Conservative Viewpoint and Misconceptions

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Conservative Viewpoint and Misconceptions

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What it means to be Conservative

Robert Ballentine, English Teacher

There are as many kinds of conservatives as there are kinds of liberals, but the core principles of Conservatism are clear, though they are interpreted many different ways.

1. The cornerstone of conservative belief is that the State exists to serve the interests of the individual. All State interests and functions must be for the individual, as reflected in Lincoln’s concept of “…government of the people, by the people, and for the people.” The State is the servant of the people, and conservatives live by Henry David Thoreau’s dictum, “That government is best which governs least.” Or, as Ronald Reagan said, “…government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem.” Individual freedom, devotion to “self-reliance” take precedence over the State and majority rule. The Founder of modern Conservatism was William F. Buckley. The most articulate living advocate for Conservatism is Rush Limbaugh.

2. Capitalism is the economic engine of Conservatism, and by extension, human freedom. We believe that individuals know best what is in their economic interest, and if State gets out of their way, the best interests of all are served. We believe that free enterprise creates individual freedom and prosperity, and that as the State interferes with my freedom to prosper, it interferes with all freedom and prosperity. I am entitled to all that I earn, and it is only with my permission that my wages be confiscated for the most essential of services, such as roads, schools, firehouses, prisons, and the military. We believe that wealth generates wealth, and a person is entitled to become as wealthy as he wishes, by honest means and effort; and to that end, taxes must remain low for all. Adam Smith and Ayn Rand best state classic and modern conservative economic theory.

3. Conservatives are strict Constitutionalists. “We, the People” is the Conservative legal motto, and the U.S. Constitution stands as the last defense against the abuses of State power. We therefore take a strict interpretation of law, in both its enforcement and interpretation. We believe that all people are basically good, and that, if left alone by government, they will do good; but it is a fact that we must live in a society of laws, and to that end, law exists to maintain the social order, and equal justice is a necessary ordering factor of civilized life. Strict enforcement of the law keeps us all safe. We support and respect police, who preserve and protect the public order.

4. Conservatives believe in a strong military, for the purpose of national defense. We recognize that there is evil in the world, and that wars are inevitable. To that end, we support a military so strong that any potential aggressor would think twice before attacking us, the defenseless, or our friends.

5. Most of all, we believe in sovereign American nationhood, and that each nation thrives best separate from other nations. As Americans, we believe that America is the best example of successful nationhood in history. To that end, everyone who has special knowledge, skill and values is welcome to legally ask permission to come to America; and everyone who has the desire to become an American, and achieve the Dream by hard work, is welcome here. We believe that President Trump’s philosophy of “America first” best benefits the world at-large–that America’s individual success is the model for the world.

Misconceptions about Conservative Values

Antonia Perakis, Junior

Many people believe that because I grew up in a conservative household, that is the reason I believe what I do. Although my family was a big influence due to our religious beliefs, politics are a personal topic that nobody can force someone else to believe. Different things may affect someone’s views, but it is something that a person decides on their own. Often times, conservatives are looked down upon due to stereotypes in society rather than what their personal beliefs are. They’re viewed as “homophobic,” “immigrant haters,” “anti-Mexican,” and that they “love their guns more than kids,” but in reality, that usually isn’t the case. It is very true that some conservatives are disrespectful and rude to people with opposing beliefs, but this is true about almost any group of people. Almost every group has a few disrespectful members who give the rest a bad reputation. Muslims, liberals, millennials, feminist, and Christians are given negative stereotypes. Muslims are thought to be threatening to America, liberals are too sensitive, millennials are lazy, feminists are men haters, Christians push religion onto others lives.

Common conservative stereotypes are that conservatives hate homosexuals, but this is very far from true. Disagreeing with gay marriage is completely different than hating the people themselves. I don’t treat people who are gay differently than I do straight people. That’s not the only issue that often leads to feuds between liberals and conservatives. There’s also the subject of immigration laws, gun laws, and abortion laws. Disagreeing with illegal immigration doesn’t mean that we don’t care about the immigrants or want any harm to them. We simply believe there should be a better way to help these people seek freedom and assistance in America while also ensuring they are legal and documented. There’s also the stereotype that we believe our second amendment rights are more important than the lives of children. Believing that people should have the right to bear arms does not mean we are helping school shootings or putting people’s lives in danger.

Although liberals are seen as the ones who stick up for themselves against unfair laws, conservatives are oftentimes seen as the ones that do the shunning. Conservatives are seen as judgmental people, but then the same people claiming we’re judging them will refuse to be friends with us after finding out we are Republicans.

It’s important to remember that not all conservatives are not judgmental, homophobic, or racist people who hate those different than them; if you are judging someone because they are a Republican, then you are the one excluding people, not them. Some Democrats claim that all they want is freedom, open-mindedness, and equality, yet when they meet someone with a different belief than them, they turn against them. Liberals encourage each other to speak their voice, but when conservatives do, it’s wrong. Many conservatives are afraid to speak out about their beliefs due to fear of being judged or labeled as a “homophobe” or “immigrant-hater.” Many people will claim to be accepting of anyone, despite religion, race, sexuality, or age, then they meet someone with different political beliefs than them, and refuse to respect them. It’s horrible to think that the people who claim to be accepting are the same ones who can’t stand to be around people with different beliefs. If you take anything away from this article, it should be this. One, to defend yourself and don’t disrespect someone or treat them differently because they have different beliefs. The other is to not believe stereotypes, some conservatives are judgmental, but not all, and the same is true for liberals.

I, Antonia Perakis, am a conservative. I may have different opinions than most and that’s okay; I am entitled to my opinion as you are to yours. Growing up in a liberal state, I have met many people with different beliefs than me. Trust me, I know that politics is a very personal and emotional topic that many people will get hurt over. However, in this world, there are going to be people with different beliefs than you, remember to always be nice, compassionate, and respectful of all people, despite what you think about their political points. Remember that if they are the ones who choose to cut you off because they can’t accept your different opinions, then they are the close minded ones and you don’t need them. Fight for what you believe. If you have different beliefs than me, I respect that., all I wish back is for the same respect I give you.