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What Conservatism Can Do For America's Middle Class

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.

One of the smears that the Left often hurls at conservatives is that we're only concerned about the rich. Of course, that's not true; conservatives simply believe in an America where people should be able to get rich through their own efforts without having the fruit of their labor looted from them by cynical liberal politicians who want to use their money to buy votes.

In other words, if we want America to continue to be a land of opportunity where talented people can work their way from the bottom of the heap to the top in order to make a better life for their families, then we can't punish success.

That being said, conservatives shouldn't fall into the trap of just defending high achievers and attacking liberal ideas because without question, conservatism has much more to offer to middle America than liberalism.

Of course, we all know liberals tell Americans that they will rob Peter to pay Paul on their behalf and that has a certain appeal. After all, who doesn't enjoy being given goodies? But, most people who work for a living know there's no such thing as a free lunch and that this country can't remain a great nation if we become a country full of "takers" who leech off the most productive members of society.

That's why middle America doesn't want everything handed to them, they just want a fair shake, an opportunity to make a good life for themselves and their families, and an America that's even better for their children than it is for them.

Liberalism cannot provide those things, but conservatism can. Conservatives believe in low taxes because we appreciate the fact that people work hard for their money. That's why we believe that we'll be better off as a nation if you decide where to spend your money, rather than having someone in Washington, D.C. do it for you.

We have liberals in this country who think they should be able to tell you what light bulbs you should be able to use in your house, what kind of car you can drive, and what you should have your thermostat set at. Conservatives believe issues of that sort are none of their d*mn business and that this country will be better off if the American people, not government bureaucrats, make those decisions.

Along similar lines, conservatives believe a man's home is his castle. That's why the Kelo vs. New London decision was such a travesty. The whole idea that the government can forcefully take a man's house from him and hand it over to a fat cat developer because he'll pay more taxes, goes against everything this country stands for.

Furthermore, conservatives believe that a man should be able to defend his own home. You have a Constitutional right to own a gun and a moral right to use it to defend your family and your property from criminals who want to do you harm.

Moreover, if you rape, rob, murder or otherwise prey upon your fellow citizens, then you need to be severely punished and locked away. Sure people change and there are some criminals who can be rehabilitated. Those that do should be applauded, but our priority has to be on keeping criminals off the streets so they can't victimize innocent people.

Speaking of criminals, conservatives believe in putting an end to illegal immigration. Although there are plenty of out-and-out criminals who sneak into our country, most illegal aliens are decent people at heart who come here to get jobs, but they still harm Americans. They don't respect our laws, they drive up costs for the rest of us by using our hospitals and schools for free, and they take jobs from American citizens and drive down their wages. God bless anybody who wants to work for a living, but this is America and in this country, if nowhere else in the world, Americans have to come first.

The same thing could be said about our energy policy: Americans have to come first and shouldn't have to pay higher costs at the pump because we won't drill ANWR. Conservatives also disagree with the Democrats pushing a gas tax increase and don't think Americans should have higher fuel bills so that we can sign onto some unworkable cap and trade scheme that places a huge burden on middle class families in order to deal with "man made" global warming, a proposition that is looking more dubious by the day.

Then there's Affirmative Action. Discriminating against anyone because of his color is wrong and even if Affirmative Action hasn't done as much damage as Jim Crow laws, it's every bit as vile, immoral, unconstitutional, and un-American as those laws were.

We also need to make sure that people can afford health care because if you don't have your health, how much does everything else matter? Liberals will tell you the solution to our health care problem is to put the same government that's responsible for the IRS, FEMA, and ICE in charge, but since when has the federal government ever made anything more efficient, cost effective, or responsive to customers? Conservatives believe in taking a different path. Instead of giving tax breaks to companies for health care, we believe that they should be given directly to individuals so that you don't lose your health care if you lose your job. We also believe in driving down the cost of health care with tort reform, streamlining the regulations that make bringing a new drug to market so slow and expensive, health care savings accounts, and in allowing health insurance companies from anywhere in America to compete for business in any state. Conservatives could make health care cheaper and better for the American people if only liberals weren't so hell-bent on getting health care under the control of the federal government.

Then there is a public school system which is being ruined by teachers’ unions whose first priority seems to be protecting bad teachers and whose last priority seems to be educating our children. We need to make it easier to fire bad teachers, we need merit pay for good teachers, and we need to allow parents trapped in failing schools to get vouchers so that they can send their children to the same sort of private schools that rich people do. We're already expending enough tax dollars per child to do that, but liberals would rather children be held back for life by a poor education than offend the teachers’ unions by supporting vouchers.

Moreover, if we want to make sure that we leave a better country to our children than we have today, we cannot ignore cultural issues or stand by idly while this country turns into a moral sewer. If America ceases to be a good nation, full of decent people, it will also inevitably cease to be a great nation.

That's why conservatives believe in sticking up for Christianity when it comes under assault. It's why we believe the Left should leave the Boy Scouts alone. It's why we think mothers killing their own children through abortion is wrong. It's why, even though it didn't turn out to be popular, we stuck up for life in the Terri Schiavo case. It's why we have no problem saying that marriage should be between a man and a woman and ideally, it should be for life.

America is a beacon of hope in a dark world and it got to be this way because of our people, not because of our government. The bulk of Americans have always been decent, hard working, ambitious, independent people and conservatism is a philosophy best suited to them.

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