Stillwater News Press


June 7, 2014

HAROLD SARE: Why I am a conservative

STILLWATER, Okla. — First, let me point out that I am not a superficial conservative focusing on a foundation of emotion and ideology. I have rejected the superficial advocates of both conservatism and liberalism and have referred to myself as a pragmatic humanist.

But, that term is not always easy to understand. Upon reflection, after hearing a young political scientist referring fondly – in fact enthusiastically – to President Reagan’s “11 principles of conservatism,” and defining his general definition of conservatism, I determined that my own political orientation was really conservative. President Reagan, according to him, defined conservatism as relying on or supporting institutions and processes that have been historically tried and had demonstrated to best serve the people of the nation. The concept and reality of freedom which he refers to cannot be taken lightly. Freedom is complex in any society and, especially in a democracy, is not to be bandied about as some political football.

I grew up during the Great Depression is a conservative family that always voted for conservative candidates and argued strongly that liberal politicians were ruining the country. That family was poor and made its living farming as share-croppers. World War II made it possible for them to find paying jobs, and even when their economic status improved somewhat, their politics did not change much.

As a person, I learned to be frugal, work hard, and not to spend my limited money on foolish things. I stuck to necessities and saved as much as I could. After serving in the latter stages of World War II, I became observant of our political system, and decided to major in political science in college. I could afford college because of the GI bill, and I made the best of it. I learned to appreciate the political and economic order that I was a part of while serving in the U.S. Army overseas and also in college during my studies. In my view, our Founding Fathers and those who followed had provided a workable and desirable system of government.

As I studied economics, a second major, I became agreeably a supporter of the private enterprise economic system. Living and studying in India, when India’s leadership was firmly ideologically socialist, I learned that the private enterprise system, in spite of its problems is the best. Both, our political system and our economic order in my experience and study were historically tried and were serving the people very well.

But, that stance did not mean that careful change and adjustment was not necessary when problems of disparity in income distribution in the late 1920s, the wide unemployment and the Great Depression of the 1930s came about. Something had to be done. The Hoover administration took careful policy steps without much cooperation from the Democrats, who finally won control of Congress and the White House. New Deal policies were put in place, but President Roosevelt’s budget-balancing effort in 1937 took the country back in depression. Then World War II came along, and all able-bodied men were drafted or put to work and the economy began to recover. These experiences were instructive, at least for a while, Our political and economic systems faced up to the economic and political challenges.

During the Great Depression, a number of policies were tried to resolve the economic problems. Growing out of that experience was the Social Security System, policies to stimulate employment, feed the hungry, care for the sick and assist the youth and the aging.

The Social Security System has proved its usefulness historically, even though today it probably needs adjustments to keep it economically viable. Cal Thomas, a conservative syndicated columnist, in a new book “What Works” supports Social Security and also Medicare, a major policy established under the Johnson administration of the 1960s.

See Part II of “Why I am a Conservative” in next Sunday’s edition.

Harold Sare is Regents Service Professor, Emeritus Political Science, Oklahoma State University.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Buy & Share Photos
NewsPress e-Edition
NewsPress Specials
AP Video
Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage
NDN Video
'Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1' Sneak Peek GMA: Dog passes out from excitment to see owner Chapter Two: Designing for Naomi Watts Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Florida Keys Webcam Captures Turtles Hatching Morgan Freeman Sucks Down Helium on 'Tonight Show' Robin Wright Can Dance! (WATCH) She's Back! See Paris Hilton's New Carl's Jr. Ad Big Weekend For Atlanta Braves In Cooperstown - @TheBuzzeronFox Chapter Two: Becoming a first-time director What's Got Jack Black Freaking Out at Comic-Con? Doctors Remove 232 Teeth From Teen's Mouth Bradley Cooper Explains His Voice in 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Deja vu: Another NYPD officer choke-holding a suspect 'Fifty Shades of Grey': Watch the Super Sexy First Trailer Now! Reports: Ravens RB Ray Rice Suspended For 1st 2 Games Of The Season Air Algerie plane with 119 on board missing over Mali Diamond Stone, Malik Newman, Josh Jackson and others showcase talent Free Arturo - The World's Saddest Polar Bear A Look Back at Batman On Film Through The Years
Must Read