Friday, March 27, 2009

Basic Definitions

We hear many claiming and wanting to be called a conservative. Let's see how we compare to some basic definitions:

Dictionary definition - Conservative - A person who is reluctant to accept changes or new ideas.

mmmmm. doesn't sound like it is always good. What it things are bad, and need to be changed?

maybe we can learn from the opposite word - "Liberal"

- tolerant of change, not being bound by authoritarianism, orthodoxy, or tradition

O.K. now we have something to work with. Being bound by a sound tradition, or an authority rooted in principal is a good thing. The 1960's were a time of running away from any authority, orthodoxy, or tradition, and look what happened. Drugs, sex, and hippies. Not exactly forward progress in terms of having a society that holds together. We need authority, orthodoxy, and tradition in order to pass along the values that really work.

Here is a working definition for a conservative:

A conservative is a person who believes that people are responsible for their actions, have God-given freedoms, and are most effective when under minimal interference from governing authorities. Conservatism is highly dependent on individual compliance to a higher set of laws than the laws of man. It results in the highest quality of life as shown by productivity and contribution in all areas. Conservatism operates under the rule of law, and not the rules of public opinion. Winners and losers are part of real life, and conservatives seek to win, and learn from losing.

Application Example:

Businesses are formed by individuals seeing an opportunity to invest, apply skills, take risks, and working hard. Government cannot create the same type of job that adds real wealth to the economy because is replaces all the exposure to the risk and reward of a free market, and turns to an approach of prescribing need, and bringing resources to bear to meet the need. There are certain functions that government must fulfill along these lines, such as military, road construction, etc etc, but we can't make the same arguments about our energy infrastructure or health care. These industries must have the free market to guide right decisions, and keep the pressure of costs as close to the consuming public as possible. If the government steps in and "says" that we need more renewable energy, universal health care, and the best education system in the world.... how will it "create jobs" in these arenas? Passing laws to mandate a certain amount of renewable energy, universal health care, and better education? Conservatives believe that mandates such as these have many many problems. Mandated energy policy based on the need to "solve" global warming is a waste of money because it is based on faulty conclusions from the "science." Conservatives view free markets as being the best means of allowing the lowest cost energy resources to be developed and used. If there are legitimate scientific issues to deal with, free markets must be used to find alternatives. Mandated solutions based on faulty science is the worst of all worlds, resulting in wasted resources, resources that could be used to create more free market wealth. In these times of economic downturn, it is important to not waste resources.

Another example of conservative thought is in regard to business failure. We are being told that the government must step in and infuse capital in certain organizations to keep the entire economy afloat. "Too big to fail" is the mantra we hear, and with AIG, we have gone from taking steps to become the 80% owner of the company to hearing bold statements that the government needs to be given the right to take over running these types of businesses, because they are too big to fail, and supposedly the government agency will keep it from failing if they step in at the needed moment. When asked how we can be sure the government will do a better job, Obama answered by saying that AIG is getting worse, and the only way it will get better is if the government takes control. This was not an answer to the question. This question being asked was a surprising angle from our liberal press, but it is the crux of Liberal vs. conservative views. Conservatives believe private enterprise will make the best decisions, and liberals believe without any doubt that government knows best, does best, and always is the best choice.

The real issue with AIG is that they became one of the entities that swallowed the bad mortgage debt in the form of various financial instruments. Bad mortgages came from a higher than normal defaulting rate. The higher than normal rate was due to a mortgages being bought up by FANNIE/FREDIE, who had been forced to lower their standards of lending practices because of a policy decision to get as many people into their own house as possible. Good sounding goals to get people into a house, but you can't prescribe success by lowering the standards. Liberalism is the root of this idea. Trying to make the outcome the same - housing for everyone. This ended up forcing private entities to take bigger risks than normal, and they justified the risks by having the FANNIE/FREDIE agencies to buy the mortgages once they were made. The false security of the financial institution came crashing down, resulting in the initial blow to our economy, and the never-ending confusion on AIG, the need for government bail-outs etc. We can't solve our economic problems with half-baked sound bites based on liberal ideas.

Conservatives believe in lower taxes to allow more capital to flow into our economy, creating jobs, bringing net economic gain, and allowing us to get back on our feet. Spending trillions on big ideas and calling it investment will take away capital from the free markets, and mortgage away our children's future.