I suppose now that we don’t have a conservative candidate for nomination in any party, it’s time to explain a little more about conservatism, especially why so many people find it so offensive.
The first principle of conservatism is truth. The truth hurts everyone. We don’t like the way the world is and we all wish we could change it. But conservatives know that is impossible. And we’ll tell you why. And that hurts.
So conservatives are like a guy who goes to Disneyland and says, “You know, you’re going to die one day.”
We tell women, “You are a woman, and that’s all you’ll ever be.” We tell men, “You are a man, and that’s all you’ll ever be.” We tell homosexuals, “Your sexual unions will never produce offspring.” We tell liars, “You’re lying.” We tell everyone the truth as far as we can see it. And the truth is offensive.
The second principle of conservatism is faith. This is a difficult concept for people to understand, so let me try to explain it this way. Faith means trust. Really, they’re very similar to each other. The question of faith is, “What is worthy of your trust?” Conservatives reject all people as faithless. Conservatives don’t put their trust in anyone. That’s because we’ve accepted the truth: All of us are mortal and fallible, and when you get right down to it, reprehensible in one way or the other.
What then to put your faith in? Simply put, God. Or rather, the principles that God puts his trust in, which are the attributes of his character, which are timeless, eternal, and inarguably good.
So conservatism offends because we tell people, “Don’t trust that guy.” And we tell people, “The only things you can actually trust are timeless principles that do not change.” And those timeless principles, those ideals, are simply unobtainable by any mere mortal.
The third principle is the concept of rights. Rights are not freedoms. We are all free to choose whether we will murder or lie or steal, but we have no right to do so. Rights are so-named because they are the opposite of wrongs. Rights are things that morally, we should do. Rights say, “I should do X, so get out of my way.” Example: Kings of England stood up and said, “I have a right to be king, because God said so.” So they became king.
On the opposite side of the coin called rights is duty. The king of England who does not exercise his rights to protect his people and secure their liberties no longer has the right to be king. By the same token, people who do not exercise their rights to the benefit of themselves and mankind do not deserve their rights. Remember, rights are there for a purpose. If you have a hard time understanding this, consider the fact that if I believe someone to have the right to freely speak (because saying the truth, though offensive, is good), then that means I have to defend their right to freely speak and prevent those who would stop them from speaking. If I did not do that, then they would not be able to exercise their right.
Rights are offensive because the truth is offensive. It’s hard to hear someone stand up and say, “You were wrong”, but we all need to hear it. Rights are also offensive because it demands action from people. On the one hand, blessed with the freedom to exercise our rights, we should do so, nay, we must do so. And on the other hand, if we believe others have rights, then we need to take positive action to defend them. When it comes to rights, there are no lazy people.
The final principle I’ll discuss is government. It has come to our attention, mankind, that we seem to have this obsessive need for someone to tell us what to do. Throughout history, mankind has regularly and repeatedly bowed to authority. Given the fact that, one way or the other, we will adopt a government of some sort to rule over us, let us consider what the best form of government is, or rather, the least bad.
In contemplating this fact, we have discovered certain truths. Among them are:
- There should be limits to what government can do.
- Local government is better government.
- People should participate in government.
- People should not trust their government.
There is, of course, so much more to conservatism, but I suppose the above should give you a broad perspective on what we’re all about. I could write endlessly about truths that we ignore or deceive ourselves against. I could expound upon every good virtue and how best it should be practiced. I could also write endlessly of all the myriad of rights we have, and how far they go, and when action is required or when it is optional. And I could write pages upon pages of every aspect of government, and explain how some policies hurt and others help. And I could talk endlessly about the economy (but really, that belongs under rights.) And I am sure that you would like to know more about what it is conservatives intend to do about the poor and how they plan to do it (because the poor is the convenient scapegoat statists use to broaden government powers.) Or education, or medicine, or any of the other myriad realms that are used to distract us from the fact that they want to deprive us of our sacred rights.
But I won’t, not here, not now.
Just know that the truth hurts, and the truth is that you are wrong. That is the message of conservatism.