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  • What a Conservative Isn't

       September 03, 2006

    As a conservative, not a Republican, I deal with a lot of misconceptions about what a conservative really is. Too many people think conservatives are religious. That they're devoted to tough "law and order" policies. That they want to impose their morals on society. But the most common misconception of conservatives is that they think people are generally rotten. As a commentor over on Althouse says:

    The reason why more conspiracy theorists are from the left is because it is a common notion on the left that man is generally "good" except for the elites, who are evil. Therefore those on the left support things like voting without ID, because they assume the evil elites are trying to thwart the good intentions of the comman citizen. Along the same lines, those on the left will excuse "evil behavior" by non elites as being a product of social ills (caused by elites) and not of the individual. In contrast, conservatives generally believe all people are sinners, which is why we need rules and regulations to keep all people honest.

    I think he has it backwards. True conservatives don't want more regulations, they want less. In some cases, sure, they're counting on the market, not the best intentions of man, to hold things together. But other conservative policies clearly depend on the "better angels of our nature". Think about it. Liberals want to take your money and redistribute it as they, the elite, see fit. Conservatives want to let you keep your money and trust that you will use it wisely. Liberals want to use the law to shape society because they're sure people won't do the right thing on their own (example--affirmative action). Liberal educators don't just want to teach reading, writing & arithmetic, they want to affect children's worldview. Conservatives would reserve that right for parents.

    I'm not sure that liberals think that people are rotten, but I do think many of them believe that people are stupid and can't be trusted. True conservative policy, on the other hand, depends on the belief that people are smart enough to act in their own best interests and good enough to be valuable members of a loosely ruled society.

    Posted by at September 3, 2006 12:32 PM

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    #  September 4th, 2006 9:38 PM      thegameiam
    You're missing part of the point - conservatives strongly believe in rights to property and self-determination, but also believe that evenhanded regulation is necessary to keep playing fields level.  



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