2016-02-10 Defining ‘conservstive’

ACH Study Groups

Ben & Fran Gilmore – Cofounders

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February 11, 2016

This is a letter to our friends –

Defining “conservative”

The terms “conservative” and “liberal” are much used in today’s political discussions. In the online course, “Principles of American Government”, I teach the students never to use a word they are not ready to define. Conversely, I encourage them to ask their opponents to define terms they use.

During the GOP debate, the candidates were asked to define “conservative”. I like my definitions better than those offered. First – These terms are American and may have different definitions overseas. Second – The definition must be acceptable to the one wearing the label. Else you are building a strawman.

A “liberal” is one who makes decisions in an effort to achieve the best results.

That begs the question, “What is a conservative?

A “conservative” is one who makes decisions according to the best principles he can find – and lets the results take care of themselves.

The frequent reply is, “You are over-simplifying!” I reply, “It works!”

After a moment’s thought, liberals often say. “Well, I am a ‘moderate’.”

A “moderate” is a liberal who cannot define his position!

“Yes I can”, he replies. “Well?” I say with a smile. As he finishes listing his positions, I ask, “What is the difference between that and a liberal?”

Here is the point. Results cannot be manipulated. “When you choose an action, you have chosen a consequence!” Telling a lie is an attempt to manipulate results. It only gets more complicated.

For the most part, today’s young people, and often their parents, have never learned sets of principles by which to evaluate choices. That appears to me to have been illustrated in last week’s debate responses.

These columns are archived since 12/10/09

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Ben Gilmore 1929-2023

On March 30, 2023 Ben Gilmore, the co-founder of ACHStudyGroups (co-founded with his wife Fran), went to be with the Lord in Glory.

A Memorial: https://www.mykeeper.com/profile/BenGilmore/