Monday, January 05, 2009

Why I Am A 'Conservative'
By Harris R. Sherline
December 15, 2008

It's no surprise, I'm sure, that I am a registered Republican. However, I consider myself more a "conservative" than a Republican. For me, it's more about principles and values than it is about political party. I don't have a particularly strong allegiance to the Republic Party, whereas I am an avid believer in Conservatism. If a true "Conservative" party were to emerge, I would change my registration in an instant.

That said, my reasons for being a "Conservative" are primarily based on what I believe are the differences in the core beliefs of Liberal and Conservative adherents, which are founded on their respective philosophies about human nature, what motivates people, and how to best organize the economic activity of societies.

Liberals generally tend to believe it is wrong for people to accumulate wealth or to have income substantially in excess of their individual needs. Their core concept is that, in general, everyone should derive the same or similar benefits from the available resources, which are finite, thus requiring government to be organized as a top down structure of decision-making. This in turn limits individual freedom of choice. They also believe societies work best when they are organized around this principle, with command and control authority concentrated at the top.

The most extreme example of this principle is Communism, which attempts to centralize all key production, pricing and distribution decisions about the millions of products and services that are made every day throughout a society. The failure of the USSR within a single century clearly proved that this doesn't work. Unfortunately, true believers don't see it that way, they just think the Soviets didn't do it right. On the other hand, Conservatives generally believe the best way to organize society is to allow maximum decision-making by individuals acting in their own self interest, as they themselves perceive it.

The primary difference between the two concepts is found in the degree of personal freedom and government control that each permits or requires. "Conservative" economic philosophy is based on the idea that people are motivated by self interest, while the economic (political) philosophy of Liberals is that individuals are (or should be) motivated by some higher standard.

Liberal economic models are based on the principle that the size of the economic pie is static, that those who are highly successful can only succeed at the expense of others, whereas Conservatives believe that the growth of the economy is based on increased productivity, which means the size of the economy is potentially unlimited.

Human nature leads people to act in their own self-interest. However, this does not mean self-interest is necessarily defined in economic terms. People also work for rewards other than money: power, position, status, security, even love or altruism. But whatever their individual motivation, it is always self-interest in one form or another.

The concept that in America we are all "created equal" is being perverted by Liberalism to mean equality of outcome, that everyone should derive the same or similar benefits from society. But, the world doesn't work that way. No two people are really "equal" in all respects. Some are smarter, better educated, shrewder, better looking, more personable, have more drive or ambition than others, and no form of government can alter that reality.

For true "conservatives" and for me personally, the most important core value is having the individual freedom to pursue our own happiness as we define it for ourselves, with a minimum of interference from government.


I really can't add anything to this. The author says it better than I could. 

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