By Andrea Slater, Class of 2016
On the political spectrum, it is fair to say that most college students are on the Left. The Left make up most of the staff on a typical college newspaper and even the population of most any campus, including this one.
So, as a conservative, I'm going to tell you that conservatives are RIGHT about pretty much everything. But, for once, I'm going to tell you WHY. By the end of my letter, I hope you will agree. But if you don't, I'm okay with that, too.
Conservatives are right because conservatism is a more practical, generous and compassionate way to live.
There have been a bunch of academic studies on how those on the left and right approach problems. They pretty much all come to the same conclusion: The Right tends to be risk-averse and more concerned about external threats, like tyranny and terror. Conservatives -- get this -- tend to be conservative. We are less likely to "play with fire" in just about every sense: financially, artistically, sexually and so forth. We are cautious about changing traditions -- sometimes to a fault. Which is why we cling to that crazy U.S. Constitution we like so much, to our guns and to our religion.
We conservatives also focus on what we can fix and accept what we cannot, which is one of the many reasons we're not obsessing over global warming. With radical Islam, we know what the threat is, and that it's a lot worse than a few missing polar bears. I know that makes me sound mean (sorry, polar bears).
Liberals, the research tells us, are more outgoing and more likely to try new stuff. They're open to new ideas, not just ideas like school choice, flat taxes or market-based healthcare reform. And liberals are less likely to feel threatened by unfamiliar things. This is why, in general, they seem to have more fun. They are more likely to try drugs, for instance, which is fine so long as they don't end up throwing up in my toaster. In short, liberals are pretty liberal. They feel free to take risks that we risk-averse conservatives usually end up paying for, over and over, which explains the necessity for conservatism -- we are the clean-up crew.
Liberals may seem to have more fun, and many do. But according to polls, they aren't as happy as conservatives. And with all of the fun they're having, I've never quite figured out how the angriest people I've ever encountered in my entire life have been liberals. Maybe because short-term fun doesn't translate into long-term happiness.
Marriage, families and religion do that, and those are the things that conservatives most value.
Liberals tend to live for now, Conservatives for later.
The risk-averse conservative is likely to save money, more likely to protect his investments, is more likely to protect property, advocate for rule of law and preservation of individual protections. And he offers no excuses for looting. Instead, he empathizes with the Asian, Arab and Black small businessman whose convenience store, laundry or restaurant goes up in flames during the riots that liberals reflexively endorse "as an understandable response to injustice".
Of course, conservatives are not risk-averse in everything. But we take risks with our own lives, not with society.
Conservatives risk all to build businesses. That risk, however, is rooted in a fact-based belief -- not a faith -- in the free market. If people want the product or service that you're supplying at the price you're asking, you'll succeed and the risk will pay off.
Over time, it is conservative risk-taking that creates a civilization -- by building families, businesses and nations -- all of which creates more wealth. This is wealth that then can be used to help those in need.
You see, you need money to make money. But you also need money to GIVE money. Conservatism makes what Liberalism takes.
So, for example, for the Liberals to get their liberal wage hike, first we need conservatives to build businesses, to think like businessmen, to sacrifice their own salaries to pay others and to sleep on floors, if necessary, in order to break even. Then, when they make a profit and things are going great, when the calm sets in, Liberalism can appear and say, "How dare you not pay these people a living wage!" Once the tables are full of diners, the bills are being paid and you're thinking about opening a second joint, Liberalism arrives to demand it's cut. Think of it as a protection racket, sort of like the Gambino Family, but without loyalty or job prospects.
In short, Conservatism doesn't compete with Liberalism. It sustains it.
For, now you see, without conservatism there is no liberalism. And so when a liberal asks, "Why are you a conservative?" the answer is, "So you can be a liberal."