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SENTRY JOURNAL » Conservative, Constitution, Founding Fathers, negative liberties, Republicans » What is a Conservative?

What is a Conservative?

Does anyone really know the conservative mind? I mean what is a conservative? Is a conservative a bigot? Is a conservative about big business? Is a conservative narrow minded? Or a war monger? Do conservatives believe they have the moral high ground? Are they pro-gun anti-gay anti-government extremist, or something completely different?

Over the last couple of years I have asked myself these questions. After all if I’m going to call myself a conservative I should at least make an attempt to understand the ideology? The problem was I had never really examined why I’m a conservative. By the age of forty I began to experience what I like to call a political ideological mid-life crisis. I found myself scrutinizing my belief system and values wondering if I had chosen the right path. The more I stepped back and looked at the Republican Party, and the direction it was heading, the more I questioned conservatism. Finally I decided to dig into my past and rediscover the source of my conservative beliefs.

I discovered that the main reason I was a conservative was because my parents were both Republicans. They believed in the basic principles of hard work, low taxes, and a strong national defense. Their loving influence and good actions were instrumental in the building of my own belief system. These beliefs were based on two simple concepts; individual responsibility for one’s own actions and the amount of effort one puts forth is directly related to success or failure. So I adopted conservatism, but never really took the time to think about it. I just ran with it. The truth is I had no idea about true conservatism. I needed to find the truth.

I decided that in order to find the truth I would need to look to the past. So I reacquainted myself with the Founding Fathers and the ideals they embraced. I read the Federalist Papers, Common Sense, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, quotes from Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, and Benjamin Franklin. I perused through book after book about the revolutionary war, and immersed myself in the writings of contemporary conservative authors. The more I read the more I found myself discarding the beliefs I had once held so near to my heart. I began to tune into the principles and values of our Founding Fathers, and soon realized just how in touch they were with the times we live in today. These were men of integrity and rock solid morals. Their beliefs were radical for the period, placing individual liberty and the concept of self determination above all else with the exception of God.

The Founding Fathers were all too familiar with tyranny and the various methods utilized to suppress a people. After years of abuses from the elite class in England the radicals had finally had enough. They threw off their oppressive masters in a violet and bloody uprising and formed a new nation. In the summer 1787 they gathered in Philadelphia and painstakingly crafted our Constitution. Their discussions and at times heated debates centered on the role government. They were deeply concerned that too much government would eventually usurp the rights of the state, ultimately leading to an infringement on individual liberties. Do these arguments sound familiar? What role should government play in our lives? Are we willing to sacrifice our individual liberties for more government involvement, or do we want government out of our lives? Even our current President referred to the Constitution as a document of “negative liberties,” American Thinker and questioned the role of government. Finally after almost four months of deliberations our Founding Fathers emerged with a document we now know as our Constitution. This document is near perfect in the limitation it places on government, and after over 220 years it is still viewed as one of the most important documents this world has ever known.

They knew all too well the stifling effect a tyranny had on a society and feared a Constitution to centered on governmental powers would exchange one type of tyranny for another. They also realized that people were imperfect and that corruption and abuse of power could creep into our government if left unchecked. This was why it was so crucial to limit the powers of government and create a series of checks and balances. They understood that the states were the master of the federal government and that all the power is vested in “We the People.” My journey to find the truth was indeed an enlightening experience that led me down the path of true conservatism. Not the kind that is marketed in a political party or a sound bite, but one that is basic in its message. A message that defines what conservatism is truly about.

It’s about belief in “We the People.” It’s about a limited government living within their means, and protecting individual liberties, property rights, and freedoms. It’s about removing governmental barriers so that all have an equal opportunity to succeed without caps on success. It’s about a free market system that creates wealth and opportunity for everyone. It’s about innovation and the entrepreneurial spirit that is in each of us. It’s about understanding that we have certain unalienable that are not granted nor can be taken away by a governmental entity. It’s about our right to bear arms, petition our government, free speech, and worship how we see fit. It’s about risks and rewards. It’s about the states. It’s about a strong national defense. And finally it’s about the right of each and every person to determine their own destiny, free from fear of government intervention or coercion.

I believe that one day the people of this great nation will again embrace the ideals of our Founding Fathers. They will soon grow tired of elected officials passing unconstitutional legislation that increases the size and role of government. When this day comes, they will beyond doubt understand that the path towards happiness, freedom, liberty, and abundance can be found in conservative principles. That true conservatives believe in the power of people and not the power of government. And that the real enemy to our liberties and freedoms is apathy in regards to our Constitution. We must remain vigilant or our liberties will be legislated away.

I am not a bigot. I am not narrow minded. I am not anti-government. I am not big business. I am not anti-gay. And I am not an extremist.

I am a conservative and I believe in you.


Filed under: Conservative, Constitution, Founding Fathers, negative liberties, Republicans

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  • Chad November 15, 2009 at 10:52 PM

    I believe many people are like you in that they have begun to question their blind faith in thier government. I know I have. I never was really "political" until the current radical reginme started destroying the country that I love so dearly. The priciples that this great nation wsa founded on are being swept away in a tide of lies and malcontempt.

    In the words of a concerned voter during a meeting with her congressman… "…your actions have awaken a sleeping giant…" I believe this to be true. The "sleeping giant" is the american people and we are asleep no longer. We are questioning our faith in government and we are ready to take back that government, by force if need be.

    If there is one thing that I have learned in the past 10 months, it is how much of a conservative I turly am.

    I am my own person and I will believe what I choose.

    Excellent blog!!

  • John Carey November 15, 2009 at 11:04 PM


    The Framers made sure there were plenty of safegaurds written into the Constitution to protect our individual liberties. They fought and shed their blood for us so we would not have too. I can't stress this point enough, change must come through peaceful means and it can. We just need to start pressing what I call the Constitutionality test. These laws they create must be challenged if they don't pass the test. But challenged within the framework the Founding Fathers built in our system of government.

    Thanks for the comment