For years I have felt that the term "conservative" was inadequate in describing the objectives of those who support the cause of liberty. The word implies being resistant to change.
In fact, Obama and the mainstream media effectively promoted the idea that to be conservative was to want to defend the status quo. Obama's campaign was one of "change" in 2008 and "forward" in 2012, and the media lumped everyone who opposed him as conservatives who wanted to keep things the way they were. This could not be further from the truth.
The term "conservative" doesn't fit those who support freedom today. We do not want to conserve a massive national debt, political elitism, or a deterioration of American families. We are interested in restoring those principles that made American the greatest nation on the face of the earth. Those principles include:
o The belief in rule of law. Our political system was designed to protect its people from radical change. It was fearful of unchecked mob rule as much as it was an oligarchy and is intended to protect the minority from the majority. Furthermore, it is one of the most difficult constitutions in the world for facilitating change for a purpose. The founders believed that most solutions were found outside of the federal government (and, maybe, all governments) and they made a document that promoted such an objective.
o A commitment to limited government. This nation was founded on the notion of the dispersion of power. The states were significantly more powerful than the federal government and the US Senate (which had its entire membership chosen by governors and state legislatures until the 20th century and ended only with the 17th Amendment) was designed for the purpose of protecting those states from the national government. They were originally chosen by state governments as a protector of state rights. The US Constitution provides around 17 powers for the US Congress according to Article I, Section 8. According to the 10th Amendment, everything else was to be left to the states and the citizens.
o The importance of national security. When our nation was founded the world was much larger. With nuclear missiles only minutes away, we cannot merely be "fortress America," but we also cannot be the world's police force. Each year, with every new skirmish this administration gets the US into, we demonstrate a lack of resolve and an even great lack of clarity of policy objectives. In addition, we harm our reputation around the world. Furthermore, national defense isn't just soldiers and missiles, but national sovereignty is reflected in secure borders.
o A strong belief in private property. Today, both parties see the building of a shopping mall as a case for "imminent domain" and they regulate people out of their homes in the name of wetlands and endangered species. Our nation was founded on the fundamental importance of the right to property. Furthermore, our political system is opposed to the idea of redistribution of wealth. One of the greatest speeches delivered by any member of Congress was by Davy Crockett, who warned his colleagues about appropriating money for a person in a manner that was not constitutional (the widow of an Admiral). He offered his own salary for a week to help her if his colleagues would join him, and if they did, the sum to be given would be higher than the appropriation. That bill to provide aid was destined to be approved until Crockett took them to task. They voted against the bill, but also kept their week's pay. Crockett got back on the House floor after the vote and noted "You remember that I proposed to give a week's pay. There are in that House many very wealthy men - men who think nothing of spending a week's pay, or a dozen of them, for a dinner or a wine party when they have something to accomplish by it. Some of those same men made beautiful speeches upon the great debt of gratitude which the country owed the deceased-a debt which could not be paid by money-and the insignificance and worthlessness of money, particularly so insignificant a sum as $10,000, when weighed against the honor of the nation. Yet not one of them responded to my proposition. Money with them is nothing but trash when it is to come out of the people. But it is the one great thing for which most of them are striving, and many of them sacrifice honor, integrity, and justice to obtain it."
o A belief in free enterprise. Government limited its role in the economy to that of a referee and was not to be intrusive. This is seen in it being responsible for such things as "standard weights and measures" and its explicit prohibition in taxing individuals directly (or income tax, which was later changed to all of our demise). Today the government uses taxation, regulation, and licensure laws to keep free enterprise in check, when it should do everything in its power to unleash it. Chief Justice John Marshall noted that the "power to tax is the power to destroy." In recent years, that seems to become the primary mission of government.
Obviously these points only scratch the surface. The point is, those who support the restoration of America's values should use that term and recognize that words like "conservative" fall on deaf ears for good reasons. No one wants to conserve the status quo.