Reaching my own definition of conservatism

(CCU Student) What is conservatism? Why are YOU conservative? These questions were asked of students attending the Young America’s Foundation National Conservative Student Conference this summer in D.C. (August 1-6, 2011). The conference was an opportunity to explore conservatism today and apply it to our own lives.

The media today is overwhelmed by liberal talk shows, news anchors, and bias; so it’s a good idea to know what you believe and why. This rationale is exactly why I desired to attend NCSC this year. The political realm is an area that I have only recently dared tip my toes into, but I’ve always been a conservative, albeit a confused one at times. I grew up on Biblical principles, often the foundation of conservative thought. But I also attended a public high school, where I learned that Nixon was good and Reagan was bad. The liberal and conservative ideologies were never explained to me or my fellow students, and no policies were ever debated, so I never quite knew what was considered conservative or liberal.

The speakers at NCSC spoke about the values of conservatism through the lens of current events. They helped me to understand the debt ceiling debate, foreign issues, and other current affairs from the conservative perspective. Also, the opportunity to discuss these issues after the sessions with other attendees provided arenas for debate on what the speakers spoke on and solutions for current affairs.

Some of the speakers and topics covered:

  • · KT McFarland, FOX News’ National Security Analyst– Flash points around the world
  • Senator Mike Lee, Republican U.S. Senator for Utah – The debt crisis and a Balanced Budget Amendment
  • Joseph Phillips, actor from “The Cosby Show” and syndicated columnist – Current affairs of race today and its implications
  • Dr. Robert George, Professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton University – Immigration and American Exceptionalism
  • Matt Richardson, Executive Director of the Young Briton’s Foundation – Healthcare in the UK

Now, I have solidified in my own mind what conservatism is and what I believe in. My lack of knowledge has been replaced by a sense of awareness of my own beliefs. I stand with many other conservatives and believe that moral relativity is not an option, that national security and defense is one of the biggest priorities for our nation, and that a capitalist free market system is the best way to boost our economy and create jobs.

As Bay Buchanan, former Treasurer of the United States under President Reagan, said in her session, “Do not ever feel inadequate because you do not know. You are inadequate when you are on the sidelines.” Before, I felt as if my lack of political knowledge meant that I could not be an active participant. But that participation is exactly how I learned more about what I believed. So even if you don’t feel like you know much, go out and get involved in politics, whether through campaigning for your favorite candidate or simply discussing current political issues with your friends. You’ll be glad you did!

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