Saturday, February 2, 2013

Essay Contest Submission by Jim Smedley

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

It Is The Holding Fast To Principles, Correct Principles 
That Promotes and Preserve Happiness and Prosperity

By Jim Smedley

It has been said that, “Principles are concentrated truth packaged for application to a wide variety of circumstances.  A true principle makes decisions clear even under the most confusing and compelling circumstances.”

Conservatism in its true sense implies the quality of having the tendency to uphold and preserve that which is good in the institutions of a sound country, both civil and ecclesiastical, preserving it from radical and destructive change.

Conservative principles aim to preserve from ruin, innovation, injury, or radical change.  Thus, conservative principles and wise conservatives are the ones that protect all that is good in the existing institutions of a country, and oppose and protect against undesirable changes, but they also embrace that which may be new and for the good of the people, speaking for the citizenry collectively and not individually.  Such conservative principles and men and women keep the institutions in a safe state.

If one labels himself as liberal and another labels himself conservative the likelihood is that neither is as open minded as he might be to preserve and embrace all that is good, and each is disposed to oppose desirable changes; whereas a true conservative is opposed to that which injures, be it labeled as a liberal position or a conservative position, but also to embrace that which is good from whatever source it comes from.

I think it was Harry S. Truman that said, “It is not hard to get men to agree if they have the facts.”  But the radical which ever side of the isle he is on seems to lack the wisdom and understanding necessary to accomplish the common good, whereas the wise conservatives on both sides of the isle become enlightened and are in a position to truly shape and fashion wholesome legislation that strengthens the nation.

To mold temperance and moderation into legislation is not always easy, especially for one who holds himself out as a true liberal or a true conservative, and thus it is difficult for many public servants to really numbered among the ones who strive to preserve the good as well as promote that which good – to conserve that which is good, to cleave unto that which is good in the existing institutions of a country, and also at the same time embrace that which is good and needs to be incorporated because of the events and circumstances of the day.  Some become enlightened enough, agreeable enough, and effective enough to solve the problems of the day, but many are unwilling and/or unable to contribute to the solution.

Conservative principles and conservative individuals embrace goodness and temperance and resourcefulness, for the fruits of such promote happiness and prosperity.  In fashioning legislation a conservative might ask, as does it promote resourcefulness and industry as opposed to idleness and is it yet tempered with compassion and a concern for the downtrodden.

The true conservative who desires to preserve as well as embrace all that is good will not lay aside the words: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be free.”  But in considering such, the words “yearning to be free” will have special meaning.  And he will be ever mindful that that mighty woman, with the torch in her right hand, grasps in her left arm a tablet bearing the date of the Declaration of Independence, and that at her feet is a broken shackle symbolizing the overthrow of tyranny – be it in whatever form: oppressive government, the rich and powerful, the corrupt in or outside the government.

Conservative principles embrace the words of Thomas Carlyle knowing that “A man must get his happiness out of his work.  That is the first of his problems: to find the work he is meant to do in this world.  Without work he enjoys, he can never know what happiness is.”  Yes, in conservative principles are contained the words, “Blessed is he who has found his work,” for such is one of the concentrated truths packaged for application in all legislation, but here again it is to be tempered with the good of compassion and a concern for the down trodden.

We each have the responsibility to preserve the good that exists in the institutions of our government for such it is that promotes happiness and prosperity.  Conservatism opposes the radical (despite his sincerity) and it strongly opposes whatever ruins and spoils, but at the same time, it also embraces new solutions that help solve the problems of the day so long as they do not flying in the face of concentrated truths upon which the welfare and happiness of a nation is founded.  When conservative principles are ignored it allow the unwise and ignorant to build upon the sand, but when they are adhered to they allow us to build upon the rocks, those concentrated truths, those truly “conservative principles” that prevent the rains and floods and troubled times from destroying the land of the free.

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