I’m on a email list where a center-left pastor made this comment:
I was taken “shooting” on Christmas with some [Christian] gun enthusiasts at their club, and all they could talk about was how Obama was regulating them and how the costs had gone up for their ammunition. I doubt if Obama has spent one minute figuring out a way to regulate ammunition for gun enthusiasts, but that was their perception! And they want the government to stay far away from health care, and global warming/climate control. But they want the government right in the middle of gay marriage! I have a hard time finding the common thread! But perhaps there is someone who can help bring light!
This made me smile. I can just imagine this pastor shaking his head at these conservative gun enthusiasts and how they want the government to back off in the their own areas of self interest while at the same time urging the government to push restrictions on others. How indeed does one make sense of this?!
First, just because conservatives want limited government in no way means we want NO government. Even conservatives recognize that government is needed in certain areas, like establishing a military for our defense, or creating laws for a decent and civil society. We just want things kept to a reasonable minimum because we know that in general, the more laws and regulations government passes, the larger and more powerful the government becomes, the less liberty each of us will have and the less we will personally be able to be responsible or accountable for our lives and the lives of our families. In our view, for example, welfare is what contributed in large part to the destruction of the black family, which used to be quite strong.
But conservatives are not libertarians.
Libertarians want as much liberty as possible, so long as your liberties don’t cross the line and infringe on me. Conservatives, on the other hand, add to the desire for liberty, a desire for wisdom that has been taught us over the generations (and especially through the Bible). Wisdom shows us what things can lead to the fall of our society, and what things we need to nurture and protect. American conservatives have especially been endeared to the wisdom of our founding fathers and the amazing documents they created for us over two centuries ago.
Truly, conservatives want to conserve the wisdom and principles of our founding fathers. I for one, honestly believe that Providence guided them. I think God did so because He knew what would be required to protect liberty in the twentieth century from Nazism and communism. And I don’t want to lose what God has bequeathed us.
So yes, there is a moral component to conservatism. We do want the government to set certain moral restraints. An unborn baby is a person no matter how small it is and deserving of respect and value. Marriage is principally meant to care and provide for children which deserve both a mother and father. But such standards don’t expand the size of the government. Health care does. Drastically so. And in a manner that moves towards a socialistic solution which history shows us simply doesn’t work.
As I wrote previously on this email list:
What do conservatives hope their game plan will achieve for the world? They hope it will facilitate Godly wisdom and thereby increase accountability, responsibility and individual decency while also restraining destructive behaviors and protecting our civil society.
I meant exactly that. Conservatives don’t want to just allow anything. We do want to restrain destructive behaviors that we believe will hurt our society. At the same time we want to encourage personal accountability and responsibility. And to do that we need a limited government that grants us lots of liberty.
How about you? Does that make sense?