WHY CONSERVATISM?

The purpose of this site is demonstrating the virtue of constitutionally guaranteed limited government and exposing the destructive nature of big government, however well-intentioned its supporters might be. Toward that end, “Videos”, “Good Books”, and “Quotes” are a few of the pages that are currently available.

Liberty And Equality

Conservatives believe limited government and individualism is what made this country great. Those ideals seem to be disappearing more and more every day. Whether you are a liberal, progressive, libertarian, moderate or conservative, the overwhelming majority of people in this country have nothing but the best intentions for the future of this country, but I’m sorry to say, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

Conservatives share the humanitarian goals of the left regarding the equality and dignity of people everywhere. Where conservatives part ways with the left, is while the number one priority of most liberals and progressives, broadly speaking is equality, the first priority of most conservatives is the preservation of liberty. A broad statement, I know. This is not to say that liberals do no value liberty or that conservatives do not value equality. Of course both sides value both of these ideals. What it means is that each side tend to look at these two different concepts in very different ways, insofar as what they are and how they are to be best promoted, and because of that, each side prioritizes the import of these two concepts differently in their respective attempts to create a better society.

More specifically, I believe most liberals see a freedom of sorts by means of equality. For them, equality, whatever that is decided to be, must be established by means of government first by any means necessary, including sacrificing individual liberty, and that after that happens, and because of the “equality” they believe has been established, people will then enjoy freedom as a result. It’s an end justifies the means mentality. To them, freedom and liberty come from equality. Conversely, most conservatives believe real and lasting equality is better promoted when individual liberty is first established  and guaranteed in a civil society, because conservatives believe individual liberty is the breeding ground  and therefore the enabler of the most just and equal society.

In other words real equality cannot be dictated at the end of a barrel by government as effectively as many on the left believe it can.  Those who think that it can are putting the cart before the horse in these regards, in my opinion, and in the opinion of most people on the right. This of course is not to say that government should not seek equality and justice. What it simply means is we could pass a bill tomorrow that declares everything is perfect in this world and is equal…but of course that doesn’t make it so, now does it? This is what the left so often fail to see regarding government.

Most lawmakers on both ideological sides have good intentions. But to what extent are such laws creating injustices not advertised in their passing, in order to try and remedy existing injustices? And in so doing, in the tangled web that is weaved, is more justice brought, or is that tangled web of laws simply used by the powerful to cause further injustice? Conservatives believe the latter is what naturally happens when government gets too big. Conservatives believe it is the guarantee of individual liberty, accomplished by means of limiting government, that is the enabler of a more equal society, rather than simply having the illusion of it, by means of an overextended intrusive government.

This conservative prioritization, where liberty is promoted before equality, is not reached lightly, because of selfishness, or without forethought. Rather, history shows us that when a society seeks to safeguard the freedom and liberty of the individual first, above all else, it actually achieves a more expansive degree of equality and justice for all than  is found in those societies that try and place equality ahead of or before liberty. In addition, such states are also freer and more prosperous.

Too many people seeking the greater good omit individual liberty as a necessary prerequisite to a more equal society, and do not properly understand that individual liberty is the means to a more just society and must at all cost be preserved if their goals of a better society are to be realized in reality, rather than simply via some empty government promise. Individual rights and liberty are not a hindrance or barrier to the greater good. Its just the opposite. They are the means to it and must be preserved at all costs. This seemingly counter-intuitive means of governing, where you govern the least in order to expect the greatest good, is what lead the left of course to claim the right is heartless. Nothing could be further from the truth. The two sides simply disagree on the means of societal betterment.

Throughout history, anywhere on the globe where the freedom of the individual is increasingly limited by a central government, for the “greater good” of course, such places have without exception produced societies where its citizenry is worse off than those nations with more decentralized governments, where individuals have more opportunity to pursue their own interests, free of government intervention or coercion, enter North Korea, enter Cuba, enter the old Soviet Union just to name few examples. The only equality ever achieved in such systems, where liberty takes a back seat to what the government deems by fiat to constitute equality, is the equal sharing of misery.

Contrast this to freer societies that value individual liberty. The track record throughout history simply speaks for itself. Equal opportunity in a civil society is far better and more constructive than a forced equalization of results. Again, such “equality” is simply a feelgood illusion in these systems of government, which are ironically counterproductive toward their end goals they profess.

Liberty, more specifically, individual liberty, which is synonymous to individualism, is the foundation on which our nation is built, and this is why we have had one of the freest, most prosperous countries in history. If we sacrifice that liberty in our constant and necessary search of a more just society, our exceptional way of life will cease to exist. Benjamin Franklin was right when he stated that “Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety”. Giving up liberty in search of the greater good, or in search of equality may sound noble and selfless, but it really isn’t, and its had disastrous effects throughout history by anyone who has tried it.

It is not therefore heartless or selfish to promote liberty before equality, or rather of a means of attaining the highest degree of equality. It is actually essential to promoting equality and justice. Such a prioritization is essential because liberty is the single virtue from which all other virtues are derived, especially equality and justice. Even if some degree of equality could be achieved by means of sacrificing a certain degree of individual freedom for the betterment of the whole of society, and it cannot, what would that equality be worth if it were achieved by sacrificing our freedom? Unfortunately, “liberals” tend to put the cart before the horse in the way they go about trying to create a better more equal society because they make individual freedom expendable in their attempts to lift up the whole of society.

Liberty And Equality A Balancing Act

In weighing our freedoms and liberty with trying to create a more ordered and just and equal society, there are many prudent restrictions that must ultimately be placed on society, and these restrictions in fact limit our freedoms. Such government is absolutely necessary. However, it’s not hard to see that those places that aspire above all else, in  the first place, at the expense of personal liberty, to attain equality and uniformity among their people, many of whom bare a name indicative of the equality they seek, that such places are unequivocally and ironically the least free places in the world.

The reason for this is despite their best intentions, centralized governments overly-constrict their peoples ability to pursue their own separate interests and live out their own separate lives as they see best. People know what they want and how they should live after all…how they are to live the best most fulfilled lives they can, better than other people, and better than government. Because of that, the strongest and most lasting forms of government are those that left their people govern themselves. In other words, despite the good intentions, it is inevitable that as government grows, freedom generally shrinks. To conservatives, allowing people to pursue their own interests is not selfish, it is the promotion of liberty, which in effect ultimately elevates all people.

The end result of an overly-inflated government is that quite often, the more good the government tries to do, the more freedoms there are that are taken away, and the possibility of the just society such big-government advocates seek becomes a moot point altogether.

Friedrich Hayek couldn’t have summed up this big-government-minded lack of concern for sanctity of the individual and individual freedom better when he wrote, “Collectivism has no room for the wide humanitarianism of liberalism”. “Liberalism”, as used in this quote, refers to how liberalism was originally understood, namely, an ideal that promoted freedom from the centralized monarchical governments of the day. It was an ideal that promoted the individual, not the state. It advocated for free trade, limited government, and private property, among other things, in contrast to submission to the state. “Liberals” today are simply not liberal. They purport to be for the individual and for individual freedom, but they do so by means of the state and do not understand the irony, the inherent conflict, and the irrationality of such a belief.

Limited Individual Liberty Means Limited Prosperity, For All

The destructive nature of centralized government doesn’t end at limiting individual freedom. Centralized governments that attempt to social-engineer their population must do so economically, and in that attempt produce not only the least free countries in the world, but also the poorest countries in the world because they simply are not as efficient as their free market counterparts. As much as many people may have an impulse for the type of kingly government whereby decisions are made swiftly and carried out promptly in a uniform manner over every citizen by a central authority economically, such governments simply do not hold a candle to the creative powers that are unleashed when a people have the power to govern themselves individually according to their own particular circumstances in a freedom-guaranteeing constitutional republic.

Top down, one size fits all bureaucracy just isn’t efficient. Truly free markets work and freedom works, and without them, people are much worse off, not only on a personal level, but also economically, again, despite the good intentions for those advocating for such centralization.

Accordingly, Hilaire Belloc wrote, “The control of the production of wealth is the control of human life itself.” Friedrich Hayek also stated this fact succinctly when he wrote, “Economic control is not merely control of a sector of human life which can be separated from the rest; it is the control of the means for all our ends.” It’s not an accident that countries with more centralized governments are both less free and less financially well off compared to their more decentralized counterparts. Simply put, when a government has enough power to mold and shape the financial status of its citizens into whatever it deems appropriate, nothing less than a total loss of freedom has occurred. Promoting any type of government that substantially infringes on the peoples right to the fruits of their respective labors, despite the humanitarian aim, erodes liberty as a whole.

Where conservatives differ from liberals therefore are in the means to a better, freer, more equal society, and not in their respective humanitarian goals, despite the incessant accusations from the left to the contrary. As alluded to above, progressivism unfortunately tends to put the cart before the horse in treating the symptoms rather than the illnesses of society. By means of limited government conservatism is what ultimately promotes liberty, and it is by means of limited government that conservatism is what ultimately promotes prosperity, even though conservatisms belief in a purposeful lack of government centralization may seem counter-intuitive to many on the left.

It is this country’s historic belief in private property and in the sovereign citizens right to decide how best he or she should dispense it that is what has created the unique initiative, the creativity, and the prosperity this country has enjoyed for hundreds of years. These are necessary components of individualism, which are not selfish, but are the very pretexts of freedom. The ordered liberty and freedom that flow from limited government is not the heartless anarchy the left today would have people believe.

Individualism/Limited Government Has Always Been The Solution

Safeguarding the helpless in our society and believing in the sovereignty of the individual and acknowledging the pitfalls of big government does not induce the creation of mutually exclusive realities as many on the left would have us believe. Conservatives believe both in freedom and in a safety net for the less fortunate among us, and they aim to produce both in a proportion whereby the over-extension of one does not end up destroying the other. This is what limited government is really all about, namely, a balance.

Believing in limited government doesn’t mean conservatives don’t believe in having a government that safeguards those people who can’t help themselves. It does however mean that conservatives don’t believe in supporting a government that has so much power as to be able to mold and control peoples economic future from the top down though taxation and regulation, thereby destroying individual freedom, which is all too often accomplished under the guise of offering a helping hand to people who truly need it.

The Misguided Goals Of The Left

The over-extension of the government, especially the federal government, must be guarded against constantly. Even if the means of production are not technically owned by the state in our system, as they are in socialist systems for example, through common means like taxation and regulation, the same attempt to put our various means of production under the effective control of a big, centralized government ultimately exists in both of these collectivist systems of governing, and they are equally damaging. This being the case, the difference between socialism and American liberalism is therefore nonexistent in their ultimate effect. They are one in the same as pertain to their inherently destructive natures which have at their core the centralization of government power. This is the reason why conservatives so often label many progressives as socialists, and it is why progressivism, with its ultimate goal of expanding government power is so destructive to freedom.

In the end therefore, the goals of the left are good, but not the means by which they must necessarily attain those goals, which is a loss of individual freedom as well as an eventual loss of economy. Elie Halevy said, “The socialists believe in two things which are absolutely different and perhaps even contradictory: freedom and organization.” Freedom and organization are both necessary components of any successful government, but only if properly balanced with each other, which is what the American system of government has succeeded in doing for the last two hundred years. Governments have a tendency to grow out of control, and unfortunately, too many people have a propensity toward kingly government; toward big government.

We Have A System Of Checks And Balances To Guard Against Government Excess

Conservatives have a different vision. I believe the founders of this country had a different vision than many on the left today. It’s a vision that limits government, as the constitution guarantees.

Ronald Reagan famously said, “Government isn’t the solution to our problems, government is the problem”. Thomas Paine also recognized this when he said, “Government even in its best state is but a necessary evil.” Most of the founders of our current governmental system had similar feelings about government, and it’s why they structured our system of government the way they did, as a system of checks and balances.  The purpose of these checks and balances was to purposefully set one power against another to keep them in check so that power would not be consolidated too much by any one agency of government, thereby creating an environment which would enable individual freedom to thrive. The men who believed this weren’t heartless and they weren’t anarchists. They understood that government is “necessary”, but they also knew it must be limited if people are to truly be free.

Most liberals today however look at government in a completely different way than did most of the founders of our present form of government; a form of government that has largely been the envy of the free world for the last few hundred years. Liberals today see a big, centralized government as the ultimate solution to mankinds desperate plot. They see a centralized consolidated government as the means that will eventually bring about the ideal society, rather then seeing big government as a hindrance to a free society, which is what the founders of this country knew big government to intrinsically be.

Liberals today, and in years past, see the conservative belief in limited, local self-government and states rights as nothing other than a false novelty; an ideal the founders never really had in mind, which was proven by their formation of the constitution, an action which was an acknowledgement by the founders, as they see it, that we in fact need strong central government. Such a fairy-tale might seem plausible, if you were completely ignorant of how the constitution actually came to be.

Contrary to liberal revisionism, it was James Madison, a federalist and an advocate for the constitution, and therefore greater government involvement, affectionately known as the “father of the constitution”, who said in Federalist 45, ” The powers delegated by the proposed constitution to the federal government are FEW AND DEFINED. Those which are to remain in the state governments are NUMEROUS AND INFINITE.” The founders of this country were almost unanimous in their support of limited, local government, Federalists and Anti-federalists alike. Unfortunately, there is an attempt to rewrite history and to confuse the founders beliefs and the constitutions true meaning so as to change the entire power structure of the United States to one of unlimited federal power.

Conservatives agree with America’s founding fathers in their belief in limited self rule and know that despite the best of intentions, as government grows, freedom generally decreases. This eternal question continues to perpetuate itself, as Ronald Reagan put it, “Whether we believe in our capacity for self-government, or whether we abandon the American Revolution and confess that a little intellectual elite in a far distant capital can plan our lives for us better than we can plan them ourselves.”

In Conclusion

All of the above reasons are the real reasons conservatives believe in limiting the size, scope, and function of government, namely, because doing so is necessary to preserving individual freedom, liberty and prosperity, which in turn have ultimately promoted the best form of society thus far known to man.

Too many people don’t know the unintended effects of “big-government”. It is my goal therefore to expose the dangers of the kind of modern progressivism that promotes this ideology, however well-intentioned the people advocating for it might be, and bring attention to the real nature of these differing methods of government. I call on freedom-loving Americans everywhere to go against the current counterrevolutionary progressive trend and join me in the truly novel revolutionary idea of individualism so that we can continue to enjoy the effects of what has for over 200 years been the American way of life.

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