Jan 14, 2008

Why I Am A Conservative

Before I begin, please allow me to stress that in no way do I consider myself an expert in the philosophy of the system of laws, nor do I assume that I understand and know the complete history of the United States, without error. However, I do acknowledge that I have a love for this country, the history behind it’s creation, the desires and motivations behind it’s creators, and the strongest conviction that there has never been, nor will there ever be, a nation as great as this Union of States of which we call “The United States of America.”

Someone has recently inquired as to why I am a Conservative. I am a Conservative in viewpoint because I value freedom. Let me also respond by stating, two hundred and thirty years ago, I would have proudly considered myself a Liberal. I know there are some conservatives out there shaking their heads, wondering if I have just betrayed their process of thought. Please allow me to explain by describing the motivations of two political philosophies using the definitions found at Merriam-Webster’s On-line Dictionary.

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1: the quality or state of being liberal2 aoften capitalized : a movement in modern Protestantism emphasizing intellectual liberty and the spiritual and ethical content of Christianity b: a theory in economics emphasizing individual freedom from restraint and usually based on free competition, the self-regulating market, and the gold standard c: a political philosophy based on belief in progress, the essential goodness of the human race, and the autonomy of the individual and standing for the protection of political and civil liberties dcapitalized : the principles and policies of a Liberal party

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1capitalized a: the principles and policies of a Conservative party b: the Conservative party2 a: disposition in politics to preserve what is established b: a political philosophy based on tradition and social stability, stressing established institutions, and preferring gradual development to abrupt change; specifically : such a philosophy calling for lower taxes, limited government regulation of business and investing, a strong national defense, and individual financial responsibility for personal needs (as retirement income or health-care coverage)3: the tendency to prefer an existing or traditional situation to change

As we can see, Liberalism is the state of mind by which its followers strongly hold to the ideas of “the autonomy of the individual and standing for the protection of political and civil liberties”. Conversely, Conservatism is the state of mind by which its followers strongly hold to the ideas of “a political philosophy based on tradition and social stability, stressing established institutions, and preferring gradual development to abrupt change.”

Let us begin the examination of the current conservative mindset based on a short early history of The United States.

Early colonization began as the Europeans sought to explore and exploit the resources of the New World to strengthen their respective Nation States.

In 1620, the Pilgrims, tired of the persecution they were experiencing in England, as well as being aghast at the influences the Dutch were having on their children, set out for the New World. They made landfall in December of that year.

The Pilgrims were English Separatists. In the first years of the 17th century, small numbers of English Puritans broke away from the Church of England because they felt that it had not completed the work of the Reformation. They committed themselves to a life based on the Bible. Most of these Separatists were farmers, poorly educated and without social or political standing. One of the Separatist congregations was led by William Brewster and the Rev. Richard Clifton in the village of Scrooby in Nottinghamshire. The Scrooby group emigrated to Amsterdam in 1608 to escape harassment and religious persecution. The next year they moved to Leiden, in Holland where, enjoying full religious freedom, they remained for almost 12 years. – A Brief History of the Pilgrims by Ron Collins

Through time, they became the royal province of Massachusetts becoming one colony amongst 12 others. These colonies, engaged in trade as well as social relations, soon found themselves to be “brothers” in how they were being treated by the Crown. Taxes were levied against them while denying them representation within the Legislature of England, the colonies’ local authorities were revoked and replaced with those of the king’s choosing, large bodies of troops were placed amongst the colonists during peace time (in effect limiting their freedom), and numerous other injustices were performed.

You can read the full detail of the colonist’s complaints be viewing the Declaration of Independence where an official posting can be found here.

For an in depth discussion of the political atmosphere of the time, the injustices wrought, what lead to the Revolutionary War, as well as an exhaustive study of the war itself, I suggest the great literary work entitled, “The American Revolution” by Bruce Lancaster. (1971 – American Heritage Publishing Company, ISBN 0-618-12739-9).

In response to the injustices placed upon them, the colonists formed the before mentioned Declaration of Independence which was signed by representatives of all thirteen colonies on July 4th, 1776. It begins:

“When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

Some of the complaints listed were:

      • He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
      • He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.
      • For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
      • For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:
      • For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
      • He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

For a complete listing of their complaints, please refer to the Declaration of Independence.

The people who placed their names to this document knew full well that their lives were now endangered. This was treason to the crown, and the penalty for such was death. For reference on this, please review Patrick Henry.

In 1783, the Revolutionary War was ended by the Treaty of Paris which recognized the sovereignty of the United States. A new nation was born.

The United States Constitution was then completed on September 17th, 1787 with the Bill of Rights and the then 10 Amendments added in during 1791.

Emphasizing personal freedom with limited government control, the afore mentioned documents established Federal and States’ rights as well as individual rights.

A strict set of guidelines were installed to limit total control of the government so that any one person or political body would not be absolute. This is commonly referred to as “checks and balances”. Even the President could be over-ruled or tossed from office if he was found to be abusive of his powers.

Of immense concern was the freedom of the individual states as well as its population. Because of this, the Bill of Rights was created that gave:

· Amendment I: Freedom of speech, religion, press, petition and assembly:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

· Amendment II: Right to bear arms and militia:
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

· Amendment III: Quartering of soldiers:
No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

· Amendment IV: Warrants and searches:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

· Amendment V: Individual debt and double jeopardy:
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

· Amendment VI: Speedy trial, witnesses and accusations:
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense.

· Amendment VII: Right for a jury trial:
In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

· Amendment VIII: Bail and fines:
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

· Amendment IX: Existence of other rights for the people:
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

· Amendment X: Power reserved to the states and people:
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

As a result, the United States is the only nation in the world which provides this amount of freedom. We have the right to arm ourselves, we have the right to speak our minds and offend others with our views, we have the right to have a trial by a jury of our peers, we have rights regarding how searches are performed, how many times we can be tried for a crime (if the trial does not have a hung jury), the freedom of assembly, as well as states’ rights.

The efforts of our early Liberal brethren brought great freedoms to the world. These are freedoms that I wish to preserve with all of my heart.

In the beginning, progressive liberal movements were a positive change for this nation. Through those movements, women were given the right to vote, and children could no longer be used as slave labor. Also of equal importance, equality was enforced for all regardless of their skin color.

However, those movements have changed. Instead of being a powerful force for positive change, they have turned into an equally powerful force for the limitations of personal rights.

The battle is now being waged against many of those freedoms that our Liberal forefathers fought and died for. A disease of political correctness has swept the movement.

· Where we once had the right to freedom of speech, we now must be careful concerning what we say, lest we offend someone.

· Where we once had the right to freedom of religion, we are now being pressured into freedom from religion.

· Where we once had the right to bear arms, we are now struggling to have any arms at all.

· Where States’ rights were once of great importance, those rights are now being curtailed in favor of federal rights.

When Constitutional Amendment 16 came in to play in the year 1913, giving Congress the power to tax income, we began to loose control over our finances.

People no longer rely upon themselves or their community for personal growth and support, but now demand that governments of all levels provide for us. People are screaming for universal health care, a welfare system that has been shown to only corrupt individuals and families, and enlarged and gorged government departments to regulate and control many aspects of life and liberty.

Laws are being passed left and right to curtail personal freedoms. Laws have recently been passed which limit one’s ability to smoke, curtail what type of fatty ingredients can be included in food, and also how we can even discuss normal heterosexual relationships in schools. These are just a sampling of what has been happening. Take a look sometime at our bloated government and its many tax funded programs. Spend an evening (or week, as it is required these days) to view government spending, and the wastefulness of it. Understand how it has now become fashionable to take funds from those who have much (mostly through their own personal efforts), and to re-distribute it to others.

There is a reason why the United States is the most advanced nation in the world in regards to technology and medical care. People have always been encouraged to thrive in an atmosphere of competition where the winner was allowed to collect the dividends of their efforts. This is also known as Capitalism. Our advanced medical and physical sciences are a direct result of this. Companies and individuals were encouraged to provide the best products possible because they knew they were going to be well rewarded if they succeeded. The medical students that spent numerous years specializing in all sorts of different fields knew that in the end it would be worth it because not only would they be helping society, but that they would also be financially rewarded. Companies and inventors were pushed beyond currently known limits to produce better products because they knew that the financial rewards would be great.

Yet now there is a strong movement for centralization. We are asking for the government to fund our medical needs, which will in turn directly effects not only the number of medical professionals available, but also the quality of care that the public will receive. Why spend all that time and money learning a profession or researching a product when the end result is that you will not be that much greater off then when you began? Take a close look at the socialized health care systems of Europe, Canada and Cuba for solid references on what really happens. Ask yourself why they would prefer to come to our country for advanced care?

Capitalism, once a strong and proud description of this country, has some how turned into a negative connotation for greed and evil.

View Social Security. In the past, people were encouraged to maintain strong bonds with family, and to actively work towards building their own personal retirement fund. Now we expect the government to provide this for us, freeing us from the responsibilities of caring for our own future. The end result of this mode of thinking is that numerous elderly people are not well cared for, and the tax burden on the normal American has increased ten fold. Instead of promoting values that would encourage people to be more proactive in caring for their future, we are now asked to give more and more to our government in taxes, and to rely upon the government in greater degrees for our needs.

The more we rely upon the government for our needs, every time a bill is passed that states how we should live, or prohibits something, the more we end up giving away, voluntarily, the very freedoms that we should hold dear!

Liberalism has changed from a force for personal freedoms into a force for socialism, where we now rely upon the government for what the average person, one hundred years ago, could provide. We are sacrificing personal liberties on the altar of political correctness and personal sloth.

Today’s Conservatism holds close the dear values that our Liberal forefathers fought and died for. Instead of larger governments and wasteful political funding, we would prefer personal liberties. I want the right to offend you. I want the right to bear arms to protect myself and my family. I want the right to freedom of religion. I want the States to have the right to determine their own future! Don’t you?


rorylane said...

Have you looked at what your party is up to?

All you're saying is that the right to bear arms is more important to you than freedom of speech, freedom of privacy, and the general practition of not-for-profit politics.

TroubledPatriot said...

I said I was conservative, I never said I was Republican :)