A Shot At Defining Conservatism

We are thinking heavily here about how to present a systematic approach to understanding what we call “Conservatism”.  Just this week, a fellow Iowa blogger Albert Bregar penned his thoughts at Red County Polk County and Iowa Defense Alliance.

Albert provides an excellent start with a view to how many of us think about defining the way conservatives see the world today (okay, such a view would include “Ronald Reagan came back for more”).  We will certainly start looking around blogdom and start collecting a list of such statements as “Smaller Government” and build them into a resource. 

But in stating the conservative view of today’s world, we do limit ourselves to more of a statement of “how does conservative thinking apply to today’s issues”.  What I hope we may eventually find is more of a basis for conservative thought.  It’s great to say we think market disciplines should rule the economy, and smaller government is the best government, but why do we say those things?  Hopefully not because Sean Hannity or Rush Limbaugh said so.  Rather because we can reach back to a set of abstract ideas (we’ve called them “principles”, as has Fred Thompson) that provides more of a timeless view to base our conservative policies upon.

We will be seeking such principles as well.   Since Fred took down the page where he had them displayed at his campaign web site, I’m not sure if he is restricting access to the content or wants to start over.  So instead of actually using his to start with, let us try to build our own from scratch. 

And you can help. 

Take a particular policy position, and try to establish why it is correct in absence of the circumstance… in other words, why is it right?  Or, we can also just begin identifying such principles as they seem to be meaningful.  Go ahead and try, and leave one (or more) as a comment. 

For example, a principle might be stated as “The assets and obligations of a country are owned by and are the responsibility of the people of that country”.  Policies tied to such a principle would include how decisions are made about spending and debt, such as how much money the country will borrow to accomplish what it wants to do.  Others might include open access to national parks, taxation, and decisions about how to spend money and how to care for assets.  And accountability.

To Be Continued…

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Some may have noticed we’ve been offline a few days.  Please be patient, but we will likely not post much for the next couple of weeks because of some family matters.  By mid-December, we hope to be back up to daily posts again.

Thanks for your patience and your continued reading!

Update (Art): Added link to IDA web site.

About the Author

Mr. Smith is the Publisher of The Conservative Reader. He is Partner/Owner of Ambrosia Web Technology as well as a Systems Architect for Wells Fargo. Art hold a degree in Computer Science from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, and is a political blogger at the Des Moines Register. Art's views are purely his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Wells Fargo.

 

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  1. abregar | Nov 25, 2008 at 11:45 pm | Reply

    Thanks for the nod Art. FYI, that post is also on IDA.

  2. Art Smith | Nov 29, 2008 at 12:03 pm | Reply

    I updated the piece to reflect links to Albert’s post on both sites.

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  1. From A Shot At Defining Conservatism | BitsBlog | Nov 27, 2008 at 10:16 am 

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