MSNBC Host Asks: What Is Conservatism?

February 7, 2016 AD

senator ben sasse
Senator Ben Sasse (R-Neb)

An MSNBC host asked Senator Ben Sasse (R-Neb) to define conservatism.

His answer:


“America is the most successful nation in the history of the world, because the U.S. Constitution is the best political document that’s ever been written, because it says something different than almost any people and any government has believed in human history.

Most governments in the past said might makes right and the king has all the power and the people are dependent subjects. And, the American founders said, “No.”

God gives us rights by nature and government is just our shared project to secure those rights. Government is not the author or source of rights and you don’t make America great again by giving more power to one guy in Washington, D.C.

You make America great again by recovering a Constitutional Republic where Washington is populated by people who are servant leaders who want to return power to the people and to the communities. Because what’s great in America is the Rotary Club, its small businesses, its churches, its schools, its fire departments and its Little Leagues across this country.

What makes America great is not some guy in Washington who says, “If I had more power, I could fix it all unilaterally. That’s not the American tradition.”

Senator Sasse precisely aligns his answer to what our Founding Fathers envisioned on July 4, 1776. The simplicity of American Conservatism was defined in the second paragraph of our Unanimous Declaration of Independence.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed

The above principle simplified: Government is to serve the people; people are not to serve the government. It applies across the board, from homeowner associations to city councils, to county commissioner courts, to school districts, to law enforcement departments – right on down the line to Congres, still further down the line to presidents and Supreme Court justices.

Yes, the first duty of all governments is to secure your rights.

John White
Rockwall, Texas

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