For my first article on Don’t Tread, I think that it is appropriate to define the purpose of American conservatism because this purpose doubles as the purpose for this site.
At its heart, the purpose of the conservative movement in America is to preserve the principles for which the United States was founded. Conservatives deeply value the beliefs of our Founding Fathers and believe that these beliefs are worth protecting.
So, what are these founding principles that conservatives cherish?
1. Individual Liberty – Thomas Jefferson in The Declaration of Independence defined individual liberty as the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. This means that every individual life is valuable and everybody has the right to create his own destiny.
2. Equality – Every man deserves the same rights as every other man.
3. Inalienable Rights – Man receives his rights by being human, not by being a citizen of Government. God has created man, and He has endowed us with these inalienable rights.
4. Religious Liberty – America was founded by deeply religious people. From the pilgrims, colonists of Jamestown, to the Founding Fathers themselves, America was a safe haven to practice one’s religion. Religious liberty goes hand and hand with individual liberty.
5. Limited Government – Limited government is necessary to protect individual rights. The more power the Government obtains, the more likely it will infringe our liberties. Power corrupts.
6. Individualism Over Collectivism – I am not sure the extent our Founding Fathers thought about collectivism, but inherent the totalitarianism of the 20th Century
- Individual liberty;
- Equality; and
- The right to pursue his own desired life.
With the principles defined, it is government’s obligation to promote life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. And, that is where conservatism comes into play. The purpose of American conservatism is to promote public policies that protect these principles.