Conservatives Must Focus on Principles, Not Parties

By Aaron Rice
July 24, 2009

A recent column in The American Spectatormagazine provides an important perspective for conservatives: we need to re-focus on principles, not parties. If we do that the right way, the politicians will respond, but if we don't engage - if we pull out of the debate because the political parties have let us down - we may never regain our country.

I don't mean the Republicans will never regain control; they might. But we have seen the futility of that strategy for advancing conservative principles.

What I mean is that we as Americans will never regain the country our Founders designed as a sanctuary of liberty if we as conservatives don't "relearn politics" as the writer of the Spectator article says. Alarmist on my part? Perhaps, but remember what Ronald Reagan said:

"Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free."

It seems to me that conservatives stopped fighting after Reagan left office. It is almost as if we thought we had arrived, we had won the war, when Reagan was elected. But that was only a battle. The war goes on, and our children and grandchildren will suffer if we don't reclaim our country. There have been blips of resurgence from conservatives here and there, such as the Contract with America, but too many people counted on the Republican Party to fight the conservative fight. That did not happen, and we cannot expect it to happen in the future.

If those of us who believe in liberty don't speak out now to the adults in our society, and if we don't teach our children and grandchildren about the America for which the Founders pledged their "lives, fortunes, and sacred honor," then freedom in America may indeed end with this generation.

That's why we recently reprinted our Governing by Principle primer and why our work remains so critical. Principles of freedom are especially important to articulate now, when people are seeing more clearly the contrast between socialism and free markets, between the "government is our savior" philosophy and the reality that "more government = less freedom."

Thank you for your financial partnership with us at Mississippi Center for Public Policy. Your support is the lifeblood of our work, and we are grateful.


Forest Thigpen, President


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