It might seem like a fairly simple question, but over the past few years, conservatism has been completely distorted. Many of those who are uninformed in the age of information, chose to simply accept the facts, usually presented by liberal elites and the media, as they are presented and ask no further questions. Many people call Donald Trump and congressional republicans conservatives, but are they really? In the world of politics, terms are thrown around fast and loose and as a consequence, only those who ask questions and search for answers can find some semblance of the truth. I am going to attempt to clear some of this up.
There are many common principles that all conservatives should believe, but there are some core that stand out. So, what are those principles? To sum them up as simply as possible: government should be limited, everyone is responsible for their own actions, you have the right to believe whatever you want, your rights come from a higher power, and the free market is, and always will be, superior to any other economic system. If you were to give this list in the form of yes or no questions it could serve as a kind of “litmus test”. Anyone who agrees with all these statements falls on the conservative side of the political spectrum. There’s also a good chance that you will find most libertarians in this fold as well. Anyone who disagrees and believes in the idea of big government is without a doubt a liberal, or a progressive, or a democrat, or a socialist, or whatever version of that word they prefer.
Within these principles, there are many different sub-groups that fall under the conservative umbrella. For example, the three largest groups are the social, neo, and economic conservatives. Ask anyone who defines themselves as a conservative and you are likely to get much more than these three particular classifications. I myself do not identify with any of the groups, I am a conservatarian. In other words a mix between a conservative and a libertarian.
It is important to note that the president and many of the Republicans in Congress would fail this test. If you even support ideas that increase the size government and its control over your life, you are in no way a conservative. I’m looking at you Donald Trump, the populist who posed as a Republican. Although to be fair, Trump has pushed many conservative ideas as a result of his advisors and staffers in the white house.
It’s also important to clarify what conservatives are not. We are not: racists, sexist, xenophobic, homophobic, Islamaphobic, or any other phobia related to someone’s appearance that you can come up with. Conservatives judge an individual based on their character, not how they look. If someone claiming to judge based on one of the above -ists or -bics, they are not conservatives, they are liberals. That’s right, liberals. It is important that we draw conclusions for what we believe based on context and on facts, not feelings. As the famed author and columnist Ben Shapiro says “Facts don’t care about your feelings.” As hard as the facts may sound, no matter how “unkind” or “hateful” social justice warriors may deem them, they are what should guide all political decisions.
So, what is a conservative? Simply put, it someone who believes that you should mind your own business. But, feel free to disagree with me, even if you are a conservative. This is just my interpretation of what being a conservative is.