Small Government Conservatives and Conservative Principles

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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Small Government Conservatives and Conservative Principles Survived

On Saturday, while looking for an In The Agora post that I thought I remembered from 2005, I came across this, which calls attention to the conservatives who disagreed with President Bush during his presidency.

This is important as another example of how confusion has produced division (or part of such an example, anyway). Libertarians are disgusted with conservatives who abandoned the freedom-defending, constitutionalist, "small government" positions that they had claimed to support. Unfortunately, it is true that a lot of conservatives did abandon those positions. They have found it easy to oppose spending and budget deficits during the presidency of a liberal, but many of the same "conservative" politicians failed to take that position during the Bush administration, and they leave us with no reason to trust that they would take that position if returned to power.

Usually, at this point, I would explain how popularizing the Twelve Points could help to solve this problem. In this situation, however, ensuring that as many self-described conservatives as possible actually understand conservatism (and giving all conservatives evidence that their fellow conservatives actually do believe in all of this) is only a beginning. Nevertheless, I cannot think of a solution to this problem that does not involve conservatism becoming better-known throughout the conservative community, and I do believe that the Twelve Points can make this happen.

Concerning small-government conservatives, though it may have been hard to find us over the past decade (we certainly haven't been running the government and engineering legislation), the conservatives who have not abandoned all of those positions still exist. This includes not only those who do genuinely want less government spending, less debt, lower taxes, and freedom from the restrictions and requirements of unjustifiable laws, but also those who do care about the rights protected by the Bill of Rights, even when respecting those rights would somewhat limit our options in pursuing as legitimate and compelling of an objective as national defense.

True conservatism is small-government conservatism, and we haven't given up on our fellow conservatives or our country -- nor will we ever.