Conservative Values   Leave a comment

From time to time, I try to quantify what conservatives believe and value. I’m not talking about what Republicans believe and value or what conservative media is focused on, but what people like myself think makes the world tick.

We’re about 40% of the voting population, which says what we value ought to have some influence in the society, but all around us, we see reasons to despair because our values seem so undervalued. Is it the values or is it how we communicate them? For now, I’m going to speak broadly because we’re talking principles, not specific examples.

Conservatives believe in stewardship, preserving our common inheritance and protecting that which possesses lasting value. Some things are permanent and transcendent and worthy of enduring protection. Some things are transient and change of those things cannot only be accepted, but embraced. We can foster change that enhances rather than undermines truth.

Conservatives, knowing that there is objective truth, tend to be skeptical of contemporary utopianism. Flavor of the Month works at Baskin-Robbins, but those of us who respect received wisdom recognize the passage of time does not automatically render the wisdom of our forebears invalid. Hindsight is 20-20 for a reason and historically, the Last Theory of Everything ended up sunk in a swamp.

Common sense teaches that actions have consequences, privilege entails responsibility, there’s no such thing as a free lunch, and accounts must balance. Those teaching otherwise sound like fools who are rushing unawares toward a thousand-foot cliff.

Conservatives honor community and understand that the most basic community is the family, which is increasingly under assault by those who overemphasize autonomy and sex over community and intimacy.

We also believe that human beings are messy and perverse, so it is imperative to train and educate young people in civilized behavior, to maintain appropriate mechanisms to restrain and correct those who resist that training.

Almost paradoxically, conservatives are wary of concentrated power in all forms. Human perversity is well-displayed in Washington DC and on Wall Street, in the executive suites of major institutions (including churches and universities). Conservatives reject the argument that centralization promotes efficiency and effectiveness. We favor the local over the distant. We prefer interacting with our representatives personally, where we can see their eyes and know that they hear us.

We love our country, but we do not confuse country with state. America is not its military or the myriad federal agencies. Our country is the people who live here, who contribute to our culture, interact with neighbors, and raise their children next to ours.

And when we look over our nation from that perspective, we feel ill because so much is broken, seemingly beyond repair.

The question is – what to do about it?

Posted September 9, 2013 by aurorawatcherak in Conservative movement

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