This country was founded on radical ideas and it is conservative to support them. I have always thought of myself as a conservative with radical actions to support these principles.
For example, this country was founded on the idea of religious freedom. To me, that means that no one group has the “freedom” or the “right” to run roughshod over another’s belief or way of worshipping. Our fore- mothers and fathers were trying to get away from the tyranny of a one-party belief system.
This open approach to “religion” is very close to what I know as that of the first/native people of this land. I have heard native elders say two things that apply here. The first is “The great mystery” is greater than any of us. Every group has some pieces of the truth and we are all climbing the same mountain to gain in wisdom and knowledge. How much better off we will be if each group shares its wisdom with the all.
The second was said to me by a Navajo elder. He said – I don’t care how you pray. The important thing to me is that you do pray. Then, you can always stand beside me.
- We need our differences so we can better approach the wisdom of the whole.
- We need always to make choices that move us toward greater freedom and wisdom for us all.
Never, never can our national laws be distorted so that they represent the beliefs of a few imposing themselves upon the all.
Also, in the wisdom of our founders and the native people of this land, there was a recognition that all – ALL – are created equal and have an equal right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” It is CONSERVATIVE not to make laws that limit or make illegal who another person is unless those behaviors are destructive to the all. For example, to make a law that says that a woman does not have a right to choose what happens to her body is unconstitutional and not conservative.
A law that states who can love who is not conservative or constitutional. The founders of this country were conservative in establishing open-minded beliefs and radical in supporting them.
For one group to try, because of their religious belief system, to impose their religious beliefs on the all, goes against the very grounds on which this country was founded. Even if those beliefs were/are radical, they are the founding beliefs of this country.
Sometimes, we forget how amazing and difficult it is to try to operationalize those basic founding beliefs when our “religious teachings and beliefs differ.”
- The major issue we are facing right now in this country and throughout our shrinking world is –
Can open systems like those of our founders survive when the goal of closed systems is to destroy everything unlike themselves?
- Our founders posed this question.
- It is our responsibility to try to find creative ways to answer it.
In this country, conservatism means that we are always striving for the greatest level of freedom for all people whether we agree with their religious beliefs or not.
For example, freedom means that those who do not believe in abortion have the right not to do it and not the right to impose that prohibition on others.
- That is just the way it is.
- I see no place for demagoguery in the “conservative” scenario.
- The positions of the two major political parties are NOT equal on these important issues.
- The vision of our founders is greater than any of our petty, personal agendas.
2 thoughts on “Let’s Talk Conservatism”
I love the reminder about the founding beliefs of this county and the dangers of a closed system. Thank you. Bette Talbot
I really, really like this piece Anne… very powerful. I am going to think more about this with the lens of ‘how do we engage people in the conversation’. Thank you 🙂