The older I get the more conservative I become, and these past few years have reinforced in me more than ever the values of conservative principles, and how they really do stand for freedom. It is no longer merely an intellectual exercise for me, but my strong conservative beliefs have almost become a rhythm beating inside me.
Still, I must say that my life experiences and the feedback I have received from conversations with both liberals and conservatives have given me a few things to gripe about the Right. Not every conservative is guilty of these things, but if we are asking the lefties and independents to reconsider their behaviors and philosophies, shouldn’t we also consider how we conservatives can better spread the word about how liberating conservatism can be?
I don’t accuse all conservatives of these things, but there are some that have woven their way in and out of my life that I wanted to share.
1.) Conservatives are so sure in their belief system that they feel no need to defend it to those around them. We expect others to see that the economy is bad because of the democrats without explaining why. There are so many opportunities to do this, but I will list a few of my favorites here and ask that anyone else that reads this blog and is not too ticked off to think clearly to add theirs.
a. When do you feel more empowered? Dealing with your school, local license branch or other government entity or at the supermarket, retail store, eye doctor. When the consumer is in charge they will make the better choice for themselves, but if you have to go to the government you are powerless. The only time to make changes in government is at the voting booth. We don’t have elections every day.
b. When something is free, people will use it more. We all understand the supply vs. demand equation, but why don’t we discuss that when we are talking about things like healthcare, if you make it free to go to the doctor than more people will go for more minor illnesses. Unfortunately, we will probably see our less productive citizens using more and more healthcare services because they have more time to sit around and complain about a stuffy nose to their physician.
c. If the government has to subsidize it, than do we really need it? Having the government in charge of picking winners and losers, cuts back on innovation that may be truly meaningful because it keeps other people with better ideas out of the game.
d. More government creates more government corruption. In turn, that can also create more corporate corruption. Larger companies give big government the fuel to grow by cozying up to politicians to get legislation passed in their favor.
e. Taxes are an indicator of how free we are. If our tax rate was 100% than we would be slaves, work your way down and figure out how much of a slave you are, and why should we strive to earn more if it means the government owns more of us.
f. Having said the above, conservatism isn’t just about lower taxes. It isn’t just about being cheap. It is about getting government out of the way so that consumers can make decisions for themselves about what is right for them, and entrepreneurs can be given a fair shot at success with the right idea and hard work.
2.) Conservatives don’t admit to being conservatives. This criticism is blamed squarely at myself. I have consistently avoided discussing my conservative beliefs around my liberal friends and acquaintances. This is not to say we should lecture our friends, but simply saying nothing while liberals talk nonsense about conservatives is not acceptable. I lost a friend recently because I started to stand up for conservative values. He was a bit surprised to hear my views. He began to share his views with more and more in an effort to convince me. When I challenged him, I was shocked as to how uninformed he was. Eventually he walked away from our friendship, and I have no regrets. It was his decision, and I was always civil to him. I have a right to my opinion and being conservative does not mean you are less of a person. I do believe that many of the elite left hold that belief.
3.) Conservatives sit on the sidelines. The truest of all my criticisms. I know so many conservatives who will complain constantly, but will not get out and do anything. I have even had trouble getting conservative friends to vote. WHAT??? It doesn’t take much to be active, and I know Cold Warrior and others have really beaten this drum hard. I just suggest that each of us find easy, gentle ways to show our conservative friends the value of participating on the local level. Whether it is property tax issues, opportunities to meet elected officials, overdevelopment, getting the electorate more in control of the local school boards to protect our kids’ education, etc. Again, those that are not too ticked off at this post, please add more ideas as to how to show these benchwarmers why even a small level of participation is worth it.
4.) Conservatives are intolerant. I got so tired of hearing this while I was dating a super liberal, dope smoking guy in college. Of course we hear it all the time, usually it is tied in with the “religious right” as if being religious somehow makes one’s opinion less valid. I have spent many of the past couple of years shocked at what the left is saying and my eyes are wide open as to their intolerance for other views. However, my time on this site and others has shown me that some conservatives just want to fight with other conservatives. It is one thing to call someone out on something dumb, or arrogant or simply correct a poster. For some though the passion gives way to ugliness and I wonder just what the motivations can be. How do you expect to convince people to your opinions by condemning them? One of the things that amazes me about Rush Limbaugh is how he handles his detractors and some of the stupid callers that call into his show. He always gives them a chance. His audience would not be as large if he didn’t, and his paycheck not nearly as fat (Rush is slim now, so no pun intended!!!). Frankly, some of the coment sections following posts it feel more like having a chat with the church lady than an exchange of ideas.
It may be that some are content to be the smartest guy in the room, and aren’t really interested in advancing the conservative agenda. Me on the other hand, I want to build the movement. I want to build more activists and I will continue to use this site as a launching board for those efforts. I am proud of the contributions I have made and conservatives I have helped elect on a national and local level. My participation in these elections would have been far less if not for Red State
We all falter, but I will move forward and try not fall into the trap of being “one of those things I don’t like about conservatives.”