Culture, Economics and National Defense

John ArmstrongPolitics

I have made a lot of reference on this site to the type of conservatism that I embrace socially and politically. I am not going to write an essay explaining this philosophy, since many of you can figure this out by now and if you care at all you will try. But it is right and fair to say that there are three essential planks in my conservatism.

1. National Defense

Regardless of anything else a country must do, via its government (Romans 13), if it is not protected in the modern world it will not last for long, especially when it has avowed and determined enemies. It is a simple fact that we have such avowed enemies and they are Muslim Jihadists. They intend to destroy our civilization one way or the other. I do not prefer, as George Weigel has taught me, to use terms like Islamo-Fascism or Islamo-Nazism since these terms are not easily understood or really appropriate. The Jidhadist term is used by Muslims themselves and thus says all we need to say. So, a truly conservative position recognizes the reality of pervasive sin in the world and the dangers of living with political, social and religious freedom when others want to take it away, especially on the grounds of religion.

2. Economic Prosperity

I believe a central link in the conservative chain must always be monetary policy. We need an economy in which freedom dictates the market, at least generally speaking. We must promote the spirit of the entrepreneur! And we must defend wealth production since it is ultimately good for all of us. Justice is essential and benevolence should be encouraged and even fostered. But, generally speaking, the more government stays out of managing the economy directly via taxation and creating programs on a national scale, the better for us all.

3. Cultural Sanity

We do not need a "Christian" America (it will never happen anyway)but we do need one that allows for the "fear of God" in the public arena. The enemy here is not really other religions, even pagan ones, but secularism. Personal liberties and freedoms are important but not all important in a just and productive culture. As the famous Frenchman noted, "America is great because America is good. If she ever ceases to be good she will cease to be great." Conservative attempts to control every private action, moral or immoral, are not called for in some cases. But what a society does with marriage, to cite one example, will impact us all in the end. And what we do with the unborn either strengthens or weakens the value of life in our culture. These issues are important precisely they do impact us all.

So when I survey the wide field of public policy and politics these three guiding principles are always at work in my mind. These are not a litmus test with checkpoints or a law code that guides me. They are basic principles that inform how I proceed. This does not mean I only vote for one party. It does mean I judge both by these basic principles.

I told you this would be simplistic and so it is.