Some people think conservatives are simply the “other team” compared to liberals. Nothing is farther from the truth. The liberals might be playing some sport with politics, but we are doing something else entirely.
The conservative philosophy can be summed up, in essence, as “Don’t change things unless you really know what you are doing.” It demands people educate themselves on history and philosophy, science and religion. It demands people govern themselves first, and then only turn to the people around them appropriately. It is entirely self-centered, anchored in the hearts and souls of its millions of practitioners.
Conservatism does not demand change in others, only change within ourselves. Conservatives don’t expect the government to change and we don’t expect others to change. We will wake up tomorrow living in the same kind of world no matter what happens. Any “victory” is temporary. Any “defeat” likewise.
Suppose Hillary wins. She governs more or less competently, and the federal government survives another 4 or 8 years. To conservatives, this is a big win. We get to keep our jobs, we get to raise our families, largely left alone, and we get to continue to teach ourselves and others about what we understand.
Suppose Hillary wins, and she governs like she said she will and leads us into World War III and the utter collapse of the federal government. To conservatives, this is also a win. Yes, we’re going to suffer along with our neighbors, but we are better equipped to handle this kind of catastrophe because we know it is coming and we are familiar with history and philosophy and economics and know how to rebuild society. If society entrusts us to rebuild the government, we will do so carefully and cautiously, building on the lessons we learned from the past 200 years. The end result will be a limited government focused on its sole duty of protecting individual rights.
Suppose Trump wins, and governs like a true blue conservative, despite his campaign promises. This would be the preferable case of all possible cases, and would also be considered a conservative victory. Our principles and morals have brought vast fortunes of wealth to the American people, and entrusting us with 4 or 8 years of the presidency where we can apply these same principles again will lead to a boom that would make the 1920s and 1980s look like hiccups.
Liberals simply don’t understand. We don’t hate them because they are evil (all are evil, of course). We don’t oppose them because we hate them. We simply know a lot more than they do about human nature and the way the world really works. We are already using this knowledge to live our lives, which is why we are perfectly content if they are in power and we are not. Government doesn’t rule us, because we know what government really is. And when we get our chance to pull the levers of government, it doesn’t take much work to put it back the way it should be, and unlock the tremendous blessings of a sane, limited government.