Modern American conservatism rests mainly on four pillars of belief that are being increasingly challenged by a liberal and democratic socialist agenda.
Here are the four major guideposts that represent the core concepts of modern American conservatism.
Pillar #1: Liberty and freedom
America is the land of the free. The United States enjoys a level of freedom not experienced anywhere else in the world.
Conservatives believe God gave mankind free will, and the Bill of Rights aims to do likewise. Americans have been given the ability to follow their dreams, as well as reap the rewards of doing so (within the laws of a just society).
The Bill of Rights gives political liberty through the freedom of speech and religious liberty through freedom of worship. Americans also have economic liberty, with the ability to own their own property and allocate their resources in a free market as they choose.
At the same time, conservatism views liberty and freedom as a means to seek virtue and the pursuit of the common good. As such, when individuals use their freedom to seek benefits at the expense of others, laws keep such abuses in check.
Pillar #2: Tradition and order
Tradition in society promotes order. Conservatives believe that a major part of tradition in a society is respecting the rights of all.
Tradition also means respecting the institutions that formed this great nation, as well as those that protect it from the outside and within.
Conservatives believe one of the best ways to promote order is through equality. People must be able to live free and prosper. When people in a society are deprived or live a miserable existence, they tend to rebel, and this promotes disorder.
Pillar #3: The rule of law
Conservatives believe that a legal system must have concrete rules of law.
The rules of law must be well known to all. The rule of law must be applied equally to all. The rule of law must be enforced.
No elected official is above the law. The only proper way to secure justice is to have a government of laws, not laws of men or a single ruler.
There are times when the pursuit of security begins to infringe on freedom and liberty. At such times, conservatives typically choose more liberty over security.
Pillar #4: Belief in God
The conservatives that formed the United States only wanted the separation of church and state to the degree that the church did not control politics. Our founding fathers wanted freedom of religion.
They wanted Americans in this new United States to have the ability to worship how and when they wanted, or not at all – without interference from government.
That said, conservatives see a belief in God as important. It forms the basis of morality that sets the standard for politics. God is a greater authority than any government, king or president, and greater than any man.
Conservatives see God as our ultimate ruler, and as such, no government or state can demand absolute obedience or control over every aspect of a person’s life. Conservatives list the order of importance in the credo: “God, family, country.”