The battle lines for liberty in America today are clear: on one side we have Establishment Republicans and Democrats and on the other side we have conservatives. This is the battle that all conservatives need to put all of our focus into. We must defeat “comprehensive immigration reform.”
Our message must be clear and compassionate. I don’t want to see millions of families deported from our country. Families are the most important constituency of conservatives, and this includes the millions of hispanic families who have illegally moved to this country in search for the American Dream.
In order to win this battle conservatives don’t need to support miss deportations, instead here is the message I would promote.
Stop Illegal Immigration – Our borders need to be secure. We have to stop illegal immigration in order to have a liberal, ordered legal immigration policy.
Increase Legal Immigration – Legal immigration is good for our country. Immigrants tend to be the hardest working Americans. They are fleeing their failed countries because there are not jobs for them to support their families. They are coming here to work, and their industriousness is good for our country. The conservative solution must be to create a more ordered immigration policy that legally allows the best immigrants to come to join our American society.
No Guest Worker Program – At a time of high unemployment, it would be unconscionable to hurt America’s poor, unskilled workers by making the compete with cheap, immigrant labor. We need to create jobs for Americans who don’t want to become white collar workers. And today, many of these construction, landscaping and service jobs are being filled by illegal workers. I don’t believe these illegal workers are the enemy: they are here because they want a piece of the American Dream for themselves, and I don’t blame them. But through a more liberal legal immigration policy, we can ensure legal immigrants have a process to follow to come legally, and we can control the numbers so that wages rise for all Americans. A temporary guest worker program is solely a benefit for Big Business to suppress wages.
Conservatives might disagree with me on increasing legal immigration, but I believe that if we want to fundamentally change illegal immigration debate, this policy proposal has to be part of proposal. Let’s invite foreign college graduates to become permanent members of our society. Let’s invite all hard workers to legally become members of our society.
Once the borders are secured, then we should devise a plan to allow the illegal immigrants here today to legally apply for legal status. But, if they want to become citizens, they will need to go through the legal immigration process and compete with the legal immigrants around the world who want to become Americans.
Conservatives must stop the Establishment Republicans from caving into Big Business. We must demand that the border be secure. We must propose an increase in legal immigration. We must fight the temporary guest worker program. That is a winning message for the conservative cause.
John Trumbull, one of America’s greatest painters, painted the masterpiece above. Trumbull understood the significance of the moment captured forever on this canvas, and today this masterpiece hangs in the Rotunda of Congress as a symbol of America’s devotion to civilian control over the military.
The Great Works of American Conservatism series highlights the writings, speeches, and art that have had the most influence on American Conservatism from its inception through the present. John Trumbull’s General George Washington Resigning His Commission is certainly one of these Great Works of American Conservatism.
In a future post, I will discuss the significance of General Washington’s resignation and the speech he gave that day, but for now let’s admire the painting for its own worth. Trumbull captures the solemnity of General Washington’s resignation of his military commission to the Continental Congress sitting in Annapolis, Maryland on December 23, 1783. The revolutionary war was won, America gained its independence from Great Britain after nine devastating years of war, and General Washington was the most powerful man in America.
George Washington could have chosen a much different path. He could have been the King of the United States of America; the people probably would have been happy to coronate him immediately. But instead, Washington had a vision of a republican America. A vision where free men and women had the power to elect their own representatives. Trumbull’s painting memorializes the day that America proved to the world that a military hero could relinquish power in the name of liberty.
Here is a list of conservative newspapers from around the country. If you know of a conservative newspaper that is not on the list, please tell me about it in the comments below! I would love to add it to this list.
Democrat-Gazette (unfortunately the site has a pay wall)
District of Columbia
Here is this week’s Video of the Week–George Will is interviewed by Reason.com. Will discusses his movement towards libertarianism, which I will define as American Conservatism (check out my article defining American Conservatism). I really like George Will’s libertarian conservatism. His movement towards a more libertarian government is due to the faults he sees within Washington as opposed to a belief that libertarianism is a utopian philosophy. I would love to hear your thoughts on libertarian conservatism in the comments below. Let’s have a dialogue.
There is one book above all others that has influenced American Conservatism more than all other books —The Book of Genesis. As such The Book of Genesis is fitting beginning for this series: The Great Works of American Conservatism.
The Great Works of American Conservatism highlights the writings, speeches, and art that have had the most influence on American Conservatism from its inception through the present. Some of the Great Works will be the writings that influenced our Founding Fathers and others will be more recent works that are influencing present-day American Conservatism.
When I sat down to outline the great works that have influenced American society, and conservatism in particular, I had to start with The Book of Genesis. This book forms the foundation for the Christian worldview and the bedrock of American Conservatism.
While Genesis is just one of sixty-six books of The Bible, it along with the Gospels has influenced Christianity, Judaism and American Conservatism more than any other book. In fact, the root of the Christian worldview springs from the first three chapters of The Book of Genesis.
But before we continue let me address this point – while all conservatives are not Christians, the Christian worldview has and continues to influence conservatism. The Christian worldview is at the heart of American Conservatism. Now that I have addressed this issue, let’s explore the Christian worldview.
The foundation of the Christian worldview is formed from Mose’s writings in Genesis. There are three principles that form the base of the Christian worldview – Creation, the Fall, and Redemption. The first two of these principles are derived from Chapters1 – 3 of Genesis. The last pillar of the Christian worldview, Redemption, will be covered in a later edition of Great Works of American Conservatism.
Genesis 1 – The Beginning
The Christian worldview is born out of the words, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” and “God created mankind in his own image.” From these two sentences, a profound worldview is created.
- God is the creator of the world and all of its creatures.
- Everything that exists has been created by God.
- Because God created everything, everything belongs to God: He is sovereign.
- The order of life and human nature is defined by God.
- God is the source of morality, justice, beauty and reasoning.
- There is truth—God’s truth.
- Because God is the creator, He deserves obedience.
- Since man is created in the image of God, all men are equal in the eyes of God and all men have inalienable rights given by God.
While all conservatives might not be Christians, they can’t argue that these principles have not formed the basis of conservatism and The United States of America. The principles are at the heart of our Declaration of Independence and Constitution.
Unfortunately for mankind, the Book of Genesis does not end at Chapter 2. Man rebels against God, and our world has suffered the consequence of our rebellion ever since.
Genesis 3 – The Fall
The third chapter of Genesis forms the second pillar of the Christian worldview—man has rebelled against God, and due to this rebellion we are unable to understand the totality of God’s world and the way He wants the world to operate. We cannot fix the world without His help. We cannot fix this world without His help. Only he has the power to change man’s heart to once again be in communion with Him.
Before the Fall, the world God created was perfect, or put another way, the world was exactly as God wanted it. But because of our rebellion, we corrupted the world and mankind. Our sin corrupts are minds, morality and beliefs. Our sin causes us to suffer emotional and physical pain.
Due to the Fall, mankind cannot make the world perfect. Until God usher’s in his new kingdom, mankind cannot create a perfect world.
This worldview forms the essence of many conservative beliefs. First, conservatives believe that we cannot fix the world with manmade utopian schemes. Second, conservatives believe that because mankind is not perfect, government is needed to protect our inalienable rights.
Below I have provided the first three chapters of The Book of Genesis. Whether you are Christian or not, I encourage you to read these three chapters, and think about how these few words have influenced America.
King James Version (KJV)
1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
4 And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.
5 And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
6 And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.
7 And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.
8 And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.
9 And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.
10 And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.
11 And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.
12 And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
13 And the evening and the morning were the third day.
14 And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:
15 And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so.
16 And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.
17 And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth,
18 And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good.
19 And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.
20 And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.
21 And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
22 And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth.
23 And the evening and the morning were the fifth day.
24 And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.
25 And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
29 And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.
30 And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.
31 And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.
2 Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.
2 And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.
3 And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.
4 These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens,
5 And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the Lord God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground.
6 But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground.
7 And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
8 And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.
9 And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
10 And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads.
11 The name of the first is Pison: that is it which compasseth the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold;
12 And the gold of that land is good: there is bdellium and the onyx stone.
13 And the name of the second river is Gihon: the same is it that compasseth the whole land of Ethiopia.
14 And the name of the third river is Hiddekel: that is it which goeth toward the east of Assyria. And the fourth river is Euphrates.
15 And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.
16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:
17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
18 And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.
19 And out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.
20 And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.
21 And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;
22 And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.
23 And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.
24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.
25 And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.
3 Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?
2 And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:
3 But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.
4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:
5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.
7 And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.
8 And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden.
9 And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?
10 And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.
11 And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?
12 And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.
13 And the Lord God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.
14 And the Lord God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:
15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
16 Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.
17 And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;
18 Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;
19 In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.
20 And Adam called his wife’s name Eve; because she was the mother of all living.
21 Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins, and clothed them.
22 And the Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:
23 Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken.
24 So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.
Zondervan (2011-01-09). Holy Bible (NIV) (Kindle Locations 1879-1886). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.
Several people have asked me why I use “American Conservatism” as a category heading instead of just conservatism. I use the term because American Conservatism is a one of a kind, unique political philosophy. It is a strange synthesis of philosophies respecting God, human dignity, liberty, the rule of law, order, individual freedom and equality. American Conservatism is a radically liberal philosophy.
There is no other country in the world that has combined the political beliefs of men as diverse in political thought as Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, George Washington, Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King and Ronald Reagan. Only in America have we had the ingredients to combine these all up to create American Conservatism.
At the time of the American Founding, our founding fathers were radical liberals. They believed that since men and women were created in the image of God, everyone of them had God-given human dignity. From this human dignity, all men had the right to self-government through the creation of a Republic.
Many people want to link American conservatism with European conservatism, but these people don’t truly understand American Conservatism. Unlike European Conservatism, American Conservatism is fundamentally transformed by America’s embrace of republicanism.
This small “r” republicanism is defined by the belief that men have the right and ability to govern themselves. Our founding fathers liberated the western world from the notion that only aristocratic monarchs and the members of their court can rule mankind. Americans became citizens as opposed to subjects, and this transformation created a completely new flavor of conservatism—American Conservatism.
While European Conservatism is associated with aristocracy, American Conservatism is democratic. While European conservatism emphasizes order over individual rights, American conservatism values order, but individual liberty and freedom usually trump the desire for order. While European Conservatism creates classes of men, American Conservatism cherishes equality which has created an almost classless society in America.
American Conservatism has a great tradition, and many European conservative thinkers, like Edmund Burke and Alexis de Tocqueville, have influenced this tradition, but republicanism forever sets American Conservatism apart. This steadfastness to republicanism has created our radical American conservatism.
My friends over at Absolute Rights have found a great quote from John Adams. By signing the Declaration of Independence men were risking everything they owned and life itself. If they lost the battle for independence they would be hanged. John Adams realized the peril they were in, and he provided a great speech to solidify the resolve of the colonials.
Sink or swim, live or die, survive or perish, I give my hand and my heart to this vote. It is true, indeed, that in the beginning we aimed not at independence. But there’s a Divinity which shapes our ends. . . . Why, then, should we defer the Declaration? . . . You and I, indeed, may rue it. We may not live to the time when this Declaration shall be made good. We may die; die Colonists, die slaves, die, it may be, ignominiously and on the scaffold.
Be it so. Be it so.
If it be the pleasure of Heaven that my country shall require the poor offering of my life, the victim shall be ready. . . . But while I do live, let me have a country, or at least the hope of a country, and that a free country.
But whatever may be our fate, be assured . . . that this Declaration will stand. It may cost treasure, and it may cost blood; but it will stand and it will richly compensate for both.
Through the thick gloom of the present, I see the brightness of the future as the sun in heaven. We shall make this a glorious, an immortal day. When we are in our graves, our children will honor it. They will celebrate it with thanksgiving, with festivity, with bonfires, and illuminations. On its annual return they will shed tears, copious, gushing tears, not of subjection and slavery, not of agony and distress, but of exultation, of gratitude and of joy.
Sir, before God, I believe the hour is come. My judgment approves this measure, and my whole heart is in it. All that I have, and all that I am, and all that I hope, in this life, I am now ready here to stake upon it; and I leave off as I began, that live or die, survive or perish, I am for the Declaration. It is my living sentiment, and by the blessing of God it shall be my dying sentiment, Independence now, and Independence forever.
I encourage you to check out the Absolute Rights website.
Here are some of my thoughts:
1. Humanity above politics – We must always put our humanity above winning political points. I learned a powerful lesson after the Sandy Hook shooting; I didn’t like not being able to grieve in peace for the loss of those children. I was shocked and heartsick after the shooting; I found myself hugging my children all the time; I was so grateful to God for giving them to me. But my natural grieving process was interrupted by attacks on my political beliefs. Instead of being able to come to terms with this tragedy, I was immediately bombarded with attacks on my political beliefs.
I learned a lesson from this. Let’s be humane to one another. The next time tragedy strikes allow people to grieve and heal. There will be plenty of time for policy discussions once the tears recede.
2. Gun control initiatives only control law abiding citizens – This is nothing new, but it is true. Unless all guns are banned and destroyed, outlaws will always have access to guns to commit their crimes.
3. I want to own guns to protect my other rights – I am not a hunter, and I am not moved by liberals “moderate” position of allowing certain hunting guns in the market. I want to protect the second amendment so that I can protect my rights under the first, second, third, fourth, fifth…amendments.
I hope you enjoy this video.
When George W. Bush declared that he was a Compassionate Conservative during his 2000 presidential campaign, conservatives around the country mocked the use of the word “compassionate.” They protested that the use of such word implied that conservatism wasn’t naturally compassionate. In fact, I also was complacent. But I now admit that such complacency was dead wrong.
The Republican Party’s problem is not demographics, outdated principles or America’s love of liberalism; the problem is that too many Americans don’t trust Republicans.
Too many Americans don’t believe that Republicans actually care about their well-being. And, while many of us hardcore conservatives feel uncomfortable talking about this touchy feely stuff, we must if we want to win back America’s trust.
I would go as far to say that even if the people know that Republican policies are better than Democrat policies, people won’t vote Republican if they don’t think the Republicans care about them.
The Republicans must correct this perception problem.
This is not an easy problem to fix, especially considering Republicans believe in limited government. But we must demonstrate our trustworthiness and compassion consistently and repeatedly. We have to show Americans that we are the party that cares in addition to being the party with the correct ideas.
So how can we fix this problem?
Republicans must focus on the protection of the American family. Family is the heart and soul of America, and family is the heart and soul of conservatism. If we want a limited government, we need healthy families. Healthy families teach children the values necessary for a healthy democracy—honesty, industriousness, civility, compassion, justice and personal-responsibility. Healthy families reduce the need for criminal law enforcement. Healthy families bring people out of poverty.
There is nothing more conservative than protecting the American family.
But we can’t just talk about the value of families. We need a pro-family legislative agenda. Unless we have an agenda that proactively help families, we will lose votes.
The family must become our targeted constituency. When we win the trust of the American family, we will win election after election.