The Conservative Appeal

BY KELLY HARTLINE

My home is Alaska, the Last Frontier, where individualism is the paramount value and the capital is inaccessible by car. I began shooting guns at age five and grew up with Reagan as king. I attended the most liberal high school in Alaska and arguably the most conservative university in Texas. Some would say I was born conservative — it’s not a choice.

What does it mean to me to be a conservative? It means I love my guns. Big government is a big problem. Abortion cannot be justified. There is no wall of separation between church and state. Your money is yours alone. And we are bound by an overarching moral code that even the Supreme Court can’t legislate around.

Being conservative isn’t easy. It is often considered the less fluffy, feel-good position. Liberalism is attractive because it is frequently portrayed as the more compassionate position. The media has even adopted the term “compassionate conservative,” literally substituting “compassionate” for “liberal,” to refer to moderates in the Republican party.

So why am I conservative? I’m conservative because conservativism is generally more logical, more humane, more open-minded, more accurate, wiser and fairer than liberalism.

Given these qualities, it’s perplexing how commonly Harvard Law School flippantly dismisses conservative viewpoints and caters to liberal viewpoints virtually unquestioningly.

We are taught, for example, that the differences between men and women aremeaningless. But it is more logical to recognize that these differences are meaningful and should be respected as such.

We are taught pregnancy is a disability that weakens women. But it is more humane to appreciate pregnancy as a gift, though sometimes an unexpected and challenging one, that empowers women.

We are taught to divide ourselves by placing our ethnicity above our citizenship. But it is more open-minded to consider all citizens, regardless of ethnicity, as “Americans.”

We are taught everything is relative. But it is more accurate to acknowledge that there are absolute truths and the purpose of the university is to discover and teach them.

We are taught marriage is just a contract. But it is wiser to define marriage as a sacred union between one adult man and one adult woman that transcends the bounds of contract law.

We are taught to give leniency to some of the guilty because of their skin color. But it is fairer to punish the guilty equally, regardless of their skin color.

We are taught life is a secondary right that can be sacrificed to secure various liberties. But it is more logical for life to be the right that trumps all others because without life it is impossible to enjoy the right to liberty, equal protection, privacy, due process, etc.

This doesn’t mean liberalism and conservativism are diametrically opposed about everything. They share many similar ideals such as provision for the needy and respect for the individual. In fact, the main difference between liberalism and conservativism lies not in divergent ideals but in the means of achieving what are often similar ideals.

Throughout this year, I will use this column to challenge our predominantly liberal, relativist campus on a host of political and theological issues. At times I may inadvertently offend people. Please accept my apologies in advance and do not reflect my journalistic shortcomings on all conservatives — my intent is to respectfully challenge, not disrespectfully offend. [Note to potential donors: What I write here represents my opinions and not those of Harvard University, its administration or any of its affiliates].

For those of you who would dismiss me as being heartless, ignorant, or insensitive, consider this: In the battle between liberals and conservatives there is a strong tendency for each side to see the other as evil, cold-blooded enemies. Rather than dismiss anyone as being the “bad guy,” we should consider each other’s opinions so we can enrich our understanding and work together to achieve our common goals. This year I challenge you to open your mind and consider the other side — the Right side.

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