Why Republicans Are Conservative: A True View from a Non-Liberal!

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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30 thoughts on “Why Republicans Are Conservative: A True View from a Non-Liberal!

  1. AC,

    To address your point about property—are you serious? Just taking whatever car you need? So, how will the true owners know where to retrieve their vehicles? Wouldn’t that be inconvenient? I suppose nobody should carry important items they may need right away? What about the buyer who paid big bucks for a Mercedes? Don’t you think their cars might be the first to be “borrowed?” Most people have car payments, and I’m sure they’d rather enjoy what they are paying for, rather than making due with what happens to be on the street. Or would everyone pay the same price (and thereby eliminate free markets)?

  2. I am curious, if this was a realistic measure of integrity or a jab at economy and mini vans, I think we would all end up in car pool, as the teenagers would be entitled to our ware as well. And who is going to work out the kinks of when and how the cars are cleaned, without a futuristic approach you may end up with Suzie Homemakers apple pie fragrance and she may end up with your new car smell…

    Melissa Lake

  3. AC

    We know as conservatives human society being complex, remedies cannot be simple if we they to be effective. We are conservatives because we understand the true meaning of liberty and that liberty requires order… Edmund Burke wrote that… We understand that there are roots of the American order that require persistent protection, they require a vigilant and diligent effort to educate rising generations about human nature and human experience…

  4. Dennis, that’s a lot of crap. Never mind that the phrase “liberty requires order” is wholly oxymoronic, your view that “conservatives…understand the true meaning of liberty” only demonstrates the utter closed-mindedness that has gripped the right wing. And, ironically enough, it smacks of the very elitism that so-called conservatives are constantly accusing the left of.

  5. Melissa — lol…your vision is more optimistic than mine. I figure that under A.C.’s free ride plan, everyone would just start buying Pintos.

  6. “Jane, you ignorant slut!” . . . I guess that’s what your argument is? How does a rational human come up with picking any car up off the street? Do you really believe things or are you enciting us to believe these things are possibilities? And if you do believe these things, what are you smoking and where can I get it?

  7. What I’m getting from what some people, based on the comments, is that liberals really don’t understand and/or want to understand. What I think Dennis (by quoting Edmund Burke) is saying is we know what liberty is, and it has to have some kind of order in order to work at the optimum level.

    Really quickly, my idea for the cars is only a voluntary thing, sort of like how people belong to an association. So the association would take care of maintaining and keeping track of them. Again, voluntary only. Many families already do this, letting the kids use the car and so forth. Why can’t we expand this to a community family someday? This is another way to expand thinking…that many liberals seem to lack.

  8. No, A.C., what liberals and non-liberals alike lack is mind reading abilities. It simply isn’t reasonable for you to think that someone would read the last paragraph of your post and think, “Ah yes, he must be talking about voluntary associations.” Don’t blame the commenters and liberals generally for your own failure to articulate your point.

    As for the quoting of Burke, so what? It’s all bones, no meat. Maybe I’ve misunderstood the purpose of this site. I thought it was about the fleshing out of ideas in search for common ground or, at least, to grant readers a more enlightened view about the points of societal disagreement and a chance to challenge their own assumptions. That’s a laudable goal, but it’s an unattainable one so long as gratuitous insults and unexplained ideas and principles masquerade as discourse.

  9. AC

    Liberals only care about change without order. For them, the world is all about inevitable change, as if change is a virtue in and of itself. Conservatives think otherwise. Conservatism is the patient study of human nature and human experience and human history is how we begin to reasonably unfold our future and the past is prologue… As for Cady calm down…

  10. As a defense of conservativism, this leaves much to be desired. The author cites his own personal definition, then expands on it in such a manner as to suggest that it is useless not just to non-Christians, but to anyone who holds religious legalism in low esteem. He then proceeds to derogate the idea of private property in a manner so far divorced from reality that it leaves even his loyal opponent scratching his head. So I think, Mr. Smith, that you would do well to go back to the drawing board.

    Moving on to Mr. Hulbert, who says, “[R]emedies cannot be simple if we they to be effective”, I say baloney. For example, massive government programs to deal with the various repercussions of extramarital sex like STD’s and poverty are only necessary because so many people aren’t interested in the simplest solution there is, which is to refrain from extramarital sex.

  11. ‘the phrase “liberty requires order” is wholly oxymoronic’

    On the contrary, all one need do is think about how much freedom one has to raise children properly in a war zone to see that it’s self-evidently true on a material level. Beyond that it’s also true on a metaphysical level, since if you are constantly overreacting to every success and every misfortune, you cannot but end up in bondage – which is why John Adams avowed that the Constitution was fit only for the governance of a religious and moral people.

  12. Are we to assume that if there is a lack of order, there is only chaos? Of course, we need some type of structure to adhere to, if only a loose one. The problem is when certain groups of people determine the best order for everyone, according to their preferred rules. I believe you can have a various range of options, and still function as a society. For a concrete example, let me cite same-sex marriage. To allow it would not lead us to the downfall of our civilization. It would just be another rule that a relatively small percentage of society could follow, and yet the overall structure of society is still maintained.

  13. I can see your point, this is kinda like making everything a goverment assistant program {GAP}need it or not, you will recieve this quota of man and your wife will rec’ the dirty bag lady with a pinto, so I will take your Jag and trade you, you will rec’ a VW Rabbit very shady condition. 2 children in middle school and one getting ready to graduate from High School. Your income is, your lifestyle is, you may have a sling shot, hand over all your goods to go into the pool of GAP. Oh I almost forgot, here is your religeon, her religeon and 10 bucks for dinner, lets do this thing called life people. ACTION……

  14. yguy

    Any type of massive government program are not simple or effective I say baloney… The more that individuals, families and businesses are dependent on the government for the goods necessary to sustain and advance themselves, the less autonomy they will have from the government and others who may wish to unjustly restrict their freedom… This is why expanding the welfare state is bad…Big Government Dependency is the Seed of Tyranny..

  15. Jamie

    You use same-sex marriage for example of order in society that truly is a liberal mind… The marriage of one man and one woman is the natural foundation of all human society, and the means by which children ought to be brought into the world and taught the basic values of our civilization… Government has a duty to recognize and protect the family and must not grant alternative relationships the same status and privileges…

  16. Wait just a minute here. Are you saying that the government should stay out of our lives, unless it’s something that you don’t want? And in that case, you want it to stand firm in the middle to make sure that certain groups are restricted from freedom? A patient study of human nature and human experience should plainly tell us that we’ll be just fine if we extend basic liberties to a few more people.

  17. yguy, I’m curious (and I ask this sincerely), just what program are you referring to that is directed at adulterers? And I must say that your solution is an easy one for the cheater, but what about the faithful spouse who contracts an STD from the cheater? And I agree with the head-scratching quality of the post. I’m a liberal and found the free availability of cars way, way to the left of anything I believe in. Like most of us on the left, I rather like the protection of private property that is embedded in American culture, not just of tangible things but also the creations that spring from our imagination and curiosity.

    Dennis, your assumption that government programs necessarily breed dependence is not correct. Sadly, in our modern discourse, no one bothers to look at the ripple effects of various programs. Unemployment insurance is a good example because it allows a person who lost a job through no fault of his or her own to keep up on bills and continue to participate in economic activity. Without this, bankruptcies would increase, shifting the cost of the lost job onto creditors, some of which may be imperiled by the losses. Similarly, government grants and subsidized loans can be the means by which a young person with the intelligence, but not the means, to realize his or her full potential, which leads to greater participation in economic activity to the benefit of providers of goods and services. There are any number of other examples (including the protection of private property) but the point is that we need to stop with the dichotomous view of “the government” and look at whether any particular program works as an investment that furthers individual liberty and, as a consequence, confers a benefit to society at large.

  18. Cady why would I think that I would be correct about anything… Dependency on government is increasing at both ends of Americans lives… Older folks, of course, rely on entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare… These programs alone account for more than half of all non-interest federal spending today. And they’re growing.In just 20 years, entitlements are expected to account for such nearly 65 percent of non-interest spending… It’s a simple fact that every day 10,000 baby boomers will retire and begin to collect benefits…By 2028, some 80 million boomers will depend on the generosity of Washington… Many of these people, of course, are middle- or upper-class citizens, who could easily afford to fund their own retirement… Yet even those who would prefer to opt out of Medicare and pay their own health insurance bills are forbidden by law do so…Meanwhile, younger Americans are relying ever more heavily on federal aid for education…Last year the federal government spent $71.7 billion on elementary and secondary education programs, almost 10 percent of total education spending… That makes a federal case out of what should be a local government responsibility… Lawmakers also meddle with higher education… Federal spending on educational subsidies for college loans has risen by 108 percent since 2001… Since 1999, higher education aid has increased eleven-fold…Now we should talk about how effective or ineffective all entitlement programs are…Do you think there might be some waste there???

  19. Jamie stop with the same-sex marriage stuff…The word is marriage…The marriage of one man and one woman is the natural foundation of all human society…But think about this
    If a conservative is homosexual, he’ll quietly enjoy his life…
    If a liberal is homosexual, he’ll demand everyone get involved in his activities…

  20. Dennis

    I know we are on a tangent from the article with the discussion about marriage, but there’s some relevance since the notion of two people of the same gender being “married” is categorically rejected within the conservative platform. As such, it merits this discussion. Making it simple, let’s say you have two people. You said if a conservative is gay, he will quietly enjoy his (or her) life. You don’t believe that the indvidual will not be conflicted, or won’t be resentful of not having the same rights as straight people when it comes to haing their union legally recognized? I’m not seeing where the enjoyment comes in. As for the second person, the liberal, he just wants equality as well based on many interviews and conversations I’ve participated in. He’s not looking to take over schools and churches. So both people want the same thing…it’s just that one’s willing to admit it, while the other hides and lives a life of hypocrisy.

  21. Dennis, I prepared a nice response to your comment but that damn captcha code didn’t work and it disappeared. I’ll try again later, but for now I have to get ready for work.

  22. Dennis, to answer your last question, of course there might be some waste. I gather from your post that you think some of that waste comes from affording Social Security and Medicare to even high-income people who, as you say, could fund their own retirement. When it comes to the wealthy, you have a point. I certainly don’t see Lloyd Blankfein needing my help in his golden years. But, oddly enough, one reason these programs have remained popular is because they’re available across the board. That said, the pool of seniors who could self-fund, especially when it comes to healthcare, is very small because individual policies for seniors are extremely expensive, as are many of the ailments that afflict seniors, some of which would go uncovered if the ailment began before retirement. (Someone like Dick Cheney is a good example because he’s had problems with his heart since he was 37. And, no, I don’t use this example because he’s a republican, but because he’s in the news.) Most seniors, therefore, constitute a demographic that the private market can’t effectively serve. The question then becomes one of whether we will invest in this demographic or leave them to their own devices and we can only answer the question after examining the consequences of each choice.

  23. Cady you, Jamie and I will never see eye to eye on anything Political…You and Jamie want big government in your life…I want to be self-reliance/self-determination…I think big government has always been antithetical to the values and traditions of American society…So I will live my life as a conservatives with Ten Principles… And the political party close to my values and traditions will get my vote…I will end this conversation with you and Jamie by saying….
    Big government, the less control you have over your own life and health…
    Big government, the less of your earned income you get to keep and do with what you deem fit…
    Big government, the less choice you have in how to educate your children…
    Big government, the less choice you have over what you eat, what you drive, and even what you say…

  24. “Are we to assume that if there is a lack of order, there is only chaos?”

    We need not assume what we know to be true.

    “Of course, we need some type of structure to adhere to, if only a loose one. The problem is when certain groups of people determine the best order for everyone, according to their preferred rules.”

    Like the Obama administration is doing, you mean?

    “I believe you can have a various range of options, and still function as a society. For a concrete example, let me cite same-sex marriage. To allow it would not lead us to the downfall of our civilization.”

    Not before the month is over, no. Neither did no fault divorce; but the corrosive influence of both may already have already caused irreversible damage to the country.

    “It would just be another rule that a relatively small percentage of society could follow,”

    ‘Homosexual marriage’ isn’t about homosexuals imposing a rule on themselves, it’s about them imposing their twisted sense of morality on the rest of society.

    “and yet the overall structure of society is still maintained.”

    The overall structure of the Titanic was maintained for some time after it hit the iceberg, so that it was some time before it was generally known to all on board that the ship was sinking.

  25. “yguy, I’m curious (and I ask this sincerely), just what program are you referring to that is directed at adulterers?”

    I said there are programs directed at the *effects* of extramarital sex, not at adulterers. Extramarital sex includes all sex out of wedlock, not just adultery; and its negative effects are legion.

    “And I must say that your solution is an easy one for the cheater, but what about the faithful spouse who contracts an STD from the cheater?”

    Once there’s a cheater, my solution has already been abandoned. That said, the innocent spouse can mitigate present and future damages by refraining from responding to the temptation to act as despicably as the adulterer did.

  26. If you believe in the Bible and want to follow it, then you don’t have sex unless you’re married. If you don’t want to follow the Bible teachings, I guess you’ll do whatever you want to. But for me, I need to be married because I try to live my life according to the Bible.

  27. A.C., because I believe first and foremost in the First Amendment, I respect and will defend your right not just to your beliefs, but in your personal expression of them. I do object, however, when others refuse to do likewise and attempt to force their religious beliefs on others, myself included, or to blame us for bringing ruin to civilization as we know it. The great immorality of our time lies not in whether some single nobody like me has sex but in the indifference to human suffering displayed over and over again by those who hold and profit from their power over all of us. I am certain that historians will look back at what we call “now” and wonder how we came to think that the fight was left versus right rather than top versus bottom.

  28. “The great immorality of our time lies not in whether some single nobody like me has sex but in the indifference to human suffering…”

    What you’re forgetting is that small evils inevitably lead to big ones. The kids who made fun of Stalin as a boy likely harbored no ambitions of holding Russia in thrall, and Hitler’s violent father wasn’t about to start herding millions of Jews into gas chambers any time soon. Neither will most men who have their selfishness nurtured by a promiscuous woman become Clinton-caliber sociopaths; but every man comes away from an illicit sexual encounter spiritually impoverished to some degree, and thus will be eventually be found wanting should he ever become a father, and end up nurturing the selfishness in his children by default.

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