Define: Conservative

I remember exactly where I was that day. I was helping a friend trim up some trees around his cabin when the announcement was made. Leaning on the pickup door with the windows down, listening to the fuzzy AM station, I remember my smile getting wider and wider as the speech was given, a hope that had faded was renewed.

That was 2008. This week, Sarah Palin endorsed Donald Trump for president. Now, 2008 seems like a very, very long time ago.

Over seven years ago, Sarah Palin was selected as the Vice Presidential candidate. I think there were a lot of conservatives like me who had a little faith restored after this announcement. We may not have been too excited about McCain, but maybe, just maybe, someone like Palin, a “conservative firebrand”, would even things out.
Looking back, perhaps it was a misguided hope. But hindsight is 20/20. Let’s focus on the present, taking some lessons we’ve hopefully learned from the not so distant past.
I have voiced some major concerns regarding Donald Trump and I would encourage everyone to read up on where he stands (and has stood) on the issues. Due to the general sense that Trump is not a strong conservative, Sarah Palin’s support of him has many people scratching their heads and asking the question, “What is a conservative?”
So glad you asked. The official definition is “someone who holds to traditional values and attitudes, typically in relation to politics.” The root word in “conservative” is “conserve” which means to “protect from harm or destruction”.
Therefore, a conservative is one who attempts to protect traditional values and attitudes from harm or destruction. They do this because of a belief that protecting these values is what is best for their country, their neighbors and their children. Based on this definition, the question then becomes, “What are traditional values and attitudes?”
If you hold to the traditional values and attitudes of Karl Marx, then you might be considered a conservative socialist, and in that case, someone like Bernie Sanders would be your “conservative choice”. In order to fully understand the term we must understand what traditional values and attitudes are being held to. In other words, the title of conservative means nothing, unless you know the principles which the individual is attempting to uphold.
Karl Marx, Father of Socialism
Now, obviously, when we talk about conservatism here in America, most would think of people like Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levin, or Megyn Kelly. Often the terms “TEA Party” or “far right” also come to mind. Why is that? It’s because of the “traditional values and attitudes” that these people, and millions of Americans across the country, are attempting to uphold.
What are these traditional values and attitudes that define real conservatism in America? You could ask different people and get different answers, but I believe there are at least 5 key values that true conservatives would agree on.
1. There exists self-evident truth.
In other words, there is a right and a wrong. This is the only solid foundation of any government. Truth that is universal and unarguable, such as the fact that all men are created equal is not up for debate or legislation. Freedom itself rests on the corner stone of truth.
2. We have rights given to us by God, that no one may take from us.
These rights include, but are not limited to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. These rights are also not up for debate or legislation.
3. The purpose of government is to protect our rights.
This does not include subsidies for ethanol, providing welfare for illegal immigrants, providing healthcare for “everyone”, or giving money to private organizations. Neither does it include the government spying on its citizens, using the IRS to target opposing views, or penalizing those who live out their beliefs.
4. The people grant power to the government, not the other way around.

We tell the government what to do. The government protects our rights. We elect representatives to do our bidding. When they don’t, we remove them and elect different leaders.
And finally, one of the most important:
5. If government is not fulfilling its purpose (protecting our rights) we have a duty to alter it so that it starts fulfilling its purpose.
Now, this list may sound familiar. That’s because the principles are taken straight from the heart of the Declaration of Independence, the charter of America. This is what our Founding Fathers believed. This is what conservatives, real, true, Constitutional conservatives believe. These are our traditional values and attitudes that we fight everyday to protect from harm or destruction.
We do not fight to protect these principles because we’re afraid of a change. We do not fight because of a hatred for the other side. We do not fight out of fear, or cowardice, or lust for power.
No, we fight to protect these values because we love this country. We fight because we want to see our children live in prosperity and peace. We fight because we want the world to know what it means to be free.
We protect these values because they have worked. America was not built on socialism. America was not built on the liberal philosophy we see advanced today from both sides of the aisle, of big government, less freedom, and more dependency.
No, America was built on these 5 principles: truth, God-given rights, a government to protect those rights, people holding the power over the government, and the ability to alter government to fulfill its real purpose. This is what built America. This is what has provided freedom and success to millions upon millions of people.
This is real conservatism.
We do not live in a perfect country, history always carries flaws. However, there is no other country in the world where I would want to live.
Is Trump a conservative? Is Palin a conservative? We can only judge by their actions.


  1. Good explanation. I tried to do the same recently.

    We think alike in many ways. I'll follow you on Twitter and watch for future updates.


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