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.

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Conservatism: Many Principles, One Philosophy

The common view of conservatism as two, distinct "economic" and "social" brands of conservatism is mistaken. This nevertheless seems to be the default understanding of conservatism, so it is common to hear those who accept this analysis claim that conservatism has a fractured identity. They rightly observe that conservatism would be incoherent if it favored, as they claim, liberty in economic matters but government intervention in "social" matters. However, theirs is not a proper description of conservatism.

It may be useful to think of conservatives as broken into two "conservative constituencies," as Reagan recommended, and it might be argued that those presently are accurate descriptions of the characteristics of these constituencies. However, we should not confuse conservatism with today's defective popular expression of conservatism. Even if it has been misunderstood by some conservatives, the conservative philosophy survives -- and it is not confounded by such an inexplicable split.

Conservatism integrates and reconciles between five and eight (depending on how they are designated) great conservative themes. To those who know conservatism best, this is the one, true conservatism with which they are familiar -- one philosophy with many principles. It is also the conservatism of the Twelve Points. This conservatism is not yet (or "again," arguably) conscious as a political force, but it draws together a well-developed understanding of liberty and justice, respect and passion for the United States Constitution and the rule of law, an understanding of and a desire to protect and revive economic freedom, an understanding of the dangers of "big government" (which compound as government expands), prudence (or "caution") and a particular unwillingness to abandon our fortunate heritage as Americans: the institutions and traditions of liberty. It also includes "Peace Through [Many Forms Of] Strength" and emphasis on the individual -- including the need to preserve individual responsibility and voluntary association.

A person who believes in one of these conservative principles is not only the natural ally of people who believe in others -- his own philosophy would be better and more complete if he would learn and integrate the other principles into his thinking.

It may be true, as the conventional wisdom holds, that there are now a number of "conservatives" who make senseless categorical exceptions to our principle of individual freedom. It may also be true that their interest in our other principles is lacking. If so, however, there is a fuller, better conservatism waiting to be discovered by them -- or offered to them, if we use the Twelve Points well.