The Best Definition of Conservatives Yet

Many on the right – and even some on the left – have decried the lack of a strong leader for the conservative party in America (note I didn’t say the Republican party). Michael Steele, the recent elected chairman of the RNC, has been under attack lately. Some are upset that he is trying to be too “moderate”, while others are wondering why, if he is supposed to be such a great communicator, he keeps letting himself get tripped up by the media, who is arguably out to destroy him and all things right.

Having been politically aware for only the last 6 months or so of my 50+ years, I nonetheless have given quite a bit of thought lately to the question of how to define conservatives in America. What do we believe? What is important to us? What are the principles that we cannot or should not compromise? How do we attract people away from the pseudo messiah of “hope” and “change”? Who can best represent us as our leader?

Every time that a likely leader emerges from the conservative side, the liberals start an overt search and destroy campaign. Consider the attacks on Sarah Palin last fall, and more recently, Bobby Jindal. And the laughable media campaign to smear Rush Limbaugh. Whoever ultimately represents the conservatives in 2012 will have to have a spirit of steel to stand up to the constant assault. I am confident that such a person will emerge, and will likely be victorious, especially if the current administration continues the march to communism that it seems to be pursuing. In the meantime, whom do we look to for inspiration and leadership?

I came across an article written by Paul Shlichta on AmericanThinker.com (here). Written in response to the left’s attempt to demonize Rush Limbaugh, Paul has some very wise observations, which I quote below:

“The truth is that conservatives generally don’t have a single leader. They are united by their devotion to the rights of individual citizens, their adherence to traditional morality and the principles of republican government, and their opposition to socialistic meddling with individual freedom. But within that framework of belief, they tolerate and even encourage a diversity of views about specific issues and approaches.

Therefore, no one person can be called the “voice” of Republicans, because they tolerate a broad range of opinions about many issues. No one person can be called “the intellectual force and energy behind the Republican Party” because that role belongs to the conservative-moderate majority of the American people.

Even the most charismatic conservative leaders, like Ronald Reagan, considered themselves first among equals and were open to criticism and debate about policies. We must remember that we did not have a single Founding Father but a group of more than a dozen who, with much public discussion and compromise, collectively hammered out our Constitution and laws.”

I think this is sage advice for Michael Steele, and for every single conservative. What is our strength is our diversity – or at least our potential for diversity. Aside from the fundamental principles of freedom, liberty, fiscal responsibility, small government, and a fair amount of disdain of the government sticking its nose in our business, there are a variety of views on social, moral, and cultural issues. It is the liberals who will not tolerate any dissenting views to their radical agenda.

I am morally offended only when members of the Republican party think they can appeal to “moderates” by voting in favor of larger government and increased spending. This was the biggest mistake conservatives made during the past eight years, and I think most of us have admitted this, and are trying to repent. I am certain that our founding fathers did not agree on every single issue, but they agreed on the important issues. We would do well to remember this, and apply it to our platform.