between one man and one woman.
A Conservative Believes in Personal Responsibility
Second, a conservative believes that each person should take personal responsibility for their actions. This means that a person should accept the consequences of their actions. If they commit a crime, they should be prosecuted and serve out the appointed sentence. If a man and a woman sleep together and a child is conceived, they should take care of the child. Even so, most conservatives are willing to recognize and take into consideration at least some extenuating circumstances.
A Conservative Believes in Less Government
Third, a conservative is one who believes in less government. As such, they attempt to limit the role of the central or federal government.
A Conservative Prefers Capital Investment over Paying Taxes
Fourth, a conservative believes in paying less taxes.
- They believe in paying less taxes because they should be able to keep a fair share of their hard earned dollars.
- They believe government is an inefficient proxy when it comes to administrating the economic and financial welfare of its citizens.
- They believe that capital investments by private donors is a better solution for stimulating the country's economy.
A Conservative Believes in a Strong National Defense
Fifth, a conservative believes in a strong national defense. Conservatives believe that the most important role of government is to protect the physical well-being of its citizens. As such, they believe that the bulk of taxpayer dollars should go to keeping the military in a high-state of readiness.
A Conservative is Pro Business
Another characteristic of conservatives is they are pro business. Again they believe that businesses should pay less taxes so they can have more capital available for expansion which includes hiring more workers who will also make money to spend into the economy.
A Conservative Believes in Giving to the Cause of the Needy
Finally, conservatives believe in helping the poor and the needy. This is probably the least recognized quality of conservatives. Arthur C. Brooks, a professor at Syracuse University, published "Who Really Cares: The Surprising Truth About Compassionate Conservatism." After he finished his research for the book, Brooks was surprised by the results. He was surprised because he discovered that "liberals are markedly less charitable than conservatives" (as cited by George Will, 2008). Brooks who was once a committed liberal was shocked because he lived under the assumption that his liberal colleagues were more generous to the poor than conservatives. In fact, Brooks discovered that conservatives out gave liberals by four to one and that those who give are more apt to give in multiple ways including money, goods, and volunteer time.