What Does it Mean to be a Conservative?

We are not united today as equally indistinct cogs in a political machine. We will not ask one another to abandon principles and convictions for sake of a supposed “common good”. Each of us work together on some issues and have the freedom to disagree on other issues. We do not assume or require agreement when it comes to specific policy proposals or the election of particular candidates, which are decisions best left to each individual either to support or not as seems prudent to them.

That being said, we do not take either the name Conservative or Patriot without sound reason. We are proud in saying that Conservative is not a vague or fuzzy concept, despite the attempts of some to make it so.  It is not an amorphous idea meant to cast a net wide enough to include nearly everyone, despite fundamental disagreements on the proper role of government in these United States. In the words of Frederick Douglass:

“What, then, is the Constitution? I will tell you. It is no vague, indefinite, floating, unsubstantial, ideal something, colored according to any man’s fancy, now a weasel, now a whale, and now nothing. . . . The American Constitution is a written instrument full and complete in itself. No Court in America, no Congress, no President, can add a single word thereto, or take a single word therefrom. It is a great national enactment done by the people, and can only be altered, amended, or added to by the people.”—Frederick Douglass, Glasgow, Scotland, March 26, 1860

As our Constitution is a tangible document, attesting to the legitimate actions of both common citizens and their fellow citizens temporarily serving as representatives in the halls of government, it is something we can and will defend. So, too, we offer the following tangible statement of core principles we hold in common. As these reflect principles and values that are fundamental to our way of life, we will defend these, both at the ballot box and in our daily lives.

Ten Principles of Conservatism
Being Conservative is a way of understanding life, society, and governance:

1.   Conservatives believe in the written Rule of Law as expressed in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights by the founding fathers and reject the idea of a living Constitution.

2.   Conservatives believe that government is best which governs least.

3.   Conservatives believe in the individual right to life, liberty, and property.

4.   Conservatives believe in the sanctity of the individual from conception, that families are the basic units of society, and that anti-family policies should be ended.

5.   Conservatives believe our freedoms and rights are God-given natural rights, not given by the government.

6.   Conservatives have compassion for the poor and oppose policies, such as socialism, that cause or extend poverty.

7.   Conservatives believe in free and fair trade of goods and services.

8.   Conservatives believe in a strong military and have a great respect for those who have put their lives in peril to protect others.

9.   Conservatives believe in public policy that encourages advancement based solely on ability and achievement.

10.  Conservatives believe English should be the common language for the United States.

Source: Thanks to Alaska Conservative Patriots Group for publishing these as core principles that both their members and the members of other groups may rally around.

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4 Responses to What Does it Mean to be a Conservative?

  1. Jerad says:

    I think the goal of this site is very admirable. But there are a couple of things I take issue with.

    1) The Founding Fathers didn’t like a “strong military”. Article 1, Section 8 (on the congress) contains “… To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;

    To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;

    To provide and maintain a Navy;

    To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;

    To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;

    To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress; …”
    If a “strong military” means a standing army, I don’t think that is what is allowed in the constitution due to the Founding Fathers beliefs in only defensive wars, following the Biblical Just War Theory. The funding of national armies was limited to two years. The Navy funding was long term due to the defensive nature it was supposed to maintain.

    2) Conservative is such a relative term to use, a Russian conservative could be a communist while a Russian liberal could be a freedom-loving Christan.
    I would contend that anchoring oneself to Christan political principles rooted in the Bible is a much better foundation.

    Check out Dr. Paul Jehle’s lectures on the Constitution for information on the Law of Nations and the Constitution. Not other nations’ laws, but Biblical Law on the conduct of Christan Nations. He also teaches on the proper interpretation of the Constitution.

  2. jimmiehopper says:

    Your concerns are most welcome. By conservative we mean of course more than a relative term, as this article illustrates. The mutual goals we share are based on a similar view of life, society, and government. That view is fully within the time and era in which we live, while deeply rooted in the heritage passed on to us by our Founding Fathers. One need not do away with the two year constitutional limitation on military appropriations in order to support possessing a strong military.

    Neither must one immediately abolish the Air Force because it is not specifically authorized in the Constitution. Were George Washington again Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, one may strongly suspect he would deem any American in favor of abolishing the Air Force to be guilty of an offense against the ability of each of us to defend one another against foreign incursions or foreign attacks against our citizens abroad (as is referenced in the Marine Corps song).

    In 1805 it was President Thomas Jefferson who ordered Lieutenant Presley O’Bannon and his Marines to march across 600 miles of Libyan Desert and then storm the fortified Tripolitan city of Derna, and in so doing rescue the kidnapped crew of the USS Philadelphia.

    We strongly favor a military that is prepared to respond immediately to just such situations, be they against pirates or any other foe. The fact that such a military can be misused against both foreign nations and American citizens is never to be ignored, but neither is it a reason to presume our Founders would advocate a weak military were they responsible for the leadership of our country today.

  3. Jerad says:

    I agree with your assessment of the constitutionality of the Air Force and the proper role of the military. My main concern is how one might envision a strong military. I agree with you that the war with the Barbary Pirates was completely justified and constitutional. I am simply concerned that the various foreign military bases that we posses, are not what the founding fathers would have allowed. I am more in agreement with George Washington’s desires that we remain out of the affairs of foreign hemispheres unless clearly provoked such as in the case of the Barbary Pirates.

  4. Jerad says:

    After further reading, I think that #4 might need to be reworded, as it used the term “sanctity.”
    This should be thought through carefully. Here is an excerpt from a very good article on why the phrase “Sanctity of Life” shouldn’t be used by Christians.

    “To refer to the sanctity of life implies that the state of holiness or sacredness is intrinsic to life itself. It places the moral value in the creature rather than the Creator. It may presuppose that a moral value was given to life by God, but its argument comes from the nature of life itself, not from God. The plea for the sanctity of life is a biological, man-centered view, not a moral, God-centered one. If we say there is sanctity to life, we will be confronted with problems.

    First, if we hold a sanctity in life, capital punishment is necessarily a profane act. If our moral argument rests in a quality that is intrinsic to life, all life must be preserved. Our moral imperative is then a man and his life. This is a humanistic reasoning.

    Our moral argument must rest on God, not on life itself. As the creator of life, God is its Lord and lawgiver. He sets the parameters of living, of life and death. One such parameter is clearly the death penalty for murder, among other offenses. When God twice says, “The murderer shall surely be put to death” (Num. 35:16–17), we dare not call such a forfeited life holy or sacred. It is, in fact, a profane life.”

    The complete (yet short) article may be found here: http://www.chalcedon.edu/articles/article.php?ArticleID=57

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