Thursday, January 31, 2013

Essay Contest Submission by Jon Jacobsmeyer

"How do Conservative principles impact the happiness and prosperity of all Americans?"

by Jon Jacobsmeyer

            I have lived a long and wonderful life up to this point.  I have traveled all over this planet and seen many different cultures and experienced life as other people live it.  One thing that always thrills me is the desire to return home to America and enjoy what we all take for granted.  It is with this in mind that I question the title of this essay.  Having happiness and Prosperity is a desire of all people, not just Americans and Conservatism is a cornerstone for achieving those things.

            I truly believe that this country has been blessed and watched over since it came into existence.  The so-called “Founding Fathers”, who framed the constitution and set the foundation upon which this Nation was built, did no more than put into writing their conservative values and practices which had allowed them to prosper in this new land of opportunity.  Those values were based on one fundamental belief, that hard work and taking care of oneself would lead to a better life.  This was the basic truth that the pioneers took with them as they forged into the wilderness where there was no one else to call upon for help.  It was the pride of each of them that kept them going, building homes, plowing fields, raising children, and providing food and clothing for their families that gave them the strength to overcome the hardships of frontier life.  Were they happy?  Extremely so!  They lived close to each other and joyed in each others accomplishments.  They might have only had one room and a dirt floor, but they had neighbors that would help them when they needed it.  It was mutual survival.  It was what made Americans so strong.  It was the “I can do it myself” attitude that carried them through life, needing very little from anyone else to make them happy.

            And now to the present.  We are no longer a happy nation.  We have Politicians that are trying to promote “Class Warfare” between the well to do and everyone else.  We have a government that has grown so large that we are on the verge of bankruptcy trying to make everyone equally wealthy without the investment of effort and hard work.  It’s a fool’s paradise to think that we deserve to get everything our neighbors have without having to walk in their moccasins.  The conservative principle of self reliance is fundamental to achieving prosperity and happiness.  The founding Fathers knew this fact and granted very limited power to the Federal Government.  The States would decide what was best for their citizens because it was the citizens who elected their representatives.  That made it much more important to be elected in the local and state elections than going to Washington and sitting in Congress.  Federal elections now cost millions and it is expected that whoever wins will be set for life after only one term weather they do a good job or not. 

            It is said that every Millionaire was at one time bankrupt but went right out and tried again, and again, and again until he or she was successful.  It is these people that we should esteem and seek to be like.  Not some sports figure that gets millions to play a game for us or a Lotto winner who spends all the money quickly and dies poor.  

            It has always been my philosophy of life that, “if I had enough money to do the things that I want, when I want, then I am rich”.  If only we could get the government to practice conservatism we would not have to worry for our grandchildren having to pay off the national debt, if that is in fact possible.  Think of the benefits of having a balanced budget, not owing foreign countries massive amounts of money.  That would truly be a sign of having a happy country.  Some of that money could be used to take better care of our veterans and older citizens.  We could pave our highways, rebuild our bridges, find jobs for the unemployed, etc. etc.   Our government spends entirely too much money foolishly and expects the citizens to foot the bill without question.  Our schools, for the most part, no longer teach the fundamentals of science and math which allow our kids to find jobs in industry.  We have become a nation of, “it’s okay as long as the kids feel good about themselves”, rather than promoting ethics and hard work to foster a feeling of accomplishment and self reliance.

            We are now a nation where we are ignored by the people we elect to govern us.  We have become a people with our hands out, begging for something that we don’t have to work for.  It is a sickness that will eventually cause this great nation to crash into second class status and be dictated to by some nation that has grown stronger or richer than us.  The future isn’t bright for our kids unless we return to the conservative principles that started this great nation.  Hard work, self reliance, and most of all self responsibility for our own existence and happiness.  This is the path we should be taking and only then will prosperity return to make us strong again.  The principles haven’t changed in over two hundred years.  What’s changed is that we’ve become lazy and fall for phony get rich quick scams and that doesn’t promote happiness or prosperity.

            Perhaps it is our fate to sink into third world living conditions.  When only a small percentage of the citizens even bother to vote, the principle of self determination and self reliance falls by the wayside.  Wake up America or doom your kids and grandkids to a lifestyle we have seen in other countries where the Government controls everything.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Essay Contest Submission by Joseph Cieslewicz

"How do Conservative principles impact the happiness and prosperity of all Americans?"

by Joseph Cieslewicz
            
             How do Conservative principles impact the happiness and prosperity of all Americans? This question is best answered with the principles upon which the founding fathers built our nation. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”[1] Conservative principles protect and promote these rights, ensuring the opportunity of happiness and prosperity. Conservative principles promote American happiness and prosperity by ensuring the freedoms of individual happiness, morality, and self-government.

            Conservative Principles protect the idea of individual pursuit of happiness. The Declaration of Independence says that government exists to allow the people to pursue happiness. Every person has his or her own way of pursuing happiness, and the state cannot find a uniform way to create happiness. Jon Huntsman laid out the kind of government that conservatives try to create: “A state that is sincerely civil and respectful of each individual's pathway toward life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”[2] Not only is it wrong to deny individual pursuit of happiness, it is impossible to replace it. Governments that try to make their people happy always fail because the citizenry is unhappy.

            With the pursuit of happiness comes the principle of self-reliance. People who work to create their own life feel much more satisfied with that life. It is far better to act than to sit idly by and hope that the government can provide for you. Self-reliance and owning property are incentives to work harder, bringing greater prosperity to the individual and the society. When you are self-reliant, you are happier and more prosperous. This is why Ronald Reagan said that “The best social program is a productive job for anyone who’s willing to work.”[3]Socialist countries can never hope to have productive economies unless they allow capitalist principles. It is impossible to make everyone equal, but it is possible to give everyone equal opportunity. It is then up to individuals to use opportunity to pursue happiness.

            The economic prowess of America can be attributed to individuals’ willing to take risk along the path that pursues happiness and prosperity. Risks are never taken unless there is some kind of potential reward. Russell Kirk listed the incentives for prosperity and productivity in a free market: “To be able to retain the fruits of one’s labor; to be able to see one’s work made permanent; to be able to bequeath one’s property to one’s posterity; to be able to rise from the natural condition of grinding poverty to the security of enduring accomplishment; to have something that is really one’s own—these are advantages difficult to deny.”[4] By denying these rights, a government will be overthrown or find itself without any industrial, moral citizenry to govern and profit by. The principles of conservatism protect America from this fate.

            The first of Russell Kirk’s “Principles of Conservatism” is the belief in an enduring moral order. Conservatives proscribe smaller government because they believe that man can govern himself. There is such a thing as good and evil in the world, but each of us has a conscience to lead us to good. Some governments are established on the principle that man has no morality, and that government should fill that role. However, it is by operating on this presumption that the people actually lose their morality. Why? Robert Winthrop, Speaker of the U.S. House,explained that "Men, in a word, must necessarily be controlled either by a power within them or by a power without them; either by the Word of God or by the strong arm of man; either by the Bible or by the bayonet."[5] If you take away the inner power that rules man, you must replace it with a harsh ruling force. There is no question that people are happier when ruled by themselves. Everyone has a God-given right to choose right from wrong. This is a right that the state cannot deprive us of, and everyone becomes unhappy when the state tries.

            By trusting in human nature and allowing men to rule themselves through morals, you create a moral society. This is the type of society described by Jon Huntsman, where civility and respect protect the freedoms of all. Furthermore, this moral order that we all possess drives us to do good to others. This should relieve government of many of the pressures of caring for the populace. It also creates a society where people are happier. Plato taught that the inner harmony of the soul was important to the outer harmony of the commonwealth.[6]This “inner harmony” can be achieved through moral freedom and encouragement, but not by force.

            The beauty of conservatism is that while ensuring moral freedom, it provides a safeguard against those who make ill use of this freedom. Conservatives strongly support the common defense, without which a nation does not last long. Similarly, conservative principles support the right of each citizen to protect himself and his family. The right to bear arms is one of the principle American freedoms, guaranteed by the Constitution. Conservatism continues to protect this freedom and others against the forces of radical change.

            Conservative principles protect the American form of self-government. The constitution established a system that has held true for over two centuries. The Roman Republic likewise ruled peaceably for almost five centuries, balancing well the interests of the “common” plebeians and the “noble” patricians. However, the Roman Republic fell in a few short years because of those who thought quick change would bring about a better form of government. In reality, the new government took away the right of self-government and rarely served the true interests of anyone but the emperor and a handful of patricians.[7] This story provides a warning to all future republics. Russell Kirk voiced the conservative opinion on this matter when he said, “Conservatives are champions of custom, convention, and continuity because they prefer the devil they know to the devil they don’t know.”[8] Our system of government and social order in America have ensured prosperity and the pursuit of happiness. Change is an enormous risk with no clear benefit. Conservative principles protect the American people from the forces of radical change and preserve American self-government.

            Despite opposition, conservative principles continue to allow the happiness and prosperity of Americans today. America continues to be the land of economic opportunity and civil liberties. It is the land where all men and women can pursue happiness in their own way.However, these freedoms are not guaranteed. John Adams said, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”[9] Man will be ruled by his Bible or by a bayonet. Conservatives contend that man can and should be ruled by his own morals instead of by the force of another.

            Conservative principles impact the happiness and prosperity of all Americans by insuring the freedoms of individual happiness, morality, and self-government. In short, conservatism is the protection of those very freedoms for which this nation was formed. Without conservative principles, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness could not exist in America. It is impossible for the government to make people be happy and prosperous. Only individuals can do that for themselves.

[3] Ronald Reagan (July 1982) Remarks at a luncheon with local elected officials, Baltimore, Maryland as found here.
[4] Russell Kirk, “Ten Conservative Principles,” http://www.kirkcenter.org/index.php/detail/ten-conservative-principles/
[6] Plato, as explained here and here.
[7] Roman-empire.net, “The Roman Republic,” http://www.roman-empire.net/republic/rep-index.html
[8] Russell Kirk, “Ten Conservative Principles,” http://www.kirkcenter.org/index.php/detail/ten-conservative-principles/

Essay Contest Submission by Diana Smith

"How do Conservative principles impact the happiness and prosperity of all Americans?"

The Conservative Party
           
by Diana Smith

Many Americans enjoy knowing that the government does not have complete control. These are one of the many things that the Conservative Party brings to the table to ensure the happiness of Americans. There are two different parties, the Conservative and the Liberal. Generally the Conservative party focuses on personal responsibility and gives the freedom necessary to pursue their own goals.  In the conservative party they have made principals to act upon what they believe is better for Americans.

The conservative party wanted to estate these principals for the people of American so the government could not take complete control. The adoption of these principals happened in December of 1964. Throughout these ten principals there are statements that the conservative party hopes will better American lives. In 1824, Andrew Jackson made large debates over the issues and by this time there were a large number of citizens able to vote. In 1828 the number of voters grew tremendously due to the speeches of Andrew Jackson. The beginning of the Republican Party was first formed in 1854; however the Republicans first gained powers in 1860 when Republican president Abraham Lincoln was elected into office. 

            The Republican Party is also known as the “Conservative Party” because they favor traditional values and ideas. Over the course of many years the Conservative Party has gained strength for the presidents from their party being voted into office. One of the main reasons that they conservative party was created was to end the slavery going on in the nation. When the party was split into two by the slavery, the south being the opposing party because they wanted to keep slavery and the north were the people that supported this party. The party was very liked by the farmers and middle class men. The party won over the business men by backing and sounding money policies. In the 1930’s the party took a downfall because of the great depression. The Republican Party held many meetings for anti-slavery. Most of the meetings were held were held up north and they were working for the Kansas-Nebraska Bill, which stated the end to slavery and the uprising of the Republican Party. Over the course of hundreds of year the nation is still split between the Republican Party and the Democratic Party.

            The principals and the Party go hand in hand with the views of their people. Both the Liberal Party and the Conservative party have different beliefs. Many famous debate speeches focus around these two parties and their belief systems. Some of their beliefs are things such as abortion, education, gun control, health care and many others. When the nation disagrees it is usually because of one of these topics. Many Americans agree with these beliefs and that could apply to the happiness and prosperity of Americans. The Conservative Party helps with the freedom of Americans and the rights that are associated, so the government does not have complete control of the people. The people of America finally have a say in how the government runs our country and the Conservative party helps with that. 

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Essay Contest Submission by Kalissa Ivy Powers


"How do Conservative principles impact the happiness and prosperity of all Americans?"

By: Kalissa Ivy Powers

            Because Conservative principles are upholding the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence states ---- “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”----  

            In order to understand how the Conservative principles impact the happiness and prosperity of all Americans one need to know what some of the Conservative principles are.

 The Ten Commandments: God's law governs Nations as well as man.

            The Ten Commandments should be etched into our heart, mind, and daily behaviors. This creates a moral code where a society can best govern itself. Indulging in instant gratifications will bring crime and be detrimental to society.  Human rights are not given by government, they are automatic. We were given the rights by our Creator.

Gun Control

            “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”  The second Amendment gives people the right to bear arms.  When we lose the right to bear arms, we lose our freedom. As an example of what could happen when a government takes away our right to bear arms is like Nazi Germany. They lost all of their freedom.

National Defense

            The first duty of the federal government is to defend and protect all Americans from foreign threats. The mandate for our national leaders is to use whatever moral, which means they are allowed to create a path in our relations with foreign powers. Which is most likely to lead to increased security, prosperity and freedom for this nation.          

The first God given Right is Life.

            It is not right to take an innocent life. By doing this society devalues life, Which makes violence escalate, Already we've aborted over fifty millions babies in the past three decades. People start accepting euthanasia and doctor assisted suicide. Embryonic stem cell research, all killing life we are at the beginning of cloning human babies for the specific purpose of it killing them.

Small Government

            Small government is very important to Conservatives. Government should never get big enough to infringe on an individual's rights.

            The free market system, competitive capitalism, and private enterprise creates the greatest opportunities and increases a higher living standard for everyone. Collecting only top on revenue needed to fund the legitimate activities of a constitutionally limited government,  this allows for a lively, growing economy. Not creating government dependency, but creating increased revenue.

            In conclusion, the way Conservative principles impact the happiness and prosperity of all Americans is by giving us our freedom. Freedom is our right and it states that in the Constitution. That's what this country was built on. Also it limits government in our lives. It keeps from government running our life.  Life is a right. It has value, every person on this planet is valuable. Even the little baby in your stomach.
               

Essay Contest Submission by Rachel Burke

"How do Conservative principles impact the happiness and prosperity of all Americans?"

The Housing Debacle: An Illustration of how conservative principles impact the happiness and prosperity of all Americans by preserving value

by Rachel Burke, Midway, UT

Have you shopped for a home lately? 

If so, then you have probably seen first-hand a home that is gorgeous on the exterior, perhaps regally situated on a hillside or tucked endearingly by a stream, beckoning you with its wood cladding and stone masonry,  spacious three-car garage, and charming lawns and gardens.  With great anticipation, you eagerly open the door only to be greeted by what appears to be a crime scene:  walls used as punching bags, gaping holes where high-end appliances, fixtures, plumbing and electrical wiring used to be, smashed doors half off their hinges, and worse.

Who COULD do such a thing?  Who WOULD do it?  Why is this experience routine for any house-hunter today, yet virtually unheard of prior to the late 1980s?  ROBERT HANLEY, The New York Times, Published: July 30, 1990, wrote:  "Just months after the giddy boom years of the 1980's, with their rising home values, generous bank lending policies and firm optimism about the regional economy, banks have started declaring defaults on thousands of delinquent mortgages and forcing owners to scramble for new financing or face property losses.  Officials in the (NY metropolitan) region say they are stunned by the depth and suddenness of the increase in foreclosures."

Officials may have been "stunned," but  conservatives were not.  When banks were pressured to loan money to unqualified individuals; when individuals were allowed to buy homes with virtually no down payments or closing costs (thereby minimizing the individual's stake in his/her own home); when media and government officials convinced Americans that every one of us "deserves" to own a home (never mind that homes are in fact often owned by a mortgage holder, not a home"owner"; when unqualified borrowers were approved for loans to purchase homes newer and grander than those of families struggling to make ends meet under the conventional system, everything we knew about markets was turned on its head. 

What conservatives know is that when the tried-and-true principles of economics are ignored and replaced by regulations and manipulations of politicians seeking to impose what they idealize to be a system of fairness, havoc is sure to ensue and the laws of unintended consequences are ushered in.

Was your credit history scrutinized when you took out a mortgage on your home?  Did you make a substantial down payment when you purchased your home?   Did you take out a so-called conventional loan with the expectation that you would pay it back over thirty or so years?  Did you sacrifice your entertainment or vacation budget to achieve the goal of homeownership?  It is reasonable to expect that your house, purchased the "old fashioned way," will not be trashed when the time comes for it to be sold. 

When quality homes are destroyed because its occupant feels betrayed or angry because the market declines, the taxpayers who financed this fantasy lose multiple times.  Their hard-earned dollars are wasted when those dollars are invested into a system that cannot support its own promises and then wasted once again when a resale must occur at a minimal price after the home has been stripped of much of its value.  The undesired consequences of this ill-conceived notion of homeownership  "fairness" spread throughout the housing market and result in conventionally-purchased homes also having to be sold at significantly less profit to responsible homeowners.

When common sense conservative economic principles are abandoned in favor of utopian fantasies,  the recipients of these massive amounts of redirected largess, as well as those taxpayers who have foot the bill, both suffer the unintended consequences.

We are familiar with the Biblical  quote: If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.  Likewise, if a house is not earned by homeowners working within a market economy, that house will not be cherished, respected, and valued.  It will not "stand" as the dream home it once was and the consequences of its well-meant but ill-conceived construction will spread like wildfire throughout the neighborhood and beyond.

Analysis of  the housing debacle is a timely and incontrovertible illustration of how the use of conservative principles and practices, such as conventional risk assessment and mortgages, benefit all Americans by preserving value, while the replacement of those practices with creative financing underscored by utopian illusions result in undesired, detrimental, wasteful and expensive consequences.

Work Cited:  Hanley, R.  (July 30, 1990).  After Heady 1980's, Homeowners Face a Hangover of Foreclosure, The New York Times,  Retrieved from:  http://www.nytimes.com/1990/07/30/nyregion/after-heady-1980-s-homeowners-face-a-hangover-of-foreclosure.html

Essay Contest Submission by Camille Bethers

"How do Conservative principles impact the happiness and prosperity of all Americans?"

by Camille Bethers

The question being asked is “How do conservative principles impact the happiness and prosperity of all Americans?” I would like to start off by stating the definition of the word conservative.  The word conservative means holding to traditional attitudes and values and cautions about change or innovation, according to the “Free Dictionary.” Conservative principles would impact the happiness and prosperity of Americans in a positive way in areas such as gun control, immigration, and the death penalty. Conservative principles would impact the happiness and prosperity of Americans in a negative way in areas such as abortion, same-sex marriage, and religion and government separation.     

Conservative principles would impact the happiness and prosperity of Americans in a positive way under the subject of gun control. In the opinion of a conservative The Second Amendment gives citizens the right to keep and bear arms.  Individuals have the right to defend themselves.  There are too many gun control laws – additional laws will not lower gun crime rates.  What is needed is enforcement of current laws.  Gun control laws do not prevent criminals from obtaining guns.  More guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens mean less crime.   In the opinion of a liberal The Second Amendment does not give citizens the right to keep and bear arms, but only allows for the state to keep a militia. Individuals do not need guns for protection; it is the role of local and federal government to protect the people through law enforcement agencies and the military.  Additional gun control laws are necessary to stop gun violence and limit the ability of criminals to obtain guns.  More guns mean more violence. (Student News Daily) As you can see, conservative thoughts and principles would impact the happiness and prosperity of Americans in a positive way.

            Under the subject of Immigration, conservatives  believe that we should Support legal immigration only. Oppose amnesty for those who enter the U.S. illegally. Those who break the law by entering the U.S. illegally do not have the same rights as those who obey the law and enter legally. The borders should be secured before addressing the problem of the illegal immigrants currently in the country. The Federal Government should secure the borders and enforce current immigration law. Whereas a liberal person believes that we should Support legal immigration.  Support amnesty for those who enter the U.S. illegally we also believe that undocumented immigrants have a right to:


  • All educational and health benefits that citizens receive (financial aid, welfare, social security and Medicaid), regardless of legal status.

  • The same rights as American citizens.  It is unfair to arrest millions of undocumented immigrants.  In the case of Immigration it would impact the happiness and prosperity of the Americans in a positive way if we took the conservative route.

            When it comes to the death penalty conservatives believe that the death penalty is a punishment that fits the crime of murder; it is neither ‘cruel' nor ‘unusual.'  Executing a murderer is the appropriate punishment for taking an innocent life. While liberal people believe that the death penalty should be abolished.  It is inhumane and is ‘cruel and unusual' punishment.  Imprisonment is the appropriate punishment for murder, every execution risks killing an innocent person. It is socially acceptable to put somebody on death row for taking another innocent life as we all say an eye for an eye. If you were to kill someone, the correct thing to do would be to give your own life in respect to the family that you put through that turmoil.

            Conservative principles would impact the happiness and prosperity of Americans in a negative way under the subject of abortion. A conservative individual believes that human life begins at conception.  Abortion is the murder of a human being.  An unborn baby, as a living human being, has separate rights from those of the mother.  Oppose taxpayer abortion.  Tax dollars should not be used for the government to provide abortions. Support legislation to prohibit partial birth abortions, called the "Partial Birth Abortion”. Whereas a liberal individual believes that a woman has the right to decide what happens with her body.  A fetus is not a human life, so it does not have separate individual rights.  The government should provide taxpayer funded abortions for women who cannot afford them.  The decision to have an abortion is a personal choice of a woman regarding her own body and the government must protect this right.  Women have the right to affordable, safe and legal abortions, including partial birth abortion. (Student News Daily). With the subject of abortion conservative principles would not be a good thing.  

            Under the subject of Religion and Government separation having a conservative way would impact the happiness and prosperity of Americans in a negative way. Conservative people believe that when it comes to religion and government the phrase “separation of church and state” is not in the Constitution.  The First Amendment to the Constitution states “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”  This prevents the government from establishing a national church/denomination. However, it does not prohibit God from being acknowledged in schools and government buildings.  Symbols of Christian heritage should not be removed from public and government spaces (the Ten Commandments should continue to be displayed in Federal buildings).  Government should not interfere with religion and religious freedom. While a liberal person believes that we should support the separation of church and state.  The Bill of Rights implies a separation of church and state.  Religious expression has no place in government.  The two should be completely separate.  Government should not support religious expression in any way.  All reference to God in public and government spaces should be removed (e.g., the Ten Commandments should not be displayed in Federal buildings).  Religious expression has no place in government. I think that taking the conservative route on this subject would impact the happiness and prosperity of Americans in a negative way.

            One of the most controversial topics in today’s nation is same-sex marriage. A conservative person believes that Marriage is the union of one man and one woman.  Oppose same-sex marriage. Support Defense of Marriage Act passed in 1996, which affirms the right of states not to recognize same-sex marriages licensed in other states. Requiring citizens to sanction same-sex relationships violates moral and religious beliefs of millions of Christians, Jews, Muslims and others, who believe marriage is the union of one man and one woman. Liberal people believe that marriage is the union of people who love each other.  It should be legal for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals, to ensure equal rights for all.  Support same-sex marriage, opposed to the creation of a constitutional amendment establishing marriage as the union of one man and one woman.  All individuals, regardless of their sexual orientation, have the right to marry.  Prohibiting same-sex citizens from marrying denies them their civil rights. If we were to go in the direction of conservative people, we would be denying those people who believe in same-sex marriage happiness.

            In conclusion, conservative principles would impact the happiness and prosperity of Americans in a positive way in areas and or subjects as gun control, abortion, and immigration. If we were to take a conservative route in gun control it would make Americans happier because it wouldn’t be denying their second amendment right to keep and bear arms. If we were to take the conservative route on abortion it would make Americans happy because a lot of American individuals believe that abortion is cruel and would like to see it stopped. The conservative route would make Americans happy under the subject or issue of immigration because, we have too many illegal immigrants in the United States already, and a conservative point of view would limit the amount of immigration in general. Conservative principles would impact the happiness and prosperity of Americans in a negative way in areas such as abortion, religion and government, and same-sex marriage. In the case of abortion, it is better if the woman has her own choice to abort the child. If it will cause serious medical issues to the mother or the child, it would be better if the child was aborted. Under the subject of religion and government, a liberal approach would be best to keep religion, government, and education separate. It is better not to talk about government and religion in school because those topics are very heated and cause a lot of argumentation. In the case of same-sex marriage the liberal point of view would make the most people happy. If we were to take the conservative route it would be denying those same-sex couples happiness in this nation. Conservative principles would impact the happiness and prosperity of Americans in both positive and negative ways; we need to decide what we want to accept.


Bibliography

Kirk, Russell. Ten Conservative Principles. 2007. 22 January 2013. http://www.kirkcenter.org/index.php/detail/ten-conservative-principles/
Student News Daily. n.d. 22 January 2013. http://www.studentnewsdaily.com/conservative-vs-liberal-beliefs

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Essay Contest Submission by Makenzie Gabrielson

"How do Conservative principles impact the happiness and prosperity of all Americans?"

by Makenzie Gabrielson - age 13

Free Enterprise is a conservative principal. Free Enterprise creates and protects lasting happiness and prosperity for all Americans. It promotes real fairness, and it helps the most vulnerable. This principal states that we Americans should be able to keep what we earn and not be restrained by government interference.

Free enterprise creates and protects lasting happiness. Does money buy happiness? No, money does not buy happiness. Happiness comes from hard work. We should have to work for our accomplishments. Studies have shown that people who work for their success are happier than people who don’t earn their success. When you have to go the extra mile and fight that uphill battle you feel better about what comes out of it. Arthur Brooks from the American enterprise institute said, "Free enterprise is the only system that lets us pursue our happiness by earning our success.”

Free enterprise promotes real fairness. Some politicians think that we should spread the wealth around. They are trying to do good but it just doesn't work that way. Handing people money does not solve our problems. The real fairness comes from rewarding people that work hard and earn their success. Work, accomplishment, and feelings of self-worth are what make people happy. Handing people money does the opposite. It lowers their feeling of self worth and accomplishment.

Free enterprise helps the poor and vulnerable. Free enterprise says that businesses are free to create products anyway they want. When government tries to take care of people it may help them in the short run but in the long run it causes damage. You can hurt people with your compassion. People who go on government welfare rarely come off. It traps them, most often times even their kids are on it too. Being on government welfare ruins your motivation to work. If government is paying for your house then why do you need to work? Because government welfare is ruining peoples motivation to work they aren't moving up in social class. People aren't being all they can be, they aren't reaching their true potential. It really effects people's ability to be happy. It becomes very hard for them to truly earn and work for their success.      
      
Free enterprise rewards people for earning and working for their success. This principal truly impacts the happiness and prosperity of all Americans... everyone, everywhere.  We don't want to be controlled by government interference. We want happiness which is going to come from the values of free enterprise. People say that the moral core of free enterprise is greed. Arthur Brooks said, "the moral core of free enterprise is not greed, the moral core of free enterprise is earned success." The American enterprise institute said, "Earned success is the belief that you have created value in your life, and value in the lives of other people." Free enterprise requires that the government doesn't control our economic lives. We have to get jobs that go with what we love to do and our passions. We need to be free people. Free to earn our success. We don't want money just dropped in our hands. We need to work for it.

A 2001 survey conducted by an Ohio State University research team, found that working individuals who "did not feel responsible for their own successes spent about 25 percent more of their day feeling sad than those who said they felt they were responsible. This was true whether they were materially prosperous or not." We need to earn our success to be happy. You cannot just have success handed to you, what is the satisfaction in that? Arthur Brooks said, "There is a huge amount of research showing that money, when earned, has a generally positive association with happiness. The problem is when it is unearned, when raw purchasing power is untethered from hard work and merit. Above basic subsistence, happiness comes not from money per se, but from the rewarding process of value creation.” I believe that free enterprise is the answer. It can make people so much happier and create a better country. Free enterprise is a conservative principle that DOES have a positive impact on the lives of ALL Americans, it creates and protects lasting happiness and prosperity for everyone!

Essay Contest Submission by Kent Shelton

How do Conservative principles impact the happiness and prosperity of all Americans?"

By Kent Shelton

In 1975, my parents moved our family to Heber Valley.  We arrived before the start of school in the fall.  At the beginning of the new school year, papers were passed out for parents to sign indicating family qualifications for free school lunches.  Being teenage boys in the high school, my brother and I listened to our new friends boast that they would have their parents sign the waivers and be on their way to free school lunches.  None of our friends looked the part of needy.  By most appearances they came from middle class environments.  We weren’t poor either.  We were, however, living in an old farm house, while our family worked in the construction of a new home in the evenings.  I reasoned that the old home with a hallway that sloped in two directions with crooked out of square doors would serve us well in the appearance of deserving the waiver’s promise.  Surely, if we were to get the free lunches, we would at least look the part and nobody would be the wiser…

So, not to be outside the loop with a contest of boys, my brother and I determined to get our parents signatures as well.  That evening we pitched the idea to our parents, including the paperwork, for quick signatures.  Dad listened to the proposal, asked who our friends were that were applying, and then told us that we too would qualify for free school lunches.  However, we would have to meet his two conditions:  we were to change our names to the names of our friends and move out of the house.  “But why?” we asked.  “This is not the way things should be,” was Dad’s answer.  We soon learned that no son of his would ever qualify by a lie under Dad’s signature for something he did not earn or deserve.  My brother and I paid for our own school lunches after that.

What does a silly story have to do with a question about how conservative principles impact the happiness and prosperity of all Americans?  - Maybe everything.  The principles of integrity, independence, thrift, industry and self reliance are virtues that bring happiness and prosperity.  It is human nature to unconsciously fool ourselves into thinking that we can take something we did not earn or deserve.  It becomes easy to forget that in order for our government to give us something, it must first take something from us.

Thrift and self-reliance are noble virtues.  Some, not unlike foolish teenage boys, make the mistake of identifying prosperity in terms of who is living better than they are.  If they attempt to equalize themselves with others through deception or going into debt, they may find themselves suffering from the crushing weight of that debt.  Instead, the family that saves their earnings for a treasured reward, a rainy day provision, and enough to look after and care for those in need, is able to experience the rewards of prosperity and extend it to others.  Happy is the man who earns his own bread.

The freedoms we have in America, coupled with creativity and ambition, bring us opportunities to improve our own circumstances.  We can enjoy the long term satisfaction of success achieved, rather than the temporary comfort of success rewarded to us.

Benjamin Franklin once wrote that “only a virtuous people are capable of freedom.  As nations become more vicious [or lacking in virtue], they have need of masters.”  The key to our prosperity and happiness lies in our ability to not paint virtues into shades of gray.  When we value the virtues of honesty, thrift, industry, and self-reliance, we will not be among the clamor of shouting voices claiming the system has failed us, or among those who have surrendered and timidly acknowledge that we have failed the system.  There is no such thing as a free lunch.


Essay Contest Submission by Pam Fredericks

"How do Conservative principles impact the happiness and prosperity of all Americans?"

Liberty or Death

by Pam Fredericks

            Although Patrick Henry's famous statement, "Give me liberty or give me death," was made at the Virginia Convention to persuade Virginia to send troops to the Revolutionary War, it is a profound statement about the human spirit and illustrates the ideals conservative principles are founded.

            The United States of America was founded upon valid conservative principles of limited government, free markets, individual liberty, personal responsibility, hard work, pride in accomplishment, and the idea that government should protect its citizens freedom of choice and the ability to pursue dreams. Under conservative principles, government empowers the citizens to solve their own problems. We need empowerment not entitlement. We need accountability not blame.

            Responsible use of our liberty and freedom results in something powerful. This power to choose, complimented with the ability to work and produce, leads to happiness and prosperity. Liberty is the power to control our own actions and therefore some of life's natural consequences. The most important right we have is the power to choose and when that is taken, we are left helpless and hopeless. It is the most basic and individual right and privilege. This ability to act for oneself, possessed by all Americans,  is what drives the human spirit.

            Would a lack of liberty produce the drastic consequences to which Patrick Henry  eluded?  The answer is a resounding, "Yes"! It may not always mean death to the body, but definitely a death to the soul. Being in the chains of tyranny is what produced such strong ambitions in the early patriots, including Patrick Henry who would rather have died if his freedoms and liberties were not recalled. He was not asking for liberty, he was demanding it. Being in symbolic chains of tyranny or anarchy do produce such strong feelings. Ask any teenager who's parents have taken away their ability to choose or used force to get them to comply, and most would respond with a dramatic, "I would rather die then do what you say"! What causes such rebellion? Often it's because they feel they do not  have any control in their lives. This idea of being told what to do, is like telling someone what their favorite color is. We can force actions but we cannot force convictions.

            Happiness is a state of well being, a frame of mind, a feeling of contentment. Wanting to die rather than comply,  due to lack of power and choice, is not contentment. The pursuit of happiness requires the freedom of choice and the power over our lives. Without this the American spirit can suffer a loss of dignity, honor, and self-respect. With pursuit of happiness, human endeavor can lead to prosperity. Prosperity is a feeling of success, an action of thriving, and spirit of well-being.

            Conservative principles impact the happiness and prosperity of all Americans because these principles are based upon fundamental values and have an affect on the human spirit, heart, and mind. These principles can be applied to all areas of government. It does not matter if you are Democrat or Republican, young or old, male or female,  everyone deserves the opportunity to choose for themselves how to direct their life as long as it does not infringe upon the rights of another. The only thing we're entitled to is freedom and the ability to act for ourselves in order to pursue our own ambitions and dreams.

            Alternative to conservative principles are liberal policies based on their belief of equality and that government should be responsible to provide equality for all. These policies also believe that government should guarantee no one is in need and that government should be responsible to solve all of our problems. With this attitude, there is no accountability to the individual for their choices, status, and well-being. This idea has become entrenched in society and people are adopting the belief that problems are always someone else's fault or dilemma to worry about and solve. This attitude is detrimental to all Americans. The idea of government running everything looks good on the surface and can appear very tempting and reassuring. However, this false assumption that loss of care and freedom to direct our own lives is not only vital to our prosperity and happiness, it is doomed for failure. If all Americans would accept that truth, we would catapult our country into a whirlwind of positive change for everyone. We would stop competing, complaining, and criticizing.

            History is replete with examples of governments who tried to operate on the false premise of control and the theory that people existed for the government and not that the government existed for the people. Big governments that attempt to be all things to all people have in the past and will continue to bring down entire societies, mired by war, poverty, and failure. True happiness, prosperity, personal accountability, and dignity are the casualties of liberal policies.

            Our country is being weakened by the paradox of a strong government as the politics define it. More and more of the citizens are losing passions and convictions for personal liberty once possessed by men such as Patrick Henry, and have become dulled to their individual responsibilities, which build strong, productive, healthy and happy, families, neighborhoods, towns, counties, states, and the United States of America, the greatest country in the world. Too many are willing to hand over their personal liberty in exchange for a hand out and that someone else should and will take care of them.

            The conservative principles of limited government, free markets, individual liberty, personal responsibility, hard work, pride in accomplishment, and the idea that government should protect its citizens, uphold the unchanging reality that all Americans are the creators of our own happiness and prosperity. These principles provide for the highest standard of living for the most people the world has ever known.  Let us continue to work hard to uphold them and have that fighting spirit Patrick Henry displayed during some of our country's most inspirational moments in time.

Essay Contest Submission by Axel Burt - age 9


"How do Conservative principles impact the happiness and prosperity of all Americans?"

by Axel Burt, age 9

How do conservative principles create happiness?

Conservative principles make great happiness because if we didn’t conserve our Constitution we wouldn’t have rights,  like we wouldn't  have the rights to vote, we wouldn’t have the rights to keep our  religion, and we wouldn't be able to keep our guns and if we didn’t have guns we wouldn't be as safe.

For example, if the Herman family in Georgia didn’t have a gun the mother couldn’t  have saved her children, if  the guns were taken away. Another example is at the Connecticut school shooting. A crazy person would probably not have gone in if    the teachers and the principal  had a gun.

What if one day you woke up and you couldn't be in your religion that would be terrible.

On the other hand there's the progressive principal it sounds so good but it's not . With progressive principle they're progressing away from the Constitution and when America is all the way away from the Constitution all of that stuff that I said earlier will come true. We wouldn't  vote, we wouldn't have our religion, we wouldn't have guns and lots of more stuff.

President Obama is using the progressive principle.  He says he will redistribute our taxes. He collects the taxes and then says that he will give it to the poor but he gives only a tiny piece of it to the poor, but keeps a lot of it for his ideas and uses it for his parties. Just a couple of days ago he used $250 million for a party called Inauguration.

Progressive principles do not bring happiness; progressive principles are the opposite of conservative principles. The people that wrote the Constitution in 1787 remembered what bad government was like back in Europe , so they put lots of freedom in the Constitution  but not so much to make it dangerous in America.

In America they gave three groups the power not one big ruler or king. A  lot of people think that President Obama is in charge of  everything but he is not. There's three parts of the government, congress is one part , supreme court   is one part, and there is the executive branch which is President  Obama's third.    

The founding fathers  that wrote the Constitution  wanted America to be free and happy unlike other countries . Some people wanted George  Washington  to be a king but the founding fathers knew not to have a king, because they knew at one point we would get a bad king so to be on the safe side they agreed on having a government with laws and the Constitution. This is called a republic.

The laws protect us. For example with laws a police can't just barge in our house and take my skateboard or our family's gun.  In countries without good Constitutions the police could do that.
This is why conservative principles bring great happiness to us.

Essay Contest Submission by Reg Anderson


"How do Conservative principles impact the happiness and prosperity of all Americans?"

by Reg Anderson

To answer this question, it is necessary to have a clear understanding of the terms “Conservative Principles” , “Happiness” and “Prosperity” and to realize that they may have different meanings to different people. Let me share what they mean to me beyond dictionary definitions.

Generally, Conservative is defined as tending to preserve established traditions or institutions and to resist change. By this definition, the actions of the founding fathers of our country would be considered radical and even traitorous. They came from the English Monarchy where one man had ultimate power and people lived in a strict social hierarchy or the equivalent of a “Caste System”.

The Conservative Principles that I believe in are eloquently expressed in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States. The cardinal moral truths as stated in the Declaration are:
“We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness-that to Secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Governed”

The notion that being Conservative means that nothing changes has never been true in our country and certainly many needed changes have been made including:

1.         The abolition of Slavery

2.         Women’s right to vote

The Bill of Rights was added to the Constitution including 27 Amendments to ensure things like freedom of religion and the right to bear arms. This foundation makes it possible for each of us to pursue the goals of Happiness and Prosperity.

Happiness to me means pursuing and achieving things which have meaning to you. This may include things like having a family and friends, a meaningful career and helping others. I believe that a system of moral principles and values is fundamental to happiness. For many this is based on a religious faith and an understanding of the purpose of life. To paraphrase Abraham Lincoln, he said , “I believe that most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.”

The philosophy of “Moral Relativism” which is being taught in many of our universities today can lead to widespread misery. Essentially it says that there are no truths and that there is no right or wrong. This contributes to narcissism and self absorption. The book “Generation Me” by Jean Twenge is a clear illustration of what can happen.

Prosperity is often perceived as having lots of wealth and the more the better. After several years in an engineering related career and starting and running a business, I spent 15 years as a financial advisor and I came to realize that a successful retirement is having what you need and retiring to something you enjoy. To me, prosperity is having good health, a home, family, and friends. It is not lavish or ostentatious.
I believe that Conservative Principles mean that each of us has equal rights and freedom. We are guaranteed equal opportunities based on our work and abilities but we are not guaranteed equal results.
After the 2012 presidential election, I sat down to document my hopes and concerns for our country under the new leadership as follows:

Obama 2013-2016: My Hopes & Concerns as of 11/16/12

1. Constitution & Freedoms- I sincerely hope that the Obama administration will uphold the individual freedoms guaranteed in the Constitution including free speech, the right to bear arms, term limits on the presidency, freedom of religion and the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. To the degree that the government must oversee large nationwide things like highway construction, national defense, Social Security, Medicare and the markets to prevent abuse, we already have a large dose of socialism in our political system. I hope that we do not try to expand the degree of socialism that we already have by continued expansion of the Federal Government.

2. I hope that the use of “Class warfare” for political gain can be stopped and that the power of small business to bring prosperity and to create real jobs can be encouraged. The United States has become the world’s model for success because individuals have been given the chance to create and build businesses. Our ancestors came here seeking freedom from oppression in their old countries and the opportunity to build better lives for themselves and their families. Socialism can destroy those opportunities by ensuring that those who don’t work or who are unwilling to take a chance are rewarded equally with those who do the hard work and take the risks to build a business. Look at the history of socialism; it has never succeeded in the long run. As Winston Churchill said “The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal distribution of blessings. The inherent blessing of socialism is the equal distribution of misery”. We can make sure that the pie is divided exactly equally or we can make more pie. Of course we must maintain a safety net for those who need assistance, but most importantly we must ensure that they have an equal opportunity to advance themselves and their families. Good education is essential.

3. Debt- The Federal debt is now over 16.4 trillion dollars and growing rapidly. Tax increases are not going to reverse that trend because even if we take away all of the income of the wealthy, it will not stop the increase of the debt. We must decrease our spending and stimulate business to reverse the decline of our economy. The present rhetoric is to demonize those who have succeeded. A balanced budget is essential. If we continue to build our debt, national bankruptcy is likely and our currency will become worthless. The Fed is buying back government bonds, printing money to pay for the purchases and maintaining interest rates near zero. The advantage is that this provides cash in the marketplace and the debt is repaid at nearly no interest. The problem is that this is the very definition of inflation. We are creating money out of thin air. There is much talk about the imminent “Fiscal Cliff” which involves higher taxes and reduced spending. I am much more concerned about what I call the “Fiscal Abyss”, which involves the current massive deficit spending funded with borrowed money. When China and others decide that it is no longer prudent to loan money to us, we will be in the same situation as Greece, unable to pay our debts and attacked by those expecting entitlements that cannot be paid.  Obama called George Bush a traitor for increasing the National Debt by approximately $3 trillion dollars over eight years but then he increased the Debt by $5.4 trillion in three and one half years. In 2008 he promised to cut the deficit in half and to bring unemployment to 5% whereas it was 7.8% in January 2009 and as of September 2012 it was 8.3%. During the same time span, the median family income dropped from $54,983 to $50,964, a drop of $4,019 per family and the price of gas went from $1.84 to $3.82 per gallon. The budget deficit went from $458,500,000,000 to$1,290,000,000,000. (That’s $458.5Billion to $1.29 Trillion or 2.814 times as much). During the first Obama term we haven’t had a budget although federal law requires an annual budget.

We voted to continue these policies because the majority wants “Free Stuff” but I fear that we are racing toward national bankruptcy. I hope and pray that I’m wrong!!

4. Jobs- In the long run, the government does not create wealth or jobs. Government jobs are created using other people’s money and they are dependent on income in the business community. To recover and prosper, we must encourage small and large businesses and make opportunities for them to be profitable while controlling fraud and corruption.

5. Social Issues- To me, the most crucial social issue is the decline of the family in American culture. I recently heard a list of simple steps to ensure that young people avoid poverty. 1. Work hard and at least graduate from High School. 2. Marry before you have children. 3. Both parents stay together and share in child rearing. 4. Provide a set of positive values to children. 5. Avoid drugs and alcohol.  Obama has made a major case that abortion should be unrestricted in any way to give women total control of their bodies. A partial birth abortion means that a live child in the process of being born, may be killed by the attending physician by penetrating the skull or by denying it oxygen. Since we have decided that it’s ok for a woman to kill her children, maybe we should be practical and extend that privilege to say age 18. (not really) As you know, teenagers can be really difficult and inconvenient. There is a big effort to legalize recreational drugs in many states. A majority of abuse cases involve alcohol or drug abuse and my concern is that these crimes will increase as we legalize more drugs for fun. In our country, more than half of the children born today are born to unwed mothers. This places a great burden on the mother and condemns many children to a life of poverty. Dads need to step up and share responsibility for the children that they bring into the world.

6. International Relationships- First of all we should be a positive example to other countries. Especially Muslim cultures view us as a corrupt culture with our crime and dress standards. Of course, they have their own corruption in terms of lack of freedom and unjust, brutal law enforcement. We should provide help where we can to other countries but we need to be aware that we can’t change their cultures over night. We should realize that with all of our flaws, we are still the bastion of freedom in the world and that America is truly exceptional.

7. Defense- As an ancient philosopher said: “If you want peace, prepare for war”. We must avoid the unilateral disarmament that our government is discussing. For those of you who are too young to remember the Cold War, we survived confrontations with the Soviet Union by being armed and prepared and we won without war.

8. Immigration- We are a country of immigrants. Even the Native Americans migrated here at one time. The U.S. is unique in offering people from other countries the chance to become citizens. If you doubt that try to become a citizen of Mexico. We have more than one million legal immigrants each year but we must control illegal immigration. The steps that I would propose include: 1. Strictly control our borders to admit only those who have qualified. 2. Maintain and control our system to screen new immigrants to avoid admitting those who have criminal records or who intend to harm our country. 3. Provide a system whereby those who are currently here illegally can earn citizenship and deport those who refuse to qualify.

9. With the prevailing “Free Stuff” mentality I feel that we may be on the way to an economic decline with more unemployment and a reduced standard of living including recession and possible depression. Mitt Romney presented plausible ways to avoid this and to return to national greatness but he wasn’t “COOL”.
I hope & pray for wise decisions to maintain what is the Greatest Country in the World!

As Abraham Lincoln said: 

“You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift. You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong. You cannot help the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer. You cannot further the brotherhood of man by encouraging class hatred. You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich. You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than you earn. You cannot build character and courage by taking away man’s initiative and independence. You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they could and should do for themselves.”