The following is a broad stroke analysis of what conservatism means in today’s age to this writer. Without getting into the minute details of any policy, these are more like guiding principles.
It starts with a view and belief in the traditional structure of American society. Within that structure are differing ethnicities, races, social classes, and sex roles. Through it all, the family is the basic structure of human society. Conversely, progressives or liberals believe and act as if the government is the basis of human society.
It follows that conservatives endorse notions of the traditional family. Families organize themselves into communities or societies for the common good. Conservatives see people and families, not demographic groups. Because belief in the traditional family is central to conservatism, any action or policy that weakens it is to be fought against with equal zeal.
As such, conservatives believe that men and women need each other on a personal and societal basis. Men and women are not rivals although the Left is trying their hardest to make them rivals. It is a simple biological fact of life that there are physical and emotional differences between men and women. Those differences are the very reasons men and women need one another. The hedonism of homosexuality and the alphabet soup of gay pride cannot overcome these facts.
Conservatives believe in our common heroes from our past. We view the present as a continuation of the past so that there is a future. Likewise, we realize that as humans, even heroes are not infallible and are often a product of the prejudices and beliefs of their time. None of that negates their contributions to our common heritage. We venerate those who sacrificed their lives and limbs in defense of our country and its interests. While there are many true conservatives who opposed our actions in Iraq and continue to do so today in other troubled areas, when the chips are down, we support those in the military uniform both during combat and after.
Equally important, we believe that the Nation and its institutions exist first and foremost to protect its citizens. All policies prescriptions should have this foremost in their thoughts. A government exists to protect the lives and rights of its legal citizens.
Conservatives believe in freedom of religion instead. Equally important, we do not believe in freedom from religion. The mythical wall of separation between church and state is simply that- a myth- perpetuated by the Left. At the end of the day, humans are not infallible creatures. We have answers, but not all the answers. Man is not lower than animals, but neither are we as high as angels. The best we can strive for is to recognize and overcome our imperfections and for that, we sometimes must look to a higher authority.
We believe in the value of work not only within the modern economy but in the home. To the feminist Left, being a stay-at-home mom is the one choice women are not supposed to make. Work is one value that improves one’s lot in life, as is a stable family environment with two parents. We believe that employment rather than welfare enriches society and the economy.
Along those lines, we believe in and condone financial solvency at the individual, family and governmental levels. The Left has placed too many roadblocks and disincentives towards those ends and, admittedly, they have many spend-happy “conservatives” cohorts in Congress.
There will always be rich and poor in America and we recognize that fact as a necessary fact in a capitalist economy. We also realize that the options are not worthy of consideration. Therefore, we aim to increase the wages of all and allow taxpayers to keep more of what they earn. We reject the early 1900’s notion that there is a battle between employee and employer. From education to immigration, from welfare to labor to everything else, the obvious advantages of true healthy economic competition are what made this country great.
We do not believe that all power, wealth and influence should be placed in the hands of the government. The transfer of these items from the family to the government must be resisted and reversed. Towards those ends, we believe in political, social and economic stability. We do not believe in change for the mere sake of change and we reject any change that undermines the basic building block of society- the traditional family.
Conservatives believe in good policy, not feel-good politics which defines the Left with their myriad of demographic special interest groups. Those policies should be responsive to the people, not polling data, after measured and considered debate. Even then, it should be instituted piecemeal so that the effects can be gauged. Too often the Left rushes in with “solutions” without considering the unintended consequences of their actions.
Conservatives believe in equal protection under the law despite the obvious and inherent inequalities in society and among people. But, too often the Left seeks not equality, but equal outcomes in total ignorance of differences. It is why they blur the line between what is and what is not a woman or a man. Conservatives are more realistic in that we recognize that not all people are equal in their ability. That in no way degrades their humanity; in fact, we acknowledge their humanity even in the womb.
As concerns criminal justice, victims of crime deserve justice and serious crimes deserve serious punishments. There are those on the Left who would portray, in flagrant ignorance of statistics, that police departments are raging cauldrons of racism out to kill “innocent” black youths. While conservatives do not condone rogue police officers and demand that the legal system take care of that small percentage of law enforcement who violate the public trust, neither do we paint the vast majority of police officers as racist child killers. Are there bad cops? Of course, just as there are bad plumbers, bad politicians, and bad college professors.
Conservatives believe in free speech and must work to overcome those who wish to silence dissent. What most concerns the Left is that voices of conservatism register with a vast majority of this country, not just the coastal elites. What better way to get your message across than stifling the voice of the opposition? One blight on American history was the Alien and Sedition Acts which imprisoned opponents of the Adams administration. Today on social media, we have the equivalent of the Alien and Sedition Acts to relegate conservative voices silent.
Finally, we believe that war and peace are the flip sides of the same coin. As such, we must be prepared for both. We do not live in a peace-loving world. There are nefarious people abroad and domestically dedicated to overturning what this country has built up for over 200 years and counting. To those ends, there is no difference between a racist killer, an Islamic jihadist, and antifa.
Conservatism, by nature, moves slower and relies more upon continuing that which has worked in the past. It is not a return to the past for those days are gone. But by the same token, some conservatives have thrown in the towel in when it comes to dismantling that which has not worked.