Thursday, July 25, 2013

Why I am a Conservative

When I asked my grandfather if he was a conservative or a liberal, he answered that he was conservative on some issues because he believed certain things should be kept the same, and he was liberal on other issues because he believed certain things should be changed.

The terms "liberal" and "conservative" are, after all, very relative. "Liberal" in Soviet Russia would have implied a switch to capitalism. "Conservative" in Iran can mean restricting the right to practice religion freely. Some conservatives (like George Wallace) once wanted to keep American schools segregated. Some liberals (like John Reed) once pushed for a communist revolution in our country. Neither view is widely held today.

The Constitution included a brilliant system to ensure the correct balance of liberalism and conservatism. Americans elect officials who decide which parts of our government are obsolete, and which continue to be relevant today. In addition, certain programs are added to keep up with the changing world. When the American people believe one party has gone too far, they elect the other into power.

These days, the terms "liberal" and "conservative" have come to mean something slightly different from what my grandfather described. To put it concisely, liberals want the government to do more. Conservatives want the government to do less.

Had I lived in the days of Jefferson or Lincoln, perhaps I would have been a liberal under the new definition. But today, I think the government is already far larger than it was ever intended to be.

In the posts that will follow, I will explain exactly why I consider myself a 21st-Century "Conservative." My views may differ from other conservatives, and some of my views may not be conservative at all. My opinions on issues may change because circumstances change and our understanding of the issues also changes. 

I don't know all the answers. If we are to solve any problems in our country, each of us has to recognize that sometimes we're right, and sometimes we're wrong. We have to be willing to see the other point of view.

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