What does it mean to be conservative? A “down among the primitives” article in today’s WaPo got me to thinking. The article, concerning how conservatives are organizing to oppose the Obamination, was not nearly as bad as some have been in the mainstream media when discussing that strange-to-liberals species, Conservitus Americanus.
Here’s what came gurgling to the top; what being conservative means to me. Your mileage, of course, may vary. The short form? Individual freedom, strong national defense, free markets, and American cultural integrity. Some exposition of what these things mean to me:
No restrictions on free speech
No restrictions on the right to bear arms
No eminent domain unless it is truly for public purposes
Keep the government out of our private lives
Equal opportunity, not equal result: end affirmative action
Limited government; fiscal responsibility
Reduce the deficit
No government-run health care, car companies, etc.
Don’t spend our money on unproven science (e.g. global warming; “green jobs”)
Strong national defense: A military second to none
Kill terrorists; don’t read them their rights or give them lawyers
Open-ended military detention for captured enemy combatants; no trials
Cultural integrity: America is (or used to be and should be) an Anglo-Saxon, God-fearing nation
Each person is responsible and accountable for their actions
Don’t banish religion from the public square; don’t shove it down our throats
Strict enforcement of our law
Immigrants should assimilate to our culture and language, not require us to use their language
English as our only official language
Strict immigration enforcement
No voting except citizens in English
Constitutional rights for citizens only
No government support for abortion
No government interference with religiously-affiliated institutions
On law: honor the founders’ original intent of our Constitution
This is hardly the end-all or be-all of what conservatives believe. And please understand, that when I write that we are an Anglo-Saxon, God-fearing nation (or should be), I’m not talking about ethnic purity or racial discrimination or having an established religion. I talk, rather, of the British and Scottish notions of liberty, of David Hume, Adam Smith, Edmund Burke, among others. And also of the knowledge that we are a nation under God, and we should behave accordingly.
This is an intellectual and spiritual heritage, not one of blood and soil. In short, an American heritage.