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.

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Comments

  1. jls January 4, 2008 at 3:25 pm

    John, thanks for your thoughtful posts and kind words. Your current piece is brief but not at all simplistic. I think it’s important for Bible believing Christians to discuss political issues with open minds and consider their guiding principles as you have done. In my experience, too many people make voting decisions based on a single issue that they care deeply about (e.g., abortion) or whether the candidate seems to be a person of good character whom they can admire. I’ve known many intelligent and pious Christians who, when it comes to elections, make decisions in an impulsive and superficial manner, and if you ask them what their principles are, they cannot say. Issues and character are important for sure, but principles are even more so. I believe that good citizenship requires us to formulate and defend these principles. The more that Christians engage in thoughtful and respectful discussions about principles, the better off we will be.

  2. ColtsFan January 4, 2008 at 4:08 pm

    John Armstrong wrote:
    “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.”
    Good post. But I fear that the threat of Muslim jihad is not as serious as “the invasion from the south,” due to our open and porous borders.
    The fact of our open and porous borders, combined with the recurring past trend of USA policymakers to reward law-breakers with USA citizenship, only leads to even more tens of millions of illegal aliens in the near future.
    There have been 7 amnesties rewarded to illegal immigrants since 1986. Providing illegal immigrants with “path to citizenship” only encourages more illegal behavior.
    http://www.numbersusa.com/interests/amnesty.html
    How many hospitals have financially closed due to the Muslim threat? None.
    Yet hundreds of hospitals are shutting down yearly due to illegal aliens receiving free health care in the emergency rooms of our hospitals.
    I appreciate John’s post.
    But I want to gently warn my fellow believers to take a serious Biblical look at the invasion from the south.

  3. David L. Bahnsen January 5, 2008 at 6:43 pm

    We will have a Christian America again.

  4. John H. Armstrong January 7, 2008 at 9:26 pm

    If the “invasion from the South” is as great as the threat of Islamic Jihadism then why does 9/11 look entirely different than anything remotely like this invasion? We surely see the world differently, at least based upon this comment.
    To my mind no international threat is more serious to the future of the West than that of Jihadism. While the West sleeps this threat grows in Paksitan, on the Afghan border, and new militants are being trained every single day. We undoubtedly have a long struggle before us and this will prove far more difficult to solve than anything like the entrance of Mexicans illegally crossing our border into the U.S.
    The problem on the border is to find the right solution that will secure a balanced consensus of political support. The Islamic Jihadist problem is one of long term will and clear resolve, which I am not sure we have as a people.

  5. ColtsFan January 8, 2008 at 1:54 am

    John writes:
    “If the “invasion from the South” is as great as the threat of Islamic Jihadism then why does 9/11 look entirely different than anything remotely like this invasion? We surely see the world differently, at least based upon this comment.”
    John,
    You write well and made some good points. Here is my response:
    1.) More people have died from the “invasion from the south” than did from September 11, 2001 tragedy. Here is the documentation below.
    http://www.immigrationshumancost.org/
    http://www.usillegalaliens.com/impacts_of_illegal_immigration_crime.html
    I do not intend to unfairly label every single illegal alien as a murderer, child molester, rapist, etc. That is not my purpose.
    My purpose is only to point out the ***descriptive fact*** that law-lessness begets higher levels of crime and violence.
    2.) September 11, 2001 was one just one tragic day in history. But the ongoing negative effects of illegal immigration and the “open borders” policy of both parties is more troublesome and more serious simply because it is still occurring in our own neighborhoods.
    3.) The mainstream media forgets that the 9/11 terrorists were in the USA illegally.
    http://www.vdare.com/malkin/testimony.htm
    I too, John, once shared your perspective before I switched jobs.

  6. ColtsFan January 8, 2008 at 2:11 am

    John,
    I do not want to minimize the dangers of a resurgent Islam. I am only trying to point out a closer problem that lies in our own backyard, instead of fighting some Jihadist 8,000 miles away in the Middle East.
    Consider this documentation:
    http://www.usillegalaliens.com/the_dark_side_of_illegal_immigration.html
    Congressman Steve King of Iowa notes: What would the May 1, 2006, illegal immigration boycott look like without illegal immigration?
    “The lives of 12 U.S. citizens would be saved who otherwise would die a violent death at the hands of murderous illegal aliens each day.
    Another 13 Americans would survive who are otherwise killed each day by uninsured drunk driving illegals. There would be no one to smuggle across our southern border the heroin, marijuana, cocaine, and methamphetamines, which plague the United States, reducing the U.S. supply of methamphetamines that day, by 80%.
    Our hospital emergency rooms would not be flooded with everything from gunshot wounds, to anchor babies, to imported diseases, to hangnails, giving American citizens the day off from standing in line behind illegals.
    Eight American children would not suffer the horror as victims of sex crimes.”
    The point is that law-lessness begets more crime and more anarchy in our own backyard.
    We have no border security in America simply because USA has a policy of repeatedly rewarding law-breakers with the gift of USA citizenship.
    And I have not even mentioned the problem of “anchor baby citizenship”, which I see every single day at my place of employment:
    unwed mothers paying a “coyote” to guide them across the open borders, and then have a kid out of wedlock on welfare paid for by USA citizens. The mother now is “anchored” to the USA because of the birth of her baby.
    http://www.numbersusa.com/interests/birthrightcitizenship.htm
    It is estimated that there are over 300,000 “anchor babies” born every year.
    And my point is only to note the resulting societal chaos caused by father-less homes and a lifestyle of breaking the laws and expecting USA citizens to pay for it.

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