As the 112th Congress prepares to be sworn in, we realize anew that it is only because the stakes are so high that we even care about the continuing friction between conservatives whose top priorities are economic/fiscal (the “FiCons”) and those whose top priorities are cultural/social (the “SoCons”). I would like to insert just one tiny morsel: a quick little 8-point formulation that perhaps we can all agree on.

I believe that the same core principles — framed here as 8 bullet-points — undergird all of conservatism (not just the SoCons and FiCons but also the MilCons, the military / national-security conservatives).  Yes, I hold these truths to be self-evident — as well as deeply connected amongst each other, and common to all branches of conservatism.

If FiCons don’t support these principles, then I’m not sure how they can call themselves conservatives. If FiCons do support these principles, then I don’t see anything significant separating them from SoCons.

So please. Folks. Read this list. If you disagree with any of these 8 basic premises, please say what, and why, in the comment section. If you don’t see anything here that you take issue with, then maybe there’s more unity in our movement than some people seem to think.

1.  Human individuals have inherent dignity, and in this dignity inheres a sacred right to be free.
2.  There is no freedom without corresponding responsibility.
3.  Responsibility is acting in accordance with truth and justice, not just from impulse or appetite.
4.  If the individual does not take responsibility for himself, outside forces such as government will step in to control him or her.
5.  The smaller the number of individuals who take responsibility for themselves, the more will government step in, gradually becoming tyrannical.
6.  Since tyrants necessarily prize ends over means,  individuals who are deemed insufficiently useful toward the tyrant’s ends become disposable.
7.  When some humans are deemed disposable, all humans are deprived of dignity.
8.  Where there is no dignity, there is no freedom.

Which brings us full circle back to point 1.

Cross-post at West to the West Wing 2012.