Real conservatives trying to save individual liberties
I read with interest – and no little amusement – letter-writer Eric Collier’s missive in your July 22 issue.
Like many American liberals, Mr. Collier labors under a misapprehension that conservatism in this country is somehow inextricably linked with racism; creationism or other such religious claptrap; and “saber-rattling,” whatever that means.
Dismissing the last with the observation that all our major wars of the last century were initiated by Democratic presidents, I will note only that true American conservatism must perforce be conservative of those 18th-
century liberal values on which this country was founded.
Yes, liberal values.
But I hope Mr. Collier does not think this proves his point. Those 18th century views are very far from the liberal vision of today.
The sanctity of the individual permeates these old values. The rights of the individual to be secure in one’s beliefs, speech and possessions are sacrosanct – U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft, please note the former; Environmental Protection Agency administrators, the latter.
Personal reward for personal effort – and achievement through hard work – are recognized as vital engines of progress, both for the individual and the nation.
Civic virtue and public circumspection are to be prized, and moral probity, religiously based or not, is to be valued in a citizen. The state should not be completely trusted and should always be watched carefully as the servant it is.
There are perhaps other values for the true American conservative, but the above are basic and enduring. They should be.
They, and not belief in the supremacy of the state, the paramount importance of the group, the sanctity of self-esteem or the necessity for political correctness, created the nation we enjoy today.
Recognition of this simple fact is what makes knowledgeable conservatives smile when liberals claim credit for “progress.”
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