Thursday, April 7, 2011

Manners Matter

When you think of Conservative values, what comes to mind? Certainly, being fiscally prudent, adherence to the Constitution, limited government and states’ rights are attributes often associated with being a Conservative. In addition there are social conservative values, such as belief in a Judeo-Christian basis for our country, opposition to abortion and homosexuality. When I think of conservative values, I also think of honesty, integrity and compassion.

There is a saying that people “don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.” I think a major misconception about Conservatives, promulgated on purpose by Liberals, is that Democrats are the party of compassion, while Republicans are mean and greedy. I see the opposite as being true. I am a Conservative because of my compassion. When I think of the economic slavery caused by our modern welfare system, my blood boils. If I were stuck in such a system, I would want someone to help me. Ironically, it was attending school to become a Social Worker that firmly cemented my conservative values. How dare liberals, either through mis-guided good intentions or, in some cases, outright evil goals, use and abuse those less fortunate in our country? As a Christian, I am obligated to do what I can.

Perhaps one reason Liberals have been able to perpetuate this false idea about Conservatives is that we sometimes do not act in accordance with what we believe. Edmund Burke, the “Father of modern a Anglo-American Conservatism believed that manners matter, even more than laws. To be more basic, according to your religious views, we need to observe either the Golden Rule (not the version that he who has the gold makes the rules!) – “treat others as you would like to be treated” or the second greatest commandment, according to Jesus – love your neighbor as yourself.”

Rush Limbaugh has been a popular radio personality amongst Conservatives for years. I’ve never been able to listen to him for more than a few minutes not because of what he says, but because of how he says it. Arrogance and rudeness don’t go along with my idea of how Conservatives should act. While Rush may score humor points with people who agree with him, insulting someone is not a good way to persuade them to your side. I’ve tried to make this point to Mike Rosen, in hopes of encouraging him to change his tone to not be so off-putting to Liberals. His rebuttal is that his radio show is out to make a profit, not to facilitate public debate. Conservatives like to hear him cut Liberals off at the knees, so he gives his target audience what they want to hear. While completely in favor of companies making a profit, I think true Conservatives should follow self-imposed restraint in being ethical. Mary Kay Ash built a successful company because she followed the Golden Rule, not in spite of it.

Not just our leaders, but individual Conservatives should also be of good moral character. While the two biggest moral issues of our time are homosexuality and abortion, (isn’t it a little fishy that those are the two sins heterosexual men can’t commit?), I think other, more basic morality issues cause more harm, such as lying. The sin of lying by people such as Bernie Madoff, the Enron scandals, basically all the white collar criminals, causes a great deal of harm in society. Even general lack of consideration for others, such as happens when someone engages in road rage, is harmful. A recent Kaiser Permanente commercial advocated doing random acts of kindness, not only to benefit others, but doing so has been shown to cause the perpetrator to be happier.

It has been pointed out to me that some Liberals engage in unethical behavior to accomplish their goals, so maybe Conservatives need to “fight fire with fire.” I would counter this by replying that either, “two wrongs don’t make a right” or “turn the other cheek.”


  1. A really good column. Good to see you back with us Lady Burke. Robert

  2. Thanks, Robert. So much going on these days. It is such a crucial time for the continued prosperity of our country. What road will we take?