I believe that quote is a short and sweet definition of conservatism. Since Goldwater, there have been many so-called conservative leaders who, in my opinion, "talk the talk, but fail miserably to walk their talk." For all their verbosity, most of their actions are largely in favor of large corporations and wealthy businessmen to the detriment of most Americans, including the children, the elderly, and our future generations. They've also come up with these new-wave catch-phrase names for their perversions: social conservatism, neo-conservatism, right-wing conservatism, and compassionate conservatism.
Below is a list of dos and don'ts that characterize my idea of conservatism and the particular walk I talk and like to think I walk.
- Don't mess with the U. S. constitution, it may not be perfect, but it has withstood the test of time. If it's not there by now; it doesn't need to be there.
- Don't spend more money than you take in. The national debt mortgages the lives of our children, grandchildren, and maybe future generations. Cutting taxes is great, but don't do it until after you've cut spending and can afford it.
- Work hard to decrease the size of government. Less government is more productive in the long run. Instead of combining overlapping branches, trim them.
- Do provide a strong national defense, do make alliances with other countries that enhance that defense. Respect the conflicting values of our allies, except in the area of intrinsic human rights (the Bill of Rights).
- Do not use the military outside the U. S., except to enhance our defense or to provide humanitarian aid. Make it the very last alternative.
- Do not do battle in foreign lands without a clear objective and a commitment in common with our allies.
- Neither help nor hinder business. Either process creates an artificial environment which will eventually hurt the country and/or its citizens.
- Protect, educate, sustain, and encourage the young. They are our future. Give each child the same opportunity for success.
- Make every possible effort to leave the environment as we found it. Encourage renewable energy sources and discourage the non-renewable or high-polluting ones.
- Honor, respect, and do not abridge the rights of individuals to live, to enjoy life, and to worship in their own chosen ways.
In my opinion, using the above list for scoring, ninety percent or more would qualify a leader as a good conservative. There are some good conservative leaders in the government, but not many. We need more.