The Compassionate Conservative

by Josh Bernhardt

The words compassionate and conservative are not often seen together in modern political rhetoric. Corrupt politicians on both sides of the aisle have twisted and tainted the conservative message so badly that it is almost unrecognizable from the republican ideas of the Founding Fathers our country was based upon — those ideas of course being individual liberty and economic freedom for every single person in the United States regardless of sex, race, or other identifiers. The only way to restore the conservative message and win converts in the fight for liberty is to return to a conservative message that is built upon compassion.

Leftists today have a monopoly on the message of compassion, or the emotional argument. They preach safety and tolerance and providing healthcare and education to everybody no matter your financial situation. They want to punish those evil business owners who keep holding you back from all the success you deserve. These types of messages strike a chord with people and create an emotional response. Responding to these arguments with a rational or economic arguments is only giving the leftists ammunition to continue portraying conservatives as heartless and evil.

A common method in sales is to lead the potential buyer to your solution before you even try to sell them on your product or service. This is a great way to win converts when discussing political theory as well. Take their emotional argument and examine it, walking through the logic from start to finish. Lead the listener through a logical explanation of their views and show the ultimate consequences of progressive policies. Leftist positions are indefensible and immoral when led to their logical conclusion. By showing how these policies actually hurt the very people they are designed to help, any advantage they have in presenting the emotional argument is removed.

Let’s examine the minimum wage as an example. Labor is a resource — just as any raw material is for businesses — and as such employers must compete for it. When the minimum wage is raised, the cost of labor rises for every business both big and small. The majority of businesses operate on extremely tight margins and when labor costs rise, they are left with only two options to continue operation — reduce the number of employees and/or the amount of hours for the employees, or increase the price of their product or service.

The two outcomes from this policy are that either the employee suffers or the consumer suffers. The employee that is either fired or has hours reduced is the one who is the least productive and the least skilled — the employee whose productivity is worth less than the minimum wage requirement. Who makes up this group of unskilled, unproductive labor? It is those who have not graduated high school, those who have not had a job before, those who have no other means of providing for themselves.

Additionally, those consumers who benefit from the product or service that the business provides suffer higher prices. This artificially induced minimum wage, enforced by the government, is harmful to the employer, the employee, and the consumer, all while decreasing the standard of living for everyone. It sounds nice on the surface, but led to its logical conclusion the unintended circumstances of this policy end up hurting the very groups it is created to help. The right minimum wage, as described in this video by PragerU, should be $0. It’s counterintuitive to what leftists would have you believe, but taken to its logical conclusion it shows that the true nature of a minimum wage is not compassionate.

In contrast, conservative values, when led to their logical conclusion, end only in the benefit of mankind. Let’s return to the minimum wage example. In a truly free market society with principles rooted in conservative values, there would be no minimum wage. The employer and the employee would be left to voluntarily agree to a wage that would mutually benefit both the employee and the employer. The employer would be able to pay a lower wage for the unproductive, unskilled labor while in return that unproductive, unskilled labor has the opportunity to learn a skill and to become more valuable to an employer.

This creates more opportunity for more people in a society than any other system devised by mankind. It simultaneously lifts people out of poverty and creates more wealth and prosperity for everyone — thus raising the overall standard of living in a society. This is the practical application of personal liberty and economic freedom.

So what is a compassionate conservative?

It is someone who believes in personal liberty and treating everyone with respect, regardless of their age, sex, or other identifiers. It is someone who understands the morality and the ultimate benefit to a free market society that is run by conservative values. They are the people who will lead the fight against statism and tyranny and win converts to voice of liberty. They are the people who will have the most powerful impact and the clearest voice in a society full of subjective morality and misunderstood principles.