What Conservatives Really Want

January 20, 2002

by Bruce Walker

Liberals, whether they choose the handle "Socialist" or "National Socialist" or "Democrat" or "Fascist" or "Progressive," all want the same thing: power. Not just any power, but as George Orwell pointed out in his classic novel 1984, liberals want the power to hurt. That is why so much liberal rhetoric is so filled with accusation and venom. Whatever the issue to be debated, whatever the problem in life, liberals have one certain theme: there are villains on the other side.

Conservatives do not look at life this way. Market economics is an excellent demonstration of how conservatives view life. We want the consumer have the right to buy freely and the producer the right to sell freely. Does this mean we have no opinions on which choices are best? No, we are not moral relativists, and we have firm opinions: our own.

What, then, do we expect from that nebulous clump of people which liberals call "society?" (As if people were a single organism.) Not much, really. Our expectations are of individuals, not groups. We expect persons to follow the injunctions of the Prophet Micah, whose words in the Tanakh are: "Do justly. Love mercy. Walk humbly with your Lord," or the instruction that the revered Rabbi Hilel gave when asked to summarize the Torah while standing on one foot: "What is harmful to you, do not do to others. That is the summary of Torah; all the rest is commentary."

Societies filled with men and women who live lives according to these divine commands and who instruct their children in these rules will do just fine, in our eyes. It is the conscious movement towards perfection during our life that is the best government of men. This, of course, is why the small, brave groups of brilliant and conservative Jews - Don Feder, Michael Medved, David Horowitz, Dr. Laura, and Dennis Praeger (among others) - so naturally and comfortably fit into pious Christian conservatives. We all want people to be good, and we understand that this is the answer to virtually ever social and economic problem of this world.

Concerning the hereafter and the destiny of our soul, we may respectfully agree to disagree. But honest disagreement and seriousness about the importance of the questions at hand unite, rather than divide, all of us. This is not only true among conservatives with different metaphysics, but is also true among those people of good faith who do not even share our politics.

This is why it is so vital for all conservatives to understand, respect, and honor men like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I doubt if this good man and I would have ever voted for the same candidate in an election. I doubt that we would have agreed on any political issue at all. But I do not doubt that if the world were filled with men like Dr. King, all these differences would mean nothing.

Dr. King, flawed morally just as I am and just as you are, nevertheless cast himself before the Lord. Because of that - because of that alone - his words today still speak of love, not hate. Those areas of policy in which he was wrong or mistaken have long since been swept into irrelevance by that Greatest Hand, whose sweep makes the mightiest deeds and grandest thoughts of the best of mankind ultimately bad Kindergarten art.

The simple words of love, however, transcend time because those words seek the source of all that matters in the universe. These words of love which founded our great nation, even more than the special genius of our Founding Fathers. Despite the unquestionable intellect of Jefferson, Franklin, and Madison, America might have gone the path of intellectually driven Revolutionary France, which brought terror, or brilliant Athens, which dissipated in war and conquests, or the modern cynical genuis of Marx, Kafka, and Nitchze, which birthed the nihilist amorality of Communazism.

It is love, not politics, that led George Washington the send his famous letter to the Jews of Newport, in which the Father of our country did not just assert the formal legal right to practice their faith, but went on to write a love letter, one that so moved the hearts of a tough and persecuted people, that it was posted in synagogues throughout the land. This excerpt does not do justice to the sentiment, but it does fairly express the love:

  • "For happily the Government of the United States, which gives bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens... It would be inconsistent with the frankness of my character not to avow that I am pleased with the favorable opinion of my Administration, and fervent wishes for my felicity. My the Children of the Stock of Abraham, who dwell in this land, continue to merit and enjoy the goodwill of the other Inhabitants; while every one shall sit in safety under his own vine and fig tree, and there shall be none to make him afraid. May the Father of all scatter light and not darkness in our paths, and make us happy in our special vocations here."

It was love, as much as politics, that led Abraham Lincoln in this Second Inaugural Address to speak, in the wake of unimaginable carnage these words:

  • "With malice towards none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right..."

Men, especially men in politics, are not associated with "love" much these days. How odd! The great speeches of America’s leaders have usually been filled with true love. These great speeches have also been filled with awe of this land of love. As we celebrate - and let us all, please, celebrate! - the birth of Martin Luther King, Jr., let us recall some passages of his most famous speech.

  • "I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream."
  • "I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountainside shall be made low, the rough places shall be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together."

There is a theme to the words of these three great men. America is to be a land of love and a land of freedom, and these come from Him who brought love in infinite measure into the world two thousand years ago. So let us celebrate, and let us also recall, a liberal Democrat whose organization was called the Southern Christian Leadership Council (and not the Democratic National Committee). Let us celebrate a good man, an imperfect man, and a man who is certainly waiting for us in Heaven now. Let us recall that the goal of all conservatives is that each of us should be good ourselves, and that from that goodness God can take our small fish and our few loaves and feed all the different hungers of this world.


Bruce Walker has been a dyed in the wool conservative since, as a sixth grader, he campaigned door to door for Barry Goldwater. Bruce has had almost two hundred published articles have appeared in the Oklahoma Bar Journal, Law & Order, Legal Secretary Today, The Single Parent, Enter Stage Right, Citizen's View, The American Partisan, Port of Call, and several other professional and political periodicals.

Send the author an E mail at Walker@ConservativeTruth.org.

For more of Bruce's articles, visit his archives.

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