What is a conservative?

 

Read a definition of a conservative today. One that I think is brilliant in its simplicity and right on the mark in its definition:

Allowing for differences I would define a conservative, first as one who believes in the Constitution as it is written. That takes care of free speech, freedom of religion, the right to petition the government, the right to keep and bear arms and, in the words of William O. Douglas in one of his saner moments, ‘the right to be let alone.’

Second, a conservative believes in small, limited government at every level. Along with this he believes strongly in individual responsibility. That is, a person or a family should take care of itself and turn for help to government only when all other means have been exhausted. It also means that society, before government, has a duty to take care of its own. Government should be a resource of last resort.

Third, a conservative believes that taxes should be levied for the purpose of financing the limited responsibilities of government such as providing for the common defense, catching and incarcerating criminals, minting money and filling potholes. Taxes should not be levied for the purpose of redistributing wealth.

That’s about it.

I know there are those who say a conservative should be pro-life, which I am, but I’m not sure a person has to be that to qualify as a conservative. Nor am I sure that a person must be opposed to pornography, which I am. In both cases there are questions of individual rights and responsibilities which are arguable.

One other thing I think a conservative believes is that the parents, not government, are and should be responsible for the upbringing and behavior of their children.

This was written by the late, great Lyn Nofziger, a senior advisor to President Reagan and one of the premier conservative thinkers of my lifetime.

 

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