As a Christian I believe that every human life is sacred and that God has designed a purpose for each of us as an individual. As a conservative, my aim is to preserve the traditions of our American heritage that emphasize this point. Unfortunately, for several years now the term conservative has been construed to mean a vision of society as a collective rather than as free individuals. What was meant to be a society that cherished Christian and traditional values such as hard work and productivity, individual freedom, personal responsibility and humility, has been twisted to convey that the virtues of charity, compassion, community, humility and generosity must be forced upon society for its own good.
The debates between the two major parties concerning public policy haven’t been debates at all. For the most part the leadership of both parties accepts the notion that whatever dilemma or moral crises has arisen, government simply must do something. For all of their rhetoric condemning unconstitutional government and reckless spending by the President and his party, the GOP leadership is hardly in a position to cast the first stone.
From the economy to social issues, Americans must once again understand the principle that virtue cannot be coerced but can only exist in a state of free will.
Christians in particular should take this to heart as our Lord and Savior, though being wholly God and wholly man never forced anyone to follow Him. Why? Because repentance and humility like all virtues are a matter of individual conscience and require the ability to choose.
This does not mean as conservatives, Christians or traditionalists that we must sit idly by as our leaders and society drift from our founding principles but to the contrary it demands that we take action to educate and to change the ideas that have brought us to bankruptcy, statism, greed, corruption and immorality. The question is how should this battle be fought? It should be waged by persuasion, activism and living by example.
Our traditions and values cannot be saved by the whims of politicians and bureaucrats-this is something any conservative worth his salt has always understood. Instead individuals in homes, churches, and communities should strive to hold our “leaders’” feet to the fire whether they be at the local, state or federal level.
Our Constitution mandates that government act to serve the people, not to command them or dictate their lives. To restore our constitutional republic that cherishes individual freedom, property rights, free trade and personal responsibility, conservatives must once again embrace the truism that power (no matter how well-intended) tends to corrupt and that absolute power corrupts absolutely; thus government must be as decentralized and as local as possible so that individuals retain the rights to hold government accountable and to pursue virtue and excellence as they see fit.
As Christians we must heed Samuel’s warning in 1 Samuel 8 of the inherent corruption and tyranny that befalls governments and take C.S. Lewis’s admonition to heart:
“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”
It’s imperative that the individualism that gave birth to this country be reignited; not as an attempt to be selfish, uncaring or hedonistic but just the opposite. If we truly value virtue and seek to honor God, we must first understand that only the individual thinks and thus only the individual acts. In light of this, we must recognize that using government to dictate the economic or personal liberties of individuals is not a testament to our faith in God or our virtues as a nation, but a testament to our lack of them as we seek to supplant the sincere for the superficial.
The conservative and the Christian seek to maintain and promote traditional values. The individualist understands that only by way of individual conscience and example can such values be preserved with any sincerity. It’s time these principles were reunited.