It comes to mind that I have not explained the foundational beliefs of what I am calling Blind Lemur Conservatism. That needs to change. The ideas of what is or is not conservative have become, at best, muddied over the years. And that harms the movement, and aids the opposition.
We need to first define conservatism, in the sense I believe in. This isn’t going to be the conservatism of the Republicans or Libertarians, this is what I believe matters in the context of the modern world.
Conservative foundational beliefs include:
- Absolute freedom of speech.
- Small Government – the smaller the better. In almost all cases, the private sector can do things better than the government, and should do them.
- Absolute freedom of religion – this must include freedom from religion as well, and total separation of religion and state.
- No Governmental Interference – the government should stay out of my life unless or until compelled to by a specific set of actions.
- Absolute freedom of association – this must include disassociation as well.
- Individual Liberty – the citizen is the foundation of the state, and until or unless they interfere with the rights of others, the state should respect their right to do as they will.
- The right to defend yourself as needed – this covers bearing arms, which is needed for a free society.
- Absolute freedom to enter into civil unions with any number of consenting adults – the state should not be in the business of defining family.
Foundational Belief: Absolute Freedom of Speech
I have covered this elsewhere. There must be no limit on freedom of speech in a free society. Therefore, when I shout from the rooftops about how the Lilliputians need to be deported, that is my right. And there must be no governmental sanction or punishment. That does not mean a lack of social consequences. If you are wildly out of step with society, there is no reason to expect acceptance of your ideas. And this also means that if I use slurs as I commit a crime, I must not be charged with some nebulous ‘hate crime’. There is no need to protect people proclaiming their love of puppies. That isn’t what free speech is. Protecting people saying that Lilliputians are less than human is what free speech is about, and why it is the first and most important of our foundational beliefs.
Foundational Belief: Small Government
Small government doesn’t mean anarchy. What it means is the reduction of the federal authority to the minimum needed to run the nation. That means we will have more government functions now than when the Constitution was written – that is obvious. But that doesn’t mean we need or want a bloated bureaucracy. We especially do not need one that makes rules that are enforced as laws, with no oversight from the people. Small government is best because it keeps out of the way. We don’t, as a rule, need protection from Suzy’s lemonade stand. We do need to ensure toxic food is kept from the market.
Further, the government needs to let private enterprise do what it does best. When there is a function of government that is better when run by the private sector, it should be. Yes, protect the population from fraud. Yes, ensure that things are fair. Just keep that protection at the leanest level possible. There is no reason to view a government job as eternal, noble, or allow bureaucrats to manufacture rules as they see fit. It is just a job. Leave the rules-making to the elected lawmakers.
Foundational Belief: Absolute Freedom of Religion
This is a no-brainer. You have the right to worship whom you choose, how you choose. Full stop. That includes no one, nothing, money, celebrity, or pasta. To support anything else is tyranny. In addition, there must be no litmus test of religion for positions. None. Ever.
As always, this is for the public sector. If I don’t want to hire adherents of the Esoteric Order of Dagon, that must be my right. If society rejects that and I loose my business, that must be allowed to happen.
Freedom of religion includes freedom from religion. That means there can be no required faith, or lack of faith. Forcing belief is wrong. And, of course, forcing disbelief is as well.
The state must remain outside religion completely. The function of the state is not to proselytize, but to maintain public and civil order. At no level should the state act in support or restriction of a specific religion. Conversely, religion must remain out of the business of the state. This includes using services as campaign rallies. Since the state must be neutral in the matter of religion, religions should be taxed. Taxed as if they were non-profit entities (which, in my personal opinion, they should be). And yes, if evangelical atheism gets organized, that organization should be taxed in the same manner as the Catholic Church.
Foundational Belief: No Governmental Interference
We believe that the government who governs least governs best. At the personal level, that mean that the government must keep out of my life. Keep out unless I require intervention. And that usually means in response to infringement on someone else’s rights. Period.
While this is part of many of the other foundational beliefs I’ve listed, the reason I listed it separately is that it needs to be considered as a foundational belief without any other factor clouding the issue.
The government is there to conduct international relations, settle interstate disputes, defend the nation, and serve as a final arbiter of intrastate issues. That is all. It is not there to make sure I do this or that piddling thing correctly. Follow @CrimeADay (shown below) on Twitter to get an idea of what I mean.
This does not, emphatically, mean the government should let people die in the streets. The second part – unless compelled to – is the vital part. There must be a safety net for those who are in need of one. The emphasis here is need. Not for those who are merely too lazy to contribute. No, the net is for those who are in need. As a result, it should be temporary, comprehensive (what good is a food card if you have no home, or are too sick to get food?), and have strings attached. Therefore, I would like to see mandatory job training and drug rehab (as needed) be those strings. Yes, we the people will help those in need, but they need to be part of the solution too.
Foundational Belief: Absolute Freedom of Association
Like many other foundational beliefs, this is a ‘leave me alone’ belief. Above all, people must be free to associate with whom they choose. Likewise, do not force people to associate against their will. Because it is very simple. Forcing people together against their wishes does not often lead to positive outcomes. While there should be encouragement to meet and get to know the other, compelling it is not the function of government.
However, government helping to achieve that end, subsidizing it, is indeed a function. The government is there to keep the people safe – and when we accept the other as being one of us, we are more prone to seek to defend them, and the community is stronger.
Foundational Belief: Individual Liberty
Above all, the individual. The individual is the foundation of the state. Because of that, the individual must be free to act in their own self-interest. When that is not allowed, the result is tyranny.
This is another expression of the foundational belief that the government must leave us alone. The difference here is that this belief emphasizes the relationship of people to one another. I will cover this again. People who are not free to do as they will, so long as it doesn’t interfere with another, are not free at all.
It is also important to understand what ‘interfere’ means. This does not invalidate the freedom of association, or the freedom to run a business as you feel is correct. If you won’t serve me due to my skin color or gender, that is your right. And I will never say otherwise. Not being able to get a cake from a specific bakery does not infringe your rights. You don’t have a right to cake.
Foundational Belief: The Right To Self Defense
Our Constitution is pretty unique in that it enshrines the right of the citizen to take up arms in defense. Not as a conscript or vassal, but as a free person, defending themselves, their family, or their community. This right is key to the continuance of freedom.
I don’t claim to know what the Founders thought, I never have. I don’t know if they mentioned a militia, as in the National Guard, or a local watch group, or if they intended to arm everyone. What I do know is that they knew history – and I know some of that too. And historically, the difference between civil arms and the arms of the state were laws and price. A bow was a tool of a hunter, or an archer in the service. A sword was too expensive for the common man, but if they could afford it, no different from the sword of a soldier.
And a musket or rifle of the frontiersman was the same as the soldier. There was no difference. Yes, there would be soon, with the advent of breech-loading, the Prussian needle rifle, repeaters, and then automatics. But that wasn’t the case when this was written. They knew, however, that a populace armed like the military was necessary to preserve the freedoms they won.
Armed. Like. The. Military.
The Bill of Rights does two things – it bans the actions that infuriated the founding fathers, and enshrines the rights needed to stage a second revolution. And then makes the things that you need to do in order to revolt legal. And you must be able to defend yourself. We have words for those not allowed to defend themselves.
Foundational Belief: Absolute freedom to enter into civil unions with any number of consenting adults
Why, yes, I did read too much Heinlein at too young an age.
Look, the state should not be in the marriage business. That is a church function. The state should allow any combination of people to enter a civil union, with all the tax and benefit benefits that we get as married people. And the state must not care who is involved.
I explained this to a gay couple once – conservatives should be the strongest ally of gay marriage. Why? Simple. At the core, conservatism is the desire to keep the state out of my life as much as possible. And what is more intimate and personal than who you partner with? Thus, if I want them out of my live, especially there, then I must fight to keep them out of your life as well. It’s just that simple.
Foundational Beliefs: The Conclusion
This is just a document that outlines some beliefs I think should become the core of a new conservative movement. Sadly, the Republican Party has abandoned the conservative beliefs that they were founded upon. We have ceded everything to the left in a foolish pursuit of compromise and accommodation.
These are important things, make no mistake. However, under no circumstances should we have abandoned our foundational beliefs in order to find that commonality.
And we have done just that.
Republicans allowed the party of institutional discrimination to convince the public that they were the party of equality – even as they preach the same defenses of slavery they used in 1850. We allowed them to define us as racists, as hateful and harmful to the public. We allowed them to set the rules, determine the venue, pick the referees, and then we wonder why we lose the game. At every turn, we ceded control to the left, and never stopped to wonder about that.
The time has come for conservatives to stop allowing the regressive left to control the narratives and set their own set of rules. The time has come to end the GOP, and begin anew, with purpose and resolve. That is what BLC is about, and what we see as our foundational beliefs, our focus.
Freedom. Equality. Independance. Cooperation. Join us, and be welcomed regardless of your identity. We only care about your beliefs. These are our foundational beliefs.