Text, not the Test















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!


TUESDAY, MARCH 30, 2010

Definitive Statements of Conservative Principles: the Text, Not the Test

I believe I have made this point before, but I want to repeat it periodically in order to prevent the Twelve Points from being misused:

The Twelve Points are not meant to be criteria for deciding who is a conservative and who is not.  They are meant to spread certain conservative ideas (in HD!).  Though it might be said that they promote some sort of conservative "purity," the Twelve Points would do so by expounding conservatism and causing others to agree with us instead of by marking those who disagree with us and sending them into political exile.  The Twelve Points are meant to promote excellence in conservative thought, not to mark and punish inadequacy.

If I had intended simply to write a document to set forth minimum standards for use of the term "conservative," it could not have been nearly as detailed or ambitious.  For example, in stating, "[T]he myriad of small but unjustified government expenditures cannot be separately defended by pointing out the relative insignificance of each of them alone, as the dollar is no less valuable when it is counted in pennies," I do not attempt to excommunicate all conservatives who have shrugged off certain spending items because of their relative inexpensiveness.  Instead, my intention was to point out to them that "the myriad of small but unjustified government expenditures cannot be separately defended by pointing out the relative insignificance of each of them alone, as the dollar is no less valuable when it is counted in pennies," with the expectation that once that point had been properly brought to their attention, they would not make that mistake as easily in the future.

Similarly, the Eleventh Point, Contemplation and Prudence, is meant to remind conservatives that we may do more harm than good unless we remember to stay calm, think, and be inquisitive and candid.  I could have written it to identify and condemn groups of conservatives that might violate this principle, but it would not have made sense to choose that option, at this point.  Why should we declare them our enemies when we might still be able to successfully encourage them to become better (wiser, more firmly conservative) allies?

That is the logic behind the Twelve Points.  We could purify the conservative movement by identifying and purging bad conservatives, but wherever possible, it would be a better option to help them to become better conservatives.
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