Now that the election is over and we have to start looking at our plans for 2010 and 2012, it would be good to examine conservatism and what we can concentrate on in the meantime. E Pluribus Unum started an excellent series on conservatism a while back, and hopefully, will do more in the future. I am not trying to take his place on it, but wanted to start a conversation on what conservatism is on the policy level and what we need to prioritize in order to make progress in public opinion and policy now that the election is over.
Here are my top three suggestions:
- Our primary purpose and #1 objective should be to honor the Constitution and impress its uniqueness and importance on the public. A good understanding of originalism would do more than any other political move we could make to bring about a conservative majority. This nation may still be center-right, but we are much more center than right. We must change this.
We need to make clear that the United States has always prided ourselves as being a nation ruled by law, and not by men. This made us different than any other country, at least at the time of our founding and, to all practical purposes, makes us unique still today. Our Constitution is the supreme law of the land, and thus deserves our complete respect and compliance.
We need to hammer on the fact that change can and, at times, should be made to our Constitution; but it must be performed correctly by the amendment process. Just like the Bible, the Constitution is not open to private interpretation. That by itself would be sufficient to bring about smaller government, cut taxes, end gun control, and help resolve a host of other issues. However, it also means that certain issues dear to many conservatives may not be addressed on a federal level. The War on Drugs, gambling regulations, etc should be done on a local to state level if they are necessary – not by Congress or the courts.
- We need to encourage a respect for human life – all life, not just the unborn baby, but the old, the sick, everyone. Our culture has lost a concept of the uniqueness of human life and we have to turn this around. Whether by religious or scientific arguments (or preferably both), we have to protect the sanctity of human life. The Republican platform needs to preserve the pro-life plank that we currently have and it wouldn’t hurt to make it stronger.
A strong priority should be to overturn RvW and Planned Parenthood vs. Casey. We need to educate the public that this will not in itself ban abortion, but will return it to its proper federalist domain of the states. By this, we can appeal to both the strongly pro-life group and the moderately pro-abortion, but still federalist, crowd.
- The virtues of free-market capitalism need to be proclaimed from every bully pulpit we can reach. The man on the street has to realize that the government is not, and can never be, your mommy and daddy if any semblance of freedom is desired. We and our congressional Republicans have failed miserably at this the last few years, and it has killed us. We have to explain that under capitalism not everyone will succeed and be filthy rich, but that everyone has the chance to make of themselves what they will. You are only limited by yourself, but the responsibility is yours to do your best. The advantages of that over a nanny state should be obvious to anyone of reasonable intelligence and the others probably aren’t worth bothering with in any case.
There are many other subjects that we will have to address over the next 2-4 years, but those are among the top priorities in my opinion. For the conservatives here, I would like to hear your opinions and what you might add or change.