165 Sub-points

The Twelve Points are a statement of conservative principles, objectives, philosophy, and additional guiding considerations, composed by Karl Born, a young Indianapolis writer and attorney, beginning in early 2008, completed on July 2, 2009.

The purpose of the Twelve Points is to serve as a delivery mechanism for distilled, concentrated conservative thinking, with the goal of returning clarity and completeness to popular conservatism, and spreading knowledge of the true principles of conservatism throughout the conservative community.

The idea for the Twelve Points, along with much of the content of the document itself, came from the "Seven Points," which was created by a group of conservative college students in 2003 at Indiana University: Grand Old Cause.

Even in light of the 2010 election results, the conservative movement has become confused and aimless. Certain essential conservative principles and considerations have faded from memory and lost their influence. The Twelve Points will help to solve this problem by reminding us of conservative thinking that we may not have considered recently, and by making that thinking available to new, developing conservatives.

Send your questions or ideas to the12points@gmail.com!


165 Sub-Points

I want to avoid any misunderstanding concerning the content of the Twelve Points.  The particular misunderstanding that I have in mind is a reasonable one, but I still think that those who do not yet understand my goal in writing the Twelve Points deserve to have that information brought to their attention.

The Twelve Points has/have layers upon layers of meaning built into the structure of the document, in addition to the words themselves.  (That's what happens when you spend a year and a half to write a 5-page document.)  The name "The Twelve Points" has understandably caused many people to believe that the twelve named points, as listed here, are the main ideas of this document.  That is not so.  It is true that the content is grouped into twelve categories, but as I wrote the Twelve Points, the document moved more and more away from expressing a formula of twelve larger concepts and in the direction of drawing as much attention as possible to the little details.  Most of the statements on conservatism that I saw circulated in 2009 focused on either those larger, master principles or on a proposed platform for use in the next election or two.  As I wrote the Twelve Points, though, I came to realize that it is in those details that the conservative movement shows the most confusion and faces the greatest dangers; it is in the understanding of those details that we have the greatest need for improvement.  It is easy for a candidate to claim to believe in general freedom, to support the free market, and to favor federalism and the Constitution (and the honest interpretation of it), for example.  From experience, we have found it to be a bit more difficult than that to decide what an alleged conservative understands those ideas to mean.  Does he understand the right to freedom to extend even to acts (or omissions) that he dislikes, provided that they do not intrude on the equal rights of others?  (Then, in interpreting that, how well can he tell the difference between a genuine right and a counterfeit right?)  Does his understanding of the Constitution actually bear some resemblence to its written content, or does he just view it as a philosophical repository for whatever he thinks is right?  Does he understand the free market well enough to recognize economic fallacies and confidently resist pressure and deception?  Does he recognize that for the most part, the constitutional rights of the accused are intended for the protection of the innocent, and that they can only protect the innocent if they are applied uniformly to the accused?  Isn't a conservative (in the sense that he or she identifies with the conservative "side," though not necessarily in the sense of actually knowing, understanding, and appreciating what it is that we believe ought to be "conserved," restored, and carefully improved) who really only has the "gist of it" unprepared to stand up for it?

As I recognized this, and as I collected and catalogued the best conservative ideas that could be stated in this format, I began to view the Twelve Points less as twelve distinct concepts and more as 165 sub-points of a single, coherent philosophy, organized into twelve larger themes.  As a result, it is a mistake to simply read the twelve bold-faced headings, ignoring the 165 sub-points that give them certainty and substance.  Using the Twelve Points, we can make these ideas common knowledge in the conservative community.  In the way that so many self-described conservatives now adopt the themes and slogans of the conservative movement, they will be able to adopt a greater portion of the conservative philosophy than is currently readily available to them.  Once this happens, we will gain not only from the reduction in the portion of conservatives who do not understand conservatism -- we will find also that we have gained the ability to organize around ideas more complex and meaningful than the sound bites now used, and we will better serve the philosophy of conservatism and the United States of America as a result of it.