The Conservative Measuring Stick

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As I discuss politics all over the internet and in real life, I have come to the conclusion that the battle of ideas really boils down to this question:

Do individuals have God-given rights?

This is the conservative measuring stick, and should be, for every conservative everywhere.

First, it must be individuals, not groups, that have rights. If you do not recognize individuals as responsible entities for their own decisions, then you do not recognize anyone’s ability to make decisions.

Second, the rights must come from God, and be completely non-negotiable. This is critical. The Supreme Court cannot grant rights. Government doesn’t create rights. They can only infringe on God-given rights, or respect them. Those are the only choices they have.

Third, why “right” and not “freedom”? Because rights are what you should do, not what you can do. You do not have a right to get drunk. You do not have a right to be an idiot. You do have a right to protect life, to stand up for truth and righteousness, to condemn evil and to create wealth. Those are things everyone should do, every day, for the rest of their lives. Rights and duties are the same thing. For instance, if I claim that people have a right to live, then I have to be willing to kill to save life, otherwise it is mere words, meaningless words.

People who refuse to recognize individual, God-given rights inevitably fall into the trap of thinking that government should do something more than protect rights. They see the government as a really rich relative, or a strong bully, and they’d like to use that wealth and strength for their own desires. This leads to things like the welfare state, to immigration policies that fail to respect individual rights to freely associate and live in peace, and many other evils. Inevitably, if you press these people on where government should stop, you’ll find they can see no limit, that they’d be perfectly happy living in a country where there are no rights and government does everything all the time. This is, in essence, slavery.

One more thing: People who do not recognize your individual, God-given rights are a real threat to your safety. You must be willing to engage them in mortal combat when they become aggressive, and you must persuade them to change their ways before it comes to that point. Inevitably, throughout history, those who recognize rights have either had to lay down their lives or get their hands bloody.

As Kyle Chapman (Alt-Knight, Based Stickman) said, “I’m a pacifist: I will never initiate violence. But if someone uses violence on me or my people, I will meet that.” If you’re not willing to fight to protect peace, you’re not really a pacifist.

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