Thursday, January 17, 2013

Essay Contest Submission by Robert Wren

"How do Conservative principles impact the happiness and prosperity of all Americans?"
(Freedom or Force?)

by Robert Wren

This question is easily answered: Conservative Principles, when understood, AND applied, impact the happiness and prosperity of all Americans, in the most positive possible way, individually AND collectively.

However, these principles must be defined to truly understand their implications. Conservative is generally defined as: “disposed to preserve existing conditions, institutions, etc., or to restore traditional ones, and to limit change.” In this particular context (political), these principles are those that preserve the traditions of America's Founding Fathers.

The conservative political philosophy, or principle, is based on a fundamental belief in a Being higher than humankind. With that belief, follows an understanding of the need for, and desirability of, freedom. With freedom comes responsibility - the responsibility for one's actions. Freedom and responsibility naturally lead to Free Market economics, which may be succinctly defined as 
  • the freedom to buy,
  • the freedom to sell.
  • the freedom to succeed,
  • and the freedom to fail.
But conservative principles go further than economics, the freedom found in success (financial) allows greater potential to share and serve others with the plenty created by economic success. The freedom to fail brings opportunity to learn. Through diligence and understanding, failure hopefully might be avoided, if not it will bring humility – one of the fundamental attributes of happiness. Conservatism connotes industry, individuality, patriotism, family, self -respect, and respect for others.

America's Founders collated the knowledge of centuries of human interaction, presenting an idea of the essence of the individual and his need to be in control of his destiny. They proclaimed the long sought for truth that “All men are created Equal.” Not equal in abilities, nor in strength, aptitude, knowledge or understanding, but in opportunity. Man (in generic sense, not the gender) brings to this existence that equal opportunity, that freedom, which too often is taken from him by despots, over reaching governments and, in particular, by other men striving to control.

Conservatism decries the false premise of control and declares the need for limited government, and the rule of law to provide justice. It promotes a system whereby each individual has the opportunity to do that which they choose to do for,by and to themselves – and for others. It is not a system of coercive force, but a system of freedom, opportunity, and responsibility.

Freedom brings prosperity, America's history has proven this. Happiness comes from learning, success, self respect and service. Conservative principles enshrine these ideals. The history of man has ever been filled with two competing political principles. These principles are not Republican vs Democrat, not conservative vs liberal, federal vs state, left vs right, not blue state, red state, but they might be defined as individualism vs. collectivism, or man vs. government, or, in the extreme, freedom vs. slavery.

In the words of George Washington, “GOVERNMENT is not reason, it is not eloquence—it is force! Like fire it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master; never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action.” Conservative principles acknowledge that adage and promote individual freedom. (see Russell Kirk's Ten Conservative PrinciplesCollectivism, its antithesis, seeks solutions through ever growing control of individuals. All done, of course, for the supposed “greatest good for the greatest number.” In actuality, it does the opposite. As George Orwell, in Animal Farm, suggested, “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal.”

Frederic Bastiat, in The Law, 1850 put it this way “And now that the legislators and do-gooders have so futilely inflicted so many systems upon society, may they finally end where they should have begun: May they reject all systems, and try liberty; for liberty is an acknowledgment of faith in God and His works.” 
Readers can decide for themselves what brings happiness and prosperity – freedom or force.

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