Lanterns: Conservatism, What Does It Mean?


Conservatism, What Does It Mean?

As I jumped into the pond known as "County" politics, I found a common misnomer in the definition of the word "conservatism." Many will proudly stand under that sign as a symbol of honor and identification. However, when you peel back the proclamation, few politicians align to the definition. Merriam-Webster defines it as:

 "a political philosophy based on tradition and social stability, stressing established institutions, and preferring gradual development to abrupt change; specifically :  such a philosophy calling for lower taxes, limited government regulation of business and investing, a strong national defense, and individual financial responsibility for personal needs (as retirement income or health-care coverage)."

What does that mean?

When I began my campaign for County Commissioner, I must have said a couple of hundred times “I am a social and fiscal conservative.” "This means if I do not find the guidance for the law in the Bible or the Constitution, then it is not conservatism." This is what my constituents believed my conservatism to mean. However, the dishonesty of politicians when identifying their ideology is rampant.

If you vote for illegal immigrants to have access to county jobs, you are not practicing conservatism.

If you vote to buy a multi-million dollar gravel pit to open as a county park when your legacy costs for county employees is funded at less than 20%, you are not practicing conservatism.

If you vote for legislation that eventually lines your own pockets, then you are not practicing conservatism.

This has been a hard lesson to learn for me. Those that want to be trusted with the budget, those that want to be thought of with strong Christian values will label themselves as conservatives. They are not, in fact, all practicing conservatism. They are wolves in sheep’s clothing. If we do not call out those among us, who do not uphold our ideology and values, then we dilute the very definition of who we are.  Our deepest threat is from those that hide amongst us. 

Written by Christine Barnes

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