Thursday, April 12, 2007

Definitions . . .

Glen Dean posted his definition of conservatism and invited me and several others to produce ours --which I will try to do in the coming days. Glen writes:
I believe in a small, less intrusive government . . . The role of government, as I see it, is to protect it's citizenry. Taxes should be collected for that simple purpose, as well as the day to day costs of government. When governments spend tax receipts on wealth redistribution and the subsidizing of farming and industry, government increases it's power and the individual loses power. . . I believe in individual rights as opposed to collectivism. Equality at the starting gate is one thing, but when a society seeks to achieve equality at the finish line, individualism and the incentive to produce is undermined.

My belief in individualism and personal liberty influence my belief that capitalism is the true manifestation of liberty. I have been accused of being an advocate of business, but that is not true. I am an advocate of free market capitalism. To only be an advocate of business, I would have to support tariffs and corporate subsidies. I do not and I do not believe that subsidizing business is in any way conservative. I believe in free markets and free trade with our neighbors, while still supporting the sovereignty of the United States of America.

I would have--and I'm guessing that's why he asked me--a different definition of the term. In the mean time, I will link to Daniel Larison's excellent definitition of what distinguishes paleoconservatives from the other kind:
. . . we retain more strongly a recognition of the limits, needs and purpose of human nature, we seem to remember history more keenly, we instinctively refuse to trust governments regardless of which people run them, and we are less inclined to justify moral abominations when they are committed by our government or by people in our society (perhaps because we are not in positions of influence or power and do not feel compelled to justify the unjustifiable to retain those positions).(emphasis added)

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