If you had to describe conservatism, how would you do it? If you had to defend it, could you in such a way that commands respect? Many resources are out there that talk about the Left, its purpose, and how they plan to radically overhaul America. Yet, how many resources have you found that give a comprehensive defense of conservatism in a way that helps you understand how to combat the Left? The fact is, conservatism is the only way forward for America.
So, let’s jump into this foundational article to offer a simple definition of conservatism. The Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution already show us the way. In my deep study of the politics of the American Revolution, I see four pillars they built America’s foundation on. They are based on the principles of Hope, Opportunity, and Happiness.
So, let’s jump in and take a look at each one and their importance to America’s future.
This term may be the most misunderstood word in modern America. Liberty doesn’t mean the absence of government. The word actually implies constraint of government. When it becomes so big and powerful it can control people’s lives unfairly or over handedly through taxes, regulations, and manipulation – it’s no longer one that ensures your liberties as defined in the Bill of Rights.
Seven of the 10 Bill of Rights tell the government what it cannot do. For example, it can’t strip you of freedom of religion, speech, assembly (i.e., protests), etc. I encourage you to click here and take a look for yourself.
The Constitution constrains government by limiting its authority through specific enumerated powers. It also does it through three co-equal branches that can place a check and balance on each other. Additionally, there’s also the principle of federalism which adds another layer of checks and balances between the states and the federal government. This is important because states are sovereign entities with their own constitutions and political structures. The founders always intended them to be the keepers of power, which is why the Tenth Amendment is so important.
For two centuries, America has been the land of hope. People came from around the world to the United States in search of a better life. America’s legacy is that anyone has the potential to be what they want if they are willing to sacrifice and work hard. A new home with a white picket fence isn’t the fulfillment of the American dream. It’s a symbol. In fact, anything important to an American can be a symbol of hope.
The beauty of our country is that you get to decide what it looks like, so long as the government doesn’t get in the way through programs that trap people and stifle their dreams.
Hope is realized in opportunity.
America is also a land of opportunity. Nowhere else in the world is it possible to build wealth quickly through innovation and/or hard work. America strives to create equal opportunity – but there is no guarantee of an equal outcome. This is a core difference between the Left and the Right. Progressives and socialists want to use the government to attain equal results. It’s called “equity.”
To accomplish the end result, it must strip people of their hopes and opportunities to make them all the same. Yet, we know that’s not possible. Socialist and communist countries have tried, and not one has ever succeeded. Someone is always opportunistic and finds a way around the system. They are often corrupt leaders living lives they would never allow their citizens to attain.
The great news is if Thomas Edison can fail 10,000 times to make a lightbulb, it only takes once to succeed wildly.
Opportunity is the outgrowth of hope.
Government, by its nature, cannot create happiness. Yet, it can incentivize it. What is happiness? Is it a “thing” we all want to feel, or is it something more? In America, you have the right to “pursue happiness.” It’s that feeling of accomplishment or attainment that you’ve lived your purpose. God has given us all talents, skills, and treasures, and we find purpose and meaning in using them. Still, it’s up to you how to discover and utilize them.
Happiness is a verb, not a noun. It’s the ongoing pursuit of living on your terms to improve your life and the lives around you.
When government interferes with these principles, the result is an erosion of liberty, hope, opportunity, and happiness. It’s an ecosystem of sorts.
This is the rallying cry of conservatism. If America wants to solve our problems, this is the framework. For the pillars to work, it requires Americans to do their part. Our way of life requires each of us to act and behave responsibly. Liberty is a gift to be treasured, but it only happens when we each take our responsibilities seriously to live it. How we live is as important as the words we choose.
So, I hope this short foundational article will help you create a framework to view the lens of government through. If you know these principles well, you can defend conservatism and perhaps even win some people over. This website will often refer to these principles to help you see them in action or through inaction.
I’m looking forward to the journey with you.
Don Purdum, Political Analyst
Copyright 2022, ConservativeEra.com