The Constitution and DOI are both the foundation of our nation, as Republicans and conservatives we should be versed in both and govern by their words, but these are not elementary subjects that can be used for recruitment or outreach. What I think we should begin to focus on, for matters of outreach and as a general definition of our party, is Values, Principles, and Integrity. These three subjects are highly adaptable in delivery while still being able to be founded on eternal truths that are widely held.
I have written a few diaries about principles as have others here on RedState. Here you can find our friend EPU’s (Fredhead TX-FrontPage). musings on the principles. He and I both have attached to the 10 Principles of Conservatism by Russell Kirk. These are really good principles, but there are others as well. Like the 9 principles that Glenn Beck is offering with his 912Project.
Today I am going to shift focus to the second in a series, values. Again, Glenn Beck has his 12 values posted at his 912Project. I have done something a bit different and taken the Seven Deadly Sins and walked backwards to find which values allow us to avoid falling prey to these sins, some of which are listed on Glenn’s site.
Now all seven sins are a consequence of our fallen nature. This is true no matter your religion or lack thereof. Man is fallible. We fail and we will continue to do so ad infinitum. But we are also blessed with being able to learn from our failures. Part of that learning process is being able to extract what the right answer is by evaluating what the wrong answer was. So here are 7 failures which we, as humans, have a tendency to fall prey to.
And my favorite…Pride
First, Greed. This word gets tossed about quite a bit right now and as a consequence we have muddied its definition. Words have meanings and greed is pretty specific. Greed is about gathering not only more than you need, but more than you deserve. The way I see it, those who are merely ambitious can accrue as much wealth as they want, because their ambition usually comes out in some form of labor, which is deserving of payment. Some of the greediest people in our nation are career welfare recipients and career politicians, both of which seek to accrue more than they need or more than they deserve, sometimes both. Ambition on the other hand is a desire for activity, rank, fame, or power. Ambition can be a force for good, greed can’t. Ambition stops where greed begins. Ambition is the value and greed is the effect of the absence of this value from the public debate.
Next is Lust. We don’t often think about lust when discussing politics, I think that is only due the fact that it has grown to be pervasive and common place. Teenage pregnancy, abortion, rape, divorce rate, pedophilia, these are all different expressions of lust. The opposite of lust is love, now I am not talking about “free love” hippy crap, I am talking about real love. Like friendship and community, we are lacking that bond right now. Paul Cella reminded of the importance of this in his diary of wits when he talked about getting active with your local church. Friendship and Community based in that sort of love will help to fight the devious behaviors which are born of lust.
Sloth and Gluttony
Sloth and Gluttony are creeping into our society. These sins hurt everyone, even those not committing them. Unions negotiate for the lowest common denominator, encouraging laziness. Fortunately these are easily combated by moderation and hard work. The values of moderation and hardwork have helped our nation from its inception. Before declaring independence from the British Crown our founders painfully deliberated the consequences and committed to the hard work ahead. The settlers and pioneers, those who created are highways and bridges, these values were staples of those generations. It is too our benefit to embrace the values of moderation and hardwork.
Wrath. Well, what values can we instill to thwart our tendency towards wrath? Courage and patience, these values allow us to stand against exhibitions of wrath by others, while also constraining our own want to lash out. These values work in harmony with the values of love and community mentioned earlier.
Envy is one of the most dangerous and self destructive on this list. Envy is a catalyst for hate, with wrath being the eventual manifestation. We have a lot of envy going on in our nation right now, and for a while we may even see an increase. Another thing that envy breeds is greed. An envious welfare class, created by the Marxist programs we are only beginning to see implemented, could be given to greed and, enabled by the state, cause unrest in the Nation. Hope, diligence, personal responsibility, these are the values that can assist us in avoiding a society dominated by envy.
Pride. Pride is a killer. It blinds us. It blinds our elected officials from seeing clearly the wishes of their constituents. John McCain was too proud to stand up to the original TARP and it cost him the Presidency. There is no doubt in my mind that was the day he lost. As destructive as pride can be, it is also the easiest one to avoid. Practice Humility and have reverence for the lessons of history, whether found in the Bible, or in the words of Burke, Jefferson, Washington, Madison, Jay, Tocqueville, Lincoln, Buckley, Goldwater, Reagan, or the ancient Greeks. A respect and understanding of history teaches us our limitations and our areas of success. With that reverence and the humility to accept what we can learn from it, we can avoid the pitfalls that come with pride.
These values are not limited to any religion, these are universal, and conservatism espouses these at least indirectly. These values transcend many of the partisan arguments that we often get caught up in, not that our partisan arguments aren’t important as well. This list is not a conclusive list, and I encourage all to study our failings to discover more, but for the most part I believe people accept these values already in their personal lives and would love to see the same displayed in Washington..
I believe that the Nation lacks clear definition these days. The obfuscation that is prevalent in our press has completely warped the backbone of America. I believe that we have stopped talking about the things that bind us as a nation regardless of your political party, and this has been to the detriment of the Conservative movement and the Republican Party. We have national values, and various sets of principles, We have the Declaration of Independence; which defines our goals as a society and nation, and the Constitution; which provides the construct or logical order in which to achieve the goals set forth, and finally the Bill of Rights which is a definition of where the governments rights end.
So now I have a written on a set of principles and a set of values, which would garner plenty of support in today’s electorate. If you doubt me look at the rhetoric that won the 2006 and 2008 Election Cycles, but as we saw in our own demise and are now seeing in the new administration, rhetorical values and principles are really not enough to insure good governance. For that you must also have the final piece in this series, integrity, which will be published shortly by EPU.
Once we define our principles and values, and display our integrity, then we can begin again to focus on the DOI and the Constitution. Now is the time to prepare the soil, and plant the seeds if we expect our crop to come to harvest by the fall of 2010.