If you Google for the phrase “core conservative values“, you will find there are a myriad of opinions out there. Some list 4, or 7, or 10, or even more and do not prioritize them similarly at all.
Below, I will list and try to describe each of the values that I hold as MY conservative values, although I did not prioritize my list at all. The list will change slightly over time as I edit and update my thoughts on each value.
Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness
Considering these are the first 3 rights listed by the founding fathers in the Declaration of Independence, I feel like all the other “rights” are based on these. The first and foremost right listed is LIFE which I believe to be the most important right, sacrosanct.
LIFE – Every human life is important, from babies in the womb to prisoners on death row. I do not support abortion, nor do I support the death penalty.
LIBERTY – Defined as “the state of being free within society from oppressive restrictions imposed by authority on one’s way of life, behavior, or political views,” liberty is in fact freedom. The next value listed below, Limited Government, ensures that restrictions and regulations provided by the government do not become oppressive.
THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS – Another way of saying “freedom to follow one’s heart”, this right should be considered a “basic human right“.
A commonly held core conservative value is that of limited government. But it means different things to different people. In my own understanding, it should be a government in size as small as possible, and a government in reach/power as small as possible while keeping the peace and protecting citizens. Limited government is required to support the above value of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.
In Ronald Reagan’s farewell address to the nation, he said:
“I hope we once again have reminded people that man is not free unless government is limited. There’s a clear cause and effect here that is as neat and predictable as a law of physics: As government expands, liberty contracts.”
The obvious corollary is that the less government, the more freedoms are afforded.
Bill of Rights
Everyone knows the Bill of Rights contains the first 10 amendments to the Constitution. This list of 10 “rights” should be considered sacrosanct and not be up for debate at all. Unfortunately, over the years, many of them have become bastardized and repurposed. As a core value of mine, I feel we as a nation need to reinvigorate our understanding of these rights, and enforce their existence, despite government intervention.
Strongly worded in the 4th amendment, the right to personal property shall not be violated. Period.
“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated…”
In too many instances today, unreasonable search and seizure has become common practice among law enforcement. The core value also needs to be reinvigorated and forcefully reinstituted.
Peace Through Strength
Government’s greatest responsibility is to protect its citizens. The best way to do that is with a strong military.
“We know only too well that war comes not when the forces of freedom are strong, but when they are weak. It is then that tyrants are tempted.”Ronald Reagan – Republican National Convention, July 17 1980
We currently have the strongest, best trained military in the world, despite attempts by liberals to reduce it. We need to maintain that strong position.
Small government spends less. Size of social programs, like welfare and social security, although necessary should be kept to a minimum. But, size of government agencies in terms of volume of employees should also be kept to a minimum.
The economy should be allowed to rise or fall on its own based on activities in the private sector. Government should use as little regulation as possible to allow for free trade.
“We who live in free market societies believe that growth and prosperity, and ultimately human fulfillment are created from the bottom up, not the government down”Ronald Reagan – “A Man True to His Word”
Individual Freedoms – Social/Moral Behaviors
If the freedoms to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are to be consistently provided, legislation in the area of social and moral behaviors must be reckoned with. As stated in my blog post called Interesting Conversations, I strongly believe that all laws are based on moral judgements.
Rule of Law
No one is above the law, and all government branches and agencies should be open to scrutiny.
To that end, I support the idea of adding an amendment to the Constitution that requires all congressmen, judges and executive branch members to be audited annually by the IRS.
Family is the core fabric that makes up all the other values. Thus “family values” and the existence of families are both paramount to the continuance of a free society.
Legislation in the early 1900s incentivized the establishment of families, and propped them up against dissolution. Laws that taxed married couples less than 2 individuals… Laws that required health checks and marriage licenses… Laws that regulate divorce…