Iggy Pop, in his satirical song, “I’m a Conservative,” jokingly sang, “Conservatism ain’t no easy job.” And, on college campuses, he’s right. Being a conservative ain’t easy. Clearly, in my four years here at Marquette I’ve been out of the closet as a conservative. But, this “alternative lifestyle” I chose to engage in remains a mystery to some. So here’s a list of the basic reasons why I’m a conservative and you should be, too, even if it’s unpopular in academia’s culture of intolerance.
Freedom. As human beings, we are not entitled to things granted to us by a benevolent government. Instead, we are endowed by God with certain rights that the government cannot usurp. A liberal believes he can force something he deems to be good on people, but that necessitates stealing other’s freedom. As Barry Goldwater said, “A government that is big enough to give you all you want is big enough to take it all away.” So when you hear politicians promising things — from “free” health care to “free” college education — be skeptical. Most likely they are trying to buy votes with other people’s money to gain power and limit freedom.
Government isn’t good at “fixing” problems. I think Americans are largely a capable and caring people, sufficiently able to respond to the dire needs of the poor without involuntary compulsion. When government acts to “help” people, there are most often negative side effects. It’s a fact that we conservatives donate more money to charity than liberals. Conservatives see a societal ill and strive to fix it in the manner we see fit. Liberals may have the same endgoal in mind, but go about it through the government – that is, with others’ money.
The free market. I believe that each person is different, possessing unique strengths. The free market respects this diversity. Trying to pigeonhole a person is an assault on human dignity. This respect for diversity is best seen in the free market.
Fiscal Responsibility. Taxes are not good and should be low. When someone earns a dollar, it’s his. There needs to be a compelling reason to take a portion of it. High taxes are an assault on human dignity. They lower the value of hard work. Government can take a certain percentage of a person’s income. But, in order to be fair, it must be the same rate for all. Raising taxes on the “rich” will always score political points—no one sees himself as rich. But when politicians raise taxes disproportionately on the rich through the guise of the “common good,” it is no different than masked horsemen stealing from who they deem to be “too rich.”
Respect for the Second Amendment…Enjoying guns is one thing we can all understand. Something that liberals rarely understand is the role of firearms against tyrannical government. Firearms serve as our last defense against tyrannical governments. Without this basic understanding, there would be no United States. Raising arms against the British ensured the freedoms we now enjoy. This option must always be on the table. Goldwater, again: “Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice.”
Free trade. Since the world is extremely diverse and good lies everywhere on the globe, liberalizing markets is key in providing a plethora of goods and services to all people of the world. It lowers prices, increases choice and creates wealth, which subsequently begets more wealth.