The question concerning conservative thought in America came to me after I heard a commentator on Fox News, and his guest, say that regardless of who wins this election, conservatism is basically dead in the USA.
In this post, I have posed the question, “Is conservatism in the USA dead?” In attempting to answer, it seems we first must establish what we mean by ‘conservatism.’
This post is an attempt to describe who conservatives are or what they believe. It will look at what has happened to the conservative movement in America. Finally, there will be an effort made to answer the question. Perhaps you have your own thoughts about this, but here are mine.
WHAT IS CONSERVATISM?
First and foremost we must recognize that conservative ideology is not simple and not easily defined. It has been well represented and presented by many and totally misrepresented by others. Conservative ideology encompasses religious, political, fiscal, and cultural beliefs.
Because there are people who are politically conservative, but not religious and because this is an election year we will confine our discussion to the political and cultural aspects.
A political conservative is one who usually believes the following:
- Freedom as defined in the Bill of Rights insures a better world and is essential to a prosperous society.
- The 10th amendment which states: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” This amendment, when followed, gives many powers to the states and prevents a bloated, over-sized federal government. Big government is a threat to freedom.
- The blessings of civil and religious liberty are best preserved through education that teaches students to think and evaluate rather than a philosophy that tells them what to think.
- Education should be made accessible to all but should be controlled at the local level. If government schools continue, vouchers should also be allowed for those who want to choose their own school.
- Freedom and peace cannot be maintained without a volunteer militia that is supported by the citizenry.
- Those who protect us deserve our protection.
- Private enterprise and free market capitalism is the best economic system.
- Private citizens are better at solving problems than a government agency.
- Private initiative decreases as government regulation and entitlement programs increase.
- Government bureaucracy and corruption go hand in hand.
- Representative government ensures people of having a voice and should not be abused or corrupted.
- Voting rights should be safe-guarded and the right to an honest election is necessary to maintain freedom.
- The right to life should extend to all humans. The heartbeat stopping determines the end of a person’s life. The heartbeat beginning should be considered the start of a person’s life. All persons should have equal protection under the law including the right to life.
There are great web-sites to aid us in understanding what a conservative is. Here are several:
IF CONSERVATISM IS DEAD, WHAT KILLED IT?
If conservative principles are dead, they did not die a natural death. They were killed with ‘propaganda’ and misinformation. Consider these posters:
This has been the mantra taught to millions of America’s youth. Often conservatives are accused of being racist as well. Conservatives are not usually hired by colleges and universities and a recent report shows intentional discrimination against conservatives.
An obvious example of discrimination toward those who teach conservatism can be seen with the omitting of Hillsdale College by The Department of Education from its College Scorecard. Hillsdale was omitted from this report for “not meeting requirements.” The truth is that among other things...
Hillsdale College, founded in 1844 by abolitionist Free Will Baptists, was the first college in the land to prohibit by charter any discrimination based on “nationality, color or sex.” Hillsdale is proud of its heritage and has remained true to it, despite attempts by both federal and state bureaucrats to force it to count its students by race. Since 1985, the College has maintained its principled refusal to accept federal or state taxpayer subsidies, even indirectly in the form of student grants or loans.
It isn’t just professors and employees who experience discrimination. Students are now experiencing discrimination and some denied freedom of speech.
God’s word teaches that if we train up a child in the way he should go, when he is old, he will not depart from that training. This truth is conversely true in that children trained in ways they should not go have difficulty changing their positions. The Communists made use of this principle in the USSR by herding their youth into school by age three and indoctrinating them with the communists philosophy. It has been through government controlled schools that children in America have come to believe in political doctrines that favor big government, bureaucracy, and an ideology that says freedom of speech should be limited.
CAN or WILL CONSERVATIVE PRINCIPLES MAKE A COMEBACK?
If time continues, conservative principles will make a comeback. We have several generations now grown, who were taught that conservatives are evil and stupid, so it may take some time and a major event before they turn back to conservative principles, but because people love liberty and only self-reliant people are able to remain free, conservative principles will make a comeback.
There are many organizations that teach conservative thought and are fighting for conservative principles even now.