Monday, May 4, 2009


I am a Conservative.

When I was in college I hated labels.

I still don't like them very much, but I don't know how else to express my beliefs in a word that others can understand.

It is counter-productive to run through my belief sets every time I introduce myself and try to explain where I stand politically without some kind of label.

Do not misunderstand. I am NOT apologizing for being a conservative, only for having to use a label to describe myself.

Here's the thing: I hold a certain set of values that I believe constitute what a reasonable, thoughtful American who has a sense of history, economics, and social justice should subscribe to.

Having read many of the works of:

George Washington, who wrote: "Observe good faith and justice towards all nations. Cultivate peace and harmony with all. Religion and morality enjoin this conduct. And can it be that good policy does not equally enjoin it? It will be worthy of a free, enlightened, and at no distant period a great nation to give to mankind the magnanimous and too novel example of a people always guided by an exalted justice and benevolence."

John Adams, who said, "It is religion and morality alone which can establish the principles upon which freedom can securely stand. The only foundation of a free constitution is pure virtue."

Thomas Jefferson, when establishing the University of Virginia: "In conformity with the principles of our constitution which places all sects [denominations] of religion on an equal footing – with the jealousies of the different sects in guarding that equality from encroachment and surprise, and with the sentiments of the legislature in favor of freedom of religion manifested on former occasions [as in the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom]..."

Benjamin Franklin, responding to the writings of Thomas Paine, wrote: " strike at the foundations of all religion. For without the belief of a Providence, that takes cognizance of, guards, and guides, and may favor particular persons, there is no motive to worship a Deity, to fear his displeasure, or to pray for his protection."

I believe that our forefathers had a strong belief in God and in Jesus Christ in particular, and set out to establish a country where His influence would be part-and-parcel of its governance.

I am unashamedly Christian, believing that all men are sinners, that there is a penalty for sin that was paid at the cross of Calvary by my Savior, Jesus, Christ.

With regard to economics, I believe that the federal government should live within its means, spend less than it takes in and should be as small as possible. Furthermore, I believe that taxes, while a necessary evil, must not infringe upon the citizens' ability to live bountifully.

In terms of justice, I think that it must be equally applied to all citizens, be as swift as is prudent and must never exalt one category of people above another for any reason.

The term I use to describe those (and other beliefs that I hold) is "Conservative."

Now as I turn to the realm of politics, I must ask the question: Who will most nearly represent my beliefs in Washington D.C.? Will it be the Democrats or the Republicans?

My answer today is: neither.

The Party that used to represent my beliefs was the Republican Party.

But it has turned its back on me and on others who believe as I believe with regard to government.

Arlen Specter certainly didn't. That's why I do not weep over his defection.

Senator Olympia Snowe doesn't. She recently wailed, “You haven't certainly heard warm encouraging words about how [the GOP] views moderates.” She was really referring to the Conservative "wing" of the Republican Party.

She went on to say, “I happened to win with 74 percent of the vote in a blue-collar state, but no one asked me, 'How did you do it?' Seems to me that would have been the first question that would have come from the Republican Party to find out so we could avoid further losses."

Trouble is, we already know how she did it. She did it by appealing to those in Maine who do not hold Conservative views.

Then there's Sen. Lindsay Graham.

"I don't want to be a member of the Club for Growth,” said Graham. “I want to be a member of a vibrant national Republican party that can attract people from all corners of the country — and we can govern the country from a center-right perspective.

“As Republicans, we got a problem,” he said.

Yes, but I don't want to be represented by folks who don't subscribe to the things I believe in.

If you're just going to adopt the policies and practices of the Democrats, why pretend to be a Republican? Indeed, why have two Parties at all?

Specific issues that are important to me include: no government bail-outs; low taxes; small government; freedom of religion (not freedom from religion); a well balanced justice system; having the strongest military in the universe; the right to life; individual responsibility and freedom; a balanced budget; no deficit spending; fair and honest trade with other nations; no dependence on foreign oil; not rushing to produce cars people don't want that won't lessen their environmental impact anyway; real, honest earth science and so-forth and so-on.

These are issues I think of when I think of the word, "Conservative."

So the question remains:


BTW: Thanks to Ration Al for pointing out my spelling error.


snaggletoothie said...

I don't think there is a single conservative leader in the US. But we are not that much in need of one since our strength will always come from principles.
And we are going to have to go through a long shaking out period as the Republican party decides what it wants to be and if it will continue to sell out so that pack of self seeking nonentities in congress can have power. Hopefully they won't continue to prop up all the congressmen who are more loyal to K Street than their constituents. If they go with the congressmen they will get few votes from me. The Democrats have already shown that they are owned by Soros,Inc and Blago, Inc. So they are pretty much out of contention for my vote.

sue said...

Joe - I think this is one of your best posts, especially the part about not liking labels. Because I have labeled myself as a liberal, I have to cringe when I read Conservative blogs that deride everyone who is liberal.

I have read things to the contrary about Jefferson and Adams pertaining to their views of religion - especially Jesus.

I can understand how you feel about not being represented.
I never feel that the president - whomever he is - completely represents me and it is a helpful feeling.

TAO said...

Ah, Labels...they work against you and they work for you. Look at how frustrated you get with me because you cannot figure out if I should be labelled "liberal-conservative" or "conservative-liberal"

Sue has a point, our founding fathers said lots of things and depending on what you are trying to prove you can pretty much find a quote for anything from at least one founding father.

You want a small government with the largest military, kind of a contradiction. The military IS government.

You do not want to be dependent on foreign oil but we do not have enough oil for our own needs. Then of course you have to ask how much of our foreign policy and our military affairs are dictated by our dependence on foreign oil?

If EVERYONE subscribed to your beliefs of hard work, honest living, doing what right, and a respect for life, then there would be no need for government.

Government does serve the role of establishing and enforcing laws and the less that we are willing to do the more that government has to do.

While I can agree with everything you say, our differences is that you believe that government steals our responsibilities and obiligations as humans and citizens and I believe that we as citizens and human beings have not taken our responsibilities and obiligations seriously and thus society has no recourse but to demand that government take over.

At one time our society was such that everyone lived amongst their extended family and as such the elderly had their offspring to depend on in their old age, and babies had grandparents to assist in their upbringing. Now, we need daycares and nursing homes and they need regulations and on and on it goes...

Joe said...

snaggletoothie: Since I disagree with Democrat principles, period, there is no chance that I would vote for one of them. My gripe is that Republicans think they have to embrace Democrat principles to get elected, so they don't qualify for my vote either...what then to do?

sue: Most liberals hate label because they don't want to be labeled "liberal." Since Republicans have become liberal and since "liberal" has become an accepted label, there is not a hair's difference between the two.

TAO: Actually I think of you as conservatively-liberal & liberally conservative.

The military should constitute the majority of the size of government. If it did, and the rest of government were where it should be, government would be much smaller than it is.

According to the geologic survey, there is enough oil under U.S. ground, off shore and in Alaska, as well as in the contiguous states to be TOTALLY independent from foreign oil, only we can't drill more off shore (yet), we can't drill in ANWAR, and we can't drill on government protected land etc. (where there is a lot of oil-of course).

I totally agree with your next-to-last paragraph.

Anonymous said...

Labels are terms such as "democrat" and "republican;" they identify (label) the political parties.

Conservative/Liberal are not labels; they are words that define values. But people aren't simply defined, because it is possible for people to be socially liberal, economically conservative (and I suppose that makes them moderate).

I don't see a conservative leader emerging ... as distinguished from a leading republican. IMO, they are every bit as bad as the democrats. A conservative is someone who thinks that we should adhere to the US Constitution. That's where I'm coming from.

A liberal doesn't think the Constitution is that important; our judges should exude empathy, we can just make it up as we go along to make a level playing field. Folks, that isn't blind justice, and there is nothing in the US Constitution that suggests government has unlimited authority. But this does appear to describe both democrats and republicans.

When the people fear their government, we have tyranny. When government fears the people, we have liberty. Which one of these describes our government for the past 16 years?


sue said...

on my commment - helpless feeling

Ration Al said...

I will represent you, Joey.

After all, you're a Republican, which means, if the last 20 years are any judge, that we've got way too much in common.

Your liberal friend,

Ration Al

btw do you understand the true meaning of liberalism? *sigh* you, like so many of your kind, have no understading of the intent of our founders.

After all, you can't even spell Thomas Jefferson's name correctly.

Do you have a 4-year degree, Joey?

Joe said...

Mustang: I fear the government more today than ever before.

Sue: Got it!

Ration AL: Actually, I DO know how to spell Jhomas Tefferson's name, however, my fingers avhe lisdexia and my brain is senile. And, yes, I do have a four year degree...took me five years to get it.

Uhh...I'm not totally certain I want you to represent me...thanks for the offer, though.

Ration Al said...

Well, consider it a standing offer anyways.

Although, not to dampen your already-dour perspective, but government has grown considerably under every Republican Congress and President in the 20th century.

Do you really think things will change?

Joe said...

Ration Al: "...government has grown considerably under every Republican Congress and President in the 20th century."

With apologies I must tell you that this does not dampen my spirits, I am as angry with Republicans over this as I am with Democrats (although, in fairness, the Reagan thing was a failure of Congress to keep its word to him. Remember, presidents don't authorize budgets...congress does.)

LadyVi said...

Excellent post, Joe!