Yesterday I posted the first part of this, which contained a number of more in-depth elements of conservatism. Today I will discuss more commonly discussed aspects of conservatism and I challenge those who disagree to tell me why these elements are wrong or evil.
1) Government should be smaller and occur at the state and local level
Conservatives believe that government should not be a bloated, monstrous entity within the country. Government needs to be as small and efficient as humanly possible. The more it grows, the more bureaucracy emerges and with increased bureaucracy comes problems. Offices jockeying for power and contracts. Special interests become dominant in a bloated federal government. Any change or revitalization effort becomes mired among the different agencies and offices. Programs compete for funding from a fixed budget and then the question becomes who gets what amount? Also, one has to ask where the funding will come from and that leads to higher taxes to generate revenue. The federal government typically has difficulty in making many things work and the bigger it is, the less efficient it will become. Conservatives oppose this. Conservatives want a smaller and better run government. Fewer agencies, smaller budget, and less bureaucracy. Conservatives like to see government operate at the state and local level. The country was founded on the federalist system....conservatives would like to see it stay that way, not dominated by a large and powerful central government.
2) Too many taxes are bad
Of course some taxes are necessary for roads, bridges, etc. But what isn't necessary are excessive taxes. Higher rates and marriage penalties hurt people's wallets. People spending money drive the economy and when money is being taken for taxes, less is going to consumer spending. High taxes = low growth; low taxes = high growth. The math is simple. More income means bills are paid, people are buying goods, companies are earning money, hiring more people, etc. But when the a bloated and obese government needs more money for more agencies and programs, more taxes are necessary to pay for those. Do the math on this one....it's pretty easy.
3) A strong national defense is critical
Conservatives believe that a strong national defense is necessary for a free and safe country. That doesn't mean going around looking for fights. That means ensuring that all of the military personnel are fully equipped and prepared for any emerging crisis that might affect the United States. In effect, a deterrent is created against threatening countries (i.e. North Korea, Russia, China). A strong deterrent prevents attacks and ensures that people can say what they like and do what they please in America. Spending on national defense is not a waste and conservatives see the value of a strong military.
4) Free market capitalism is the avenue to free society
Over-regulated markets do not create a free society or growth. The easiest way to check this is to do a bit of research on China. In the 1960s the Chinese economy was purely communist with unchecked government regulation and interference. The economy of China was also in the tank. Growth was unheard of at that point. Government economic programs were failing and people were struggling. But once the government leadership changed and Deng Xioaping instituted some free market principles, allowing farmers to sell excess goods for cash. This allowed people to save money and created the seeds for a middle class. Now, in 2008, China's middle class is a thriving sector of society, spending money and China's growth has been phenomenal. With a large and inefficient central government, regulation of the markets stifles potential growth and inhibits markets. Conservatives oppose over-regulation of the markets and believe that while some regulation is necessary, over-regulation is not the answer.
These are just a few more aspects of conservatism. They tend to focus on fiscal and economic elements. Tomorrow I will look at some of the social aspects that tend to be the more controversial.