Friday, July 13, 2007

A Conservative’s Viewpoint
Are You Really A Conservative?

Article by Bob Steinburg - July 13th, 2007
Edenton, North Carolina: Cradle of the Colony

Do you ever get the feeling that you are going crazy; that everything you were taught to believe by your parents, your teachers and your pastor, have gone the way of the horse and buggy? One only has to look around to see that much of what once was considered good, decent, honorable and “normal”, is now in danger of vanishing. If you are anything like me, there is a pain deep within you that just won’t go away. Well folks, I’ve had enough! I decided I could either continue to sit back and enjoy retirement, rocking away on my front porch with my dog at my feet and say “nothing I can do about it”, or I can use my computer as my sword, to fight back. I have obviously opted for the latter and will once a week in this newspaper share with you, the reader, “a conservative’s viewpoint” on the critical issues facing each and every one of us.

What is a conservative? Almost any politician in North Carolina, Republican or Democrat, is going to tell you they’re a conservative. Now why is that? Could it be that they understand that is how most of their constituents define themselves? But are these lawmakers really conservative, or just when they need your vote?

This conservative favors traditional views and values. I believe, as Thoreau said “government is best that governs least”. Conservative’s believe in fiscal restraint in government spending, a strong national defense and protecting our state and federal borders from uncontrolled immigration. A conservative has respect for traditional institutions like the church and supports the United States Constitution with its Bill of Rights. A conservative believes in individual responsibility, while at the same time providing a safety net to help those of us who may be struggling. I oppose liberal and radical notions that test, hinder or attempt to eliminate our Judeo-Christian beliefs. This conservative believes in individual rights and freedoms that give citizens the opportunity to become “all they can be”. Conservatives are capable of thinking for themselves and for not allowing the government the right to determine who will be given the opportunity to succeed, and who will remain buried in poverty and despair; a ward of the state.
I believe “in God we trust”!

If my description of a conservative reflects your beliefs, or in any way relates to your concerns or fears with the direction this great state and nation are heading, than please join me here every week and invite others to do the same. With your help we can begin to identify, nominate and then elect individuals who truly reflect the values we grew up with; who will take those values to Raleigh and Washington and fight for them each and every day; those values our parents, our teachers and our Pastors taught us; those values that made America and the people who built it, the envy of mankind. We can be again, and for the sake of our state, nation and the world, we must!

Bob Steinburg is starting a column in our area and is challenging the liberal dominance of newspaper editors and publishers to shape our opinions. I encourage him to do so. Especially since I have long been advocating that we have a more public dialog in this area about some of the political differences that exist in the world. I am delighted Bob is willing to do so.

I agree with almost everything that Bob advocates but there are areas where I find disagreement on certain issues with those who call themselves conservatives. I hope that we can have a civil dialog about these disagreements and that resolving them in favor of our more important concern, personal freedom, will draw moderate and liberals to our side of the political alignment. I also hope that this dialog can be more civil than a dialog with liberals usually becomes. Liberals have this idea that disagreeing with them makes you evil and it certainly makes civil dialog difficult.

One issue that most concerns me is the willingness of some in the conservative movement to favor using government to force their values on others. It is a serious fear of liberals and moderates that sabotages much of our public dialog with them. There is a difference between advocating government not support immorality versus advocating laws that impose government mandated behavior on others. An example would be the difference between opposing gay sex in the privacy of the bedroom and the flaunting of sexual preferences in a public parade.

If a heterosexual group advocated oral sex, I would oppose a parade celebrating this lifestyle choice. If a heterosexual group advocated nudity to promote more open acceptance of sexuality, I would oppose a parade celebrating this lifestyle choice. I also oppose parades advocating acceptance of gay sex. Publicly advocating certain private acts crosses a line that justifies the limited restrictions that banning such parades permits. I remain opposed to laws that interfere with the privacy of gay sex; or any other regulation that affects private and secret behavior that can only be enforced by knowingly sending our police into people's bedrooms. Or things like the California "Briggs Amendment", which attempted to ban gays and lesbians from being teachers.

Ronald Reagan was incensed at the attempt to pass this legislation by the conservative movement. He spoke out publicly about the loss of freedom that would occur if we permitted such laws to be passed. It is about freedom, including the freedom to take actions privately that others oppose and not have that used as an excuse to restrict the rights of others. If you are not free to do that our nation is the loser. Public actions may deserve some restriction if they impact others, especially children, but there is a line we must not cross. The conservative movement's acceptance and advocacy of the "Briggs Amendment" is a permanent black mark that all must be aware of and similarly crossing the line in restricting freedom must be avoided when we talk about values and the laws we would support. The difference is important to make sure we do not become as evil as those who advocate socialism and its horrible consequences.

That is why like Ronald Reagan I prefer to call myself a Libertarian-Conservative. Freedom FROM government is the underlying theme of the Bill of Rights. I welcome an opportunity to have a dialog with a conservative about the important issues of today. I believe it is when we interfere in private behavior under the guise of values that we cross the line. We must remain forever vigilant against the freedom that we all lose when the state has that power.

On the other hand the differences between libertarians and conservatives versus liberals and progressives can easily be documented with the current school prayer controversy in San Diego. There, public schools have mandated that Christians cannot pray at all while Muslim children are given a special 15 minute period for the purpose of praying to their god. They even demand that Christians must remain silent so they do not disrespect the Muslims during this period. The incredible hypocrisy of this double standard is obvious to all but liberals and progressives.

I think a dialog between a conservative and a libertarian-conservative can be fun . . . and entertaining. Especially since we agree on so much.


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