This article is long! You will have to print it out and read it in little bits. It took me 15 minutes to read!
The title is “How Will Conservatism Become Credible Again?”. Paul Ryan is one of the “ideas” conservatives in the Congress. His job is to think up new bills and initiatives that reflect conservative ideals.
Let’s learn about America
Here, he talks about how the conservative vision of government values liberty and personal responsibility over equality of outcomes and “social justice”:
Nowhere was the Western tradition epitomized more memorably than in the Declaration of Independence. By “the laws of nature and of nature’s God,” all human beings are created equal…not in height, or skills, or knowledge, or color, or other nonessentials…but equal in certain inalienable rights – to live, to be free, and to fulfill their best individual potential, including the right to the “material” such as property needed to do this. Each individual is unique and possesses rights and dignity. There are no group or collective rights in the Declaration. Nor does basic human equality imply “equal result.” It means “equal opportunity”: every person has a right not to be prevented from pursuing happiness, from developing his or her potential. The results should differ from one to another because “justice” or “fairness” gives each individual what each has earned or merited.
The great conservative purpose of government is to secure these natural rights under popular consent. Protecting every person’s life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness should be the great and only mission of legitimate government.
He talks about how the Constitution’s purpose is to enable prosperity through free market capitalism:
The authors of the Constitution surrounded economic freedom with a multitude of guarantees: freedom of contract against government interference… private property rights… patents and copyrights…standard weights, measures, and monetary values…punishment of counterfeits…freedom under law for interstate and foreign commerce…enforcement of agreements in law courts… uniform bankruptcy laws, and other protections.
They promoted Smithian free markets to produce resources for strong military defenses and to keep America free of economic dependency on other nations. But they also expected commercial life to encourage certain moral qualities: personal responsibility to work, save, create businesses, hire employees, pay off their debts, earn the rewards of merited effort, moderate appetites, practice honesty and justice in business dealings, self-discipline, industriousness, timeliness, plus trust and confidence in other persons.
And he talks about how America is a country where social conservatives and fiscal conservatives should be united:
A “libertarian” who wants limited government should embrace the means to his freedom: thriving mediating institutions that create the moral preconditions for economic markets and choice. A “social issues” conservative with a zeal for righteousness should insist on a free market economy to supply the material needs for families, schools, and churches that inspire moral and spiritual life. In a nutshell, the notion of separating the social from the economic issues is a false choice. They stem from the same root.
Did you know that Republicans believe in the right to life, the sanctity of marriage and the public expression of faith? These values were present at our founding, and Republicans hold to them because they are American values.
Since America’s first political principles establish a high but limited mission of securing the natural rights of all, conservatives should expect government to fulfill that entire mission…by enforcing every human being’s natural right to life, which is the first clause of the social compact that formed America, the Declaration of Independence.
A credible conservatism will also seek to secure the privileged legal status of marriage. The traditional family must be protected as the indispensable mediating institution for developing the moral qualities of a free people.
A credible conservatism will resist the purging of faith from the public square. It will make public space for the practice of faith because belief is a central pillar of a free and prosperous society. Nor can government welfare programs substitute for the faith-based love that unites citizens in free bonds of charity and compassion.
Recommended for my readers from at home, or abroad, who need a refresher on the vision of conservatism… or a breath of fresh air from the fetid leftist gasses emanating from the White House.
We haven’t forgotten our principles.