Conservatism

This ran in the New York Post on Sunday, August 3, 2008. It’s a great read and I hope will help others understand why conservatives think the way we do.

WHAT CONSERVATIVES BELIEVE

By PHIL VALENTINE

Last updated: 7:41 am
August 3, 2008
Posted: 3:42 am
August 3, 2008

Conservatism is not only viable, it’s essential for a free society. The difference between liberalism and conservatism is best summed up in the old Chinese proverb: “Give a man a fish, he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish, he eats for a lifetime.” Liberals have been handing out fish. Conservatives have been handing out fishing poles.

1. Conservatism makes for a productive society. Alexander Tytler said of democracy: “It can only exist until a majority of voters discover that they can vote themselves largess out of the public treasury.” Liberalism has raided the treasury to take from the producers and give to those less productive, leaving neither side with an incentive to work for either themselves or a nation.

2. Conservatism is compassionate. Liberals measure compassion by how many people are on the government dole. Conservatives measure compassion by how many people are off of it. While liberalism, by its very nature, looks down its nose at the less fortunate, conservatism sees all people as worthy of making it on their own. Conservatism is about preserving one’s dignity, not robbing it.

3. Liberals are pessimists by nature. The currency of liberalism is fear. It trades on the fear that something disastrous will happen unless liberals are there to stop it. Global warming, losing Social Security, banning guns; they all work from the vantage point that if liberals aren’t in charge something horrific will happen. The allure of Ronald Reagan was his positive message. He spoke of America’s greatness. He inspired pride and patriotism instead of trying to tear the country down and blame it for all of the world’s problems as many liberals do.

4. Military strength deters aggression. Peaceniks look upon our military as a war machine, and use any moment of calm as an excuse to cut its budget. It is a peace machine. Each time we fail to back our military, it emboldens those who would undermine our democracy or that of our allies.

5. Belief in God is a cornerstone of our republic. Try as the liberals may to separate them, there is no Constitutional separation of church and state, only a protection of religion from the state. Our founders believed this country was divinely inspired and it was only by remembering our religious roots that we would survive.

6. Conservatism believes in the entrepreneur. People who start companies take huge risks and they deserve everything they get if they succeed. Liberals want to punish entrepreneurs through confiscatory taxes. That’s why the IRS tells us that the top 5 percent of wage-earners pays more than 50 percent of the income tax. If you want to create jobs and, in turn, more money in the treasury, you must lower taxes on the rich and allow more people to take more chances.

7. Political correctness is the liberal version of fascism. Liberals have attempted to control the debate in America by attempting to control the language, and they’ve succeeded to some degree. There’s been no bigger muzzle on free speech than political correctness.

8. Guns are good. Liberals are quick to defend our freedom of speech, press and our right to protest but they ignore our right to bear arms, which figures prominently into our Bill of Rights. These selective constitutionalists will erode all of our constitutional rights if they succeed in being able to cherry pick them when they’re convenient.

9. Quotas are wrong. Society seems oblivious to the obvious solution to discrimination: strict enforcement of antidiscrimination laws. Making innocent people pay for the sins of previous generations runs counter to our fundamental principles and undermines race relations in our society.

10. Conservatism is still relevant today. Both Democrats and Republicans have veered from the basic philosophy of less government and more personal responsibility. Government is these to do only what the private sector won’t, can’t or shouldn’t do. That means the government shouldn’t be subsidizing professional sports or multi-million-dollar corporations any more than it should be subsidizing an able-bodied man who can work but chooses not to. Government must return to the basic conservative philosophy, as Jefferson said, “The government is best which governs least.”

Phil Valentine’s forthcoming book is “The Conservative’s Handbook: Defining the Right Position on Issues from A to Z” (Cumberland House).

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