What Conservatives Believe F.L.I.N.T.

Bennett, William J. — America the Strong

Free Enterprise

Conservatives recognize that free enterprise—or capitalism, as it’s also known—is the best system the world has ever seen for creating jobs and good living conditions. It has lifted countless millions of people out of poverty and made their lives better.

The liberty we enjoy is closely connected to free enterprise. At its best, free enterprise makes possible the liberty we have to choose our own paths, to work toward our goals and dreams. Free enterprise brings the opportunity to obtain property, whether it be a home, a car, or a new pair of shoes. No one is really free without being able to retain the fruits of his or her own labor.

Limited Government

Conservatives support the principle of limited government. That means government powerful enough to protect people’s rights and vigorous enough to help make the country a better place, but not so powerful that it keeps sticking its nose into people’s business and stepping on their liberties.

The founders realized that over time governments have a natural tendency to assume greater power and exert more control over people. “Power whether vested in many or a few is ever grasping,” Abigail Adams wrote, “and like the grave cries give, give.” In framing the Constitution, the founders did their best to set up checks and balances to curb government’s power.

Individual Liberty

The Declaration of Independence states that all people are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, including the right to liberty. Our right to liberty does not come from government. It is a gift from God. Government’s job is to protect that right.

If you look back at history, you realize that most people never got to enjoy much freedom. Most of the world’s history is one of rule by kings, emperors, dictators, and governments that told people how they must live. That’s still true today in many parts of the world. Liberty is a rare and precious thing, and conservatives are mindful that we must never take it for granted.

National Defense

Conservatives have tremendous admiration and gratitude for the United States military. Like most Americans, they place more confidence in it than any other national institution.

To be a conservative is to grasp that men and women in the US armed forces are engaged in a noble effort. When citizens enter the military, they enter an organization pledged to defend the lives of others. They live and perhaps die for other people.

We owe our liberty and our existence as a country to the US military. It is the greatest defender of freedom in the world. There have been times when America has made mistakes with its armies, and even committed grave injustices. But overall the world is a much better place because of the American soldier, and it’s a much safer place because our military is strong.

Traditional Values

When conservatives stake out a position on an issue, you can count on it often being one that seeks to preserve traditional values. For example, conservatives are strong advocates for freedom of religion, not just because they tend to be religious themselves, but because faith is the anchor of morality for most Americans. Most religions make us better people.

Family is another institution that conservatives strongly support. It has been said that the family is the first and original Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. It’s where the first and most important moral training takes place.

Conservatives expect schools to be parents’ allies in character training. Good schools teach about right and wrong. They make sure students learn math and history, but they also help students become honest, hardworking, fair-minded people who love their country.

Patriotism is an example of a traditional value that conservatives promote. American conservatives believe that patriotism—love of country—is a virtue that leads us to improve our homeland and that the United States deserves our love and gratitude (as well as our willingness to criticize it when deserved).

The Declaration of Independence says that all of us are endowed by our Creator with an unalienable right to life. Most conservatives believe that children in the womb have that right.

Conservatives understand that culture shapes and reflects people’s values. Music, art, books, movies, television shows, websites—they all send messages about right and wrong, about acceptable and unacceptable behavior. It makes a big difference whether the culture is sending messages that marriage is a serious and sacred matter and that doing drugs is dangerous and wrong, or whether it sends messages that no one expects marriages to last and that smoking weed is fine. Traditional values have a hard time surviving if the culture is at war with them.

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