Tuesday, September 4, 2012

What it Means to Be Conservative - Part 1: Limited Government and Free Enterprise

I've discovered some excellent videos that present a concise, rational, and easy-to-understand explanation for the conservative position. I'll be posting them over the next couple weeks with a little bit of commentary.


The first video deals with two of the most important things conservatives stand for: limited government and free enterprise. I like the way Bill Whittle points out in the video that both of these positions grow from our view of human nature as being imperfect and non-perfectable. We conservatives have a healthy skepticism of human motivation. We believe that people have a natural tendency to look out for their own self-interest first. It's not that no one ever acts altruistically (we know that there are many cases of people helping others with no benefit to themselves), but we don't simply trust people to always act for the good of others. Thus, we wish to limit the power that any person (or any group of people) has over others.

It is this desire that leads to a position of limited government. While we recognize the need for government to make laws and protect the people in society, we also realize that the people in society need protection from those in government. We conservatives know that government, like individual people, tends to look out for its own interest. Having limitations in place to protect the citizens from abuse by government is wise.

The preference for free enterprise also comes from this same view of human nature. We realize that people engage in transactions that are of benefit to themselves. The good thing about free enterprise is that it uses this fact of human selfishness to mutual advantage. Unlike government, businesses must convince you to voluntarily give them money for their goods and services. Thus, they have good reason (for the sake of their own interests) to ensure that they have quality products and service and that every one of their customers is happy with their experience. When people have the option to choose whom they will do business with and each transaction is voluntary, the experience is far more pleasant and satisfying for everyone.

Most of what I just wrote is covered, more or less, in the video. However, there is one other thing I'll point out that was not in the video. This view of inherent human imperfection and selfishness is consistent with a Biblical worldview. The Bible tells us that man is fallen from the perfect state in which God made him and has a natural tendency to do wrong. Obviously, one doesn't have to have a Biblical worldview in order to agree that humans are inherently selfish (you need only look around you), but it is consistent with what the Bible says.

So, without further ado, here is the first video. I hope you will find it enlightening, affirming, or at least educational.


Here are all the parts of this series on What it Means to Be Conservative:

Part 1: Limited Government and Free Enterprise
Part 2: Anti-Elitism
Part 3: Wealth Creation
Part 4: Natural Law
Part 5: The Right to Bear Arms
Part 6: Legal Immigration
Part 7: American Exeptionalism

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