By AC Smith
It’s funny how conservatives are always being told who they are and what they believe by liberals. For example, Cady Stanton wrote an article about why republicans are not conservative that was previously posted here on Waves of Gray.
We recently received an email that contained Ten Conservative Principles by Russell Kirk. I would like to provide my own views and definitions in response. You can consider what follows to be the truth from a real conservative.
First, I must tell you my personal definition of conservatism for me, and me alone. Conservatism to me means the preservation of God’s word.
As for Kirk’s list, I agree with most of it. However, I need to qualify some of the items on it.
Let’s start with the second and third principles. The second states “the conservative adheres to custom, convention, and continuity.” The third is “conservatives believe in what may be called the principle of prescription.”
Many conservatives are taught for many years to practice Good Friday and Sunrise Sunday for Easter. Once I found out that we are not really practicing the Word of God properly, I immediately stop telling my children and other people that Jesus arose on Sunday morning and died on Friday. When counting back from the Sunday resurrection before sunrise, one day back would be Saturday morning and two days back would be Friday morning. We are missing a day and our practices, though sincere, is incorrect. In this instance, if I am standing on what I call my true conservative principles, I will correct this immediately and not consider what the previous generations told me. If the definition of #2 and #3 allows me to make that immediate change then I can accept the definition.
The sixth principle states “conservatives are chastened by their principle of imperfectability.” The author of the email further quotes Kirk with “all that we reasonably can expect is a tolerably ordered, just, and free society…” I would drop the world tolerably in my definition. I will always want to work towards God’s best, knowing we are human and may fall short at times.
The seventh principle is “conservatives are persuaded that freedom and property are closely linked.” The eight states “conservatives uphold voluntary community, quite as they oppose involuntary collectivism.”
In #7, I can think way out of the box, but I realize at this time, taking into account the maturity of our people, we cannot go where I would like to go with property.
Imagine this. We would not need a lot of our properties if we actually had things available for us if we need them. I know this is tremendously radical but imagine if we need to go to work or to the grocery store and we just got into any car available on the street and used it. If we were a mature and selfless society, everyone would have more freedom and not less. In that crazy and out of the box thinking, we actually can obtain more freedoms without some of our own property. One day you may drive a Mercedes and the next a Jaguar. Of course, this would only be done by the will of the people and I just wanted to try to poke a possible hole in the freedom and property link. Then again, one may argue that the property does still belong to a community and it would be done under the rules of #8. I guess I see a point in #7 as being correct, but now with all the bailouts, it is putting doubt into the responsibility and integrity point of it.
So, yes, I do think these principles are the best I’ve ever seen when talking about true conservatism with my notes taken into consideration/clarification.
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