At its root, the conservative message is simple. It gets muddied and confused in the elaborate scheme of politics, but every so often, a Republican dares to correct the course. And it would be to the undying benefit of the party to pursue this simple message more often, because it’s one that speaks straight to the human soul.
The message, in a nutshell, is this: In this thing we call life, you can’t expect anyone to give you one damn thing. Tough, but true. But the great thing about the United States is that if you work hard enough, you can have anything your heart desires. Isn’t that a beautiful message? Doesn’t it ring true? Doesn’t it embody everything that is great about liberty, individual freedom, and the power of the human spirit?
Unfortunately, it’s not often that we get a Republican – much less a presidential candidate – to put aside the usual political rhetoric long enough to get back to the basics. That’s why Dr. Ben Carson’s interview on this week’s Fox News Sunday was such a breath of fresh air. Never afraid to be blunt, politically incorrect, and honest, Carson took on a tough question from host Chris Wallace. Confronted with thingss like Obama’s free community college proposition, do Republicans risk falling into the old, we-are-for-the-rich stereotypes by opposing the president?
“There are Pell grants available for poor people to go to community college already,” Carson said, “they have existed for years and they are very effective. For those who are not poor, there is a four letter word that works extremely well. It’s called w-o-r-k, work.”
Carson went on the say that the point of government was not to pass out money to everyone. It was there to “facilitate our ability to have life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
Often have the words been spoken, but rarely have they been put in such a forceful, plain manner. This is conservatism, full stop. It is a philosophy on life that extends well beyond the boundaries of any particular presidential election. It isn’t about illegal immigration, drug laws, police militarization, Obamacare, or anything else. Those are important issues, but they don’t speak to the heart of the ideology.
Conservatism, at its heart, is about looking to the lessons of history to inform the present. While liberals rely on theory, specious social studies, gut feeling, and popular trends, conservatives look to the history books. They see what’s worked in the past, and they apply it to the present. Sometimes it has to be modified. Sometimes it doesn’t. But when applied correctly, it never fails. Ever.
The funny thing is that almost any liberal that has made a name for themselves in any arena of life is actually a living, breathing example of conservatism in action. Unless they were fortunate enough to be born with a silver spoon in their mouth, they worked their tail off to get where they are. They know first-hand the power of hard work, discipline, and self-sacrifice. They know what it takes to be successful. But shamefully, they refuse to let that knowledge inform their politics. They instead preach this fairytale about an American utopia, where the government is responsible for the success of every struggling citizen. It’s a nonsense message, it is antithetical to history, and it is contrary to the laws of man and nature. Republicans would do well to point that out once in a while.