Dispelling myths on conservatism

Published 9:00 am Thursday, August 17, 2017

By Will Collins

I would like to spend this week getting back to the basics of conservatism. A conversation I had earlier in the week led me to defend a myth that Republicans are “only for the rich.” I’ve actually heard this most of my life and couldn’t find it further from the truth.

Let’s break this common myth down into several facets. It is true that the faces of Republicans we see on the daily news, e.g. our president, senators, members of congress and other public officials, are certainly financially secure, but I will also assure you that the same members on the other side of the aisle are just as wealthy as those who happen to have an “R” by their name.

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In the private sector, income and financial stability varies amongst the two major political parties. I know Republicans who have a lot of money and I know Democrats who have a lot of money.

I know members of both parties who would fall into the middle class section of society, and I certainly know Republicans and Democrats who have their own share of financial difficulties.

Many people take this myth even further by saying the GOP is against the “working men and women” of our country. I find this fable to be amusing because it is the complete opposite of the ideology of conservatism.

In fact, my party is consistently determined to protect the hard working Americans by limiting government encroachment, keeping taxation at a minimum and making each dollar you earn worth even more. Through better spending, our tax dollars can go into the most important of things: keeping our country safe and creating jobs so those willing to work may be employed.

One of the fundamental principles of conservatism is an individual taking responsibility and accountability for their own actions and efforts. At no point does race, gender or anything else for that matter play any part in this infrastructure. If you set goals, work hard and strive for better things, then you deserve to receive the rewards in such accomplishments. You did it based on you.

Many other myths surrounding conservatism also have monetary ties which adds to the negative and improper speculation. It is often said the GOP caters to big business in order to “protect” the wealthy. The truth is, as a part of capitalism and free markets, Republicans are in favor of all legal businesses, big or small.

What we are opposed to are continued regulations that cost all companies money as opposed to simple, common sense legislation. Excessive regulations and increased taxation hurt large and small businesses alike which in turn has a negative impact on the economy. What we find as a result are less opportunities in the job market in which we then try to compensate through government programs.

Unfortunately, that in itself puts us back at square one and in situations we want to avoid because of our own actions. In an earlier column, I included a quote about government not being the solution to our problems but instead, government being the problem. This is a prime example.

At the end of the day, families and communities should be strong and free from government intrusion, belong to a government that is smaller, smarter and more efficient and not seeing their individual earnings go to poorly run programs.

Most conservatives agree there is nothing wrong with social programs that are created to lift people out of poverty. The problem is such programs seldom do that. Providing financial assistance alone just adds to the problem when job training is what is truly needed.

There are a lot of people who truly need assistance but still too many who abuse what is available. At no point should it be considered a selfish act to prevent this from occurring. Work hard to reach your dreams.

As President Barack Obama said, “We need to steer clear of this poverty of ambition, where people want to drive fancy cars and wear nice clothes and live in nice apartments but don’t want to work hard to accomplish these things. Everyone should try to realize their full potential.” With this, I certainly agree.