LAUREL — A number of commentators have recently encouraged discussion by asking, “What do conservatives believe?”
Well, that’s a difficult one to answer, since all conservatives do not share the same beliefs. Moreover, even when there is agreement on certain principles, we often articulate varied reasoning behind our proposals. Nevertheless, a succinct explanation may be articulated, though other explanations of significance also exist.
Conservatives believe the strength of our republic lies with the individual and that each person’s freedom, ability and opportunity must be responsibly honored and protected from conception to natural death. We do not presume to rule the people; instead, we seek to empower the people to rule themselves, understanding that there is no safe depository of the powers of government but the people. If it is determined they are not enlightened enough to exercise control over their government with discretion, the remedy is not to remove power from them but to educate and inform their discretion. We believe in our countrymen and their individual abilities to perform great deeds, and as such, we pursue the higher virtues of personal responsibility, choosing not to abdicate individual authority to the government. Since self-government represents the cornerstone of our philosophy, we believe people should accept the consequences of their actions, although failure or unhappiness may be the eventual result.