As a Republican, I know that our public governance should be founded on liberty. This means that public and elected officials need to understand that underlying all that government does or chooses not to do should be enduring principles that together are or promote liberty.
Included among these principles are the sovereignty of the individual as reflected in his or her right to basic freedoms outlined in our Constitution and most especially, its Bill of Rights – the sanctity of life, a representative republic, freedom of speech and religion, the right to self-protection, freedom from unwarranted physical interference, the right to own property, freedom of enterprise, etc.
Also, included among those principles is understanding, shared by our founders and conservatives alike, that man is flawed and there is no utopia on earth and it is dangerous to assume otherwise. We recognize that a well-ordered government needs to accept that reality and balance power within and between levels of government to ensure that no one or group of people turn all authority to their advantage. So, our founders gave us a federal government that divides power among three co-equal branches and a federal government of limited power that is to be constrained in its relations to the states and the people.
Along with this balance of power, our founders and conservatives realize that government must be small. It must be frugal. It must avoid looking at all problems as having government-based solutions. It must understand that as it grows, liberty shrinks. It should accept that government should hesitate to move beyond core responsibilities that define its legitimacy, such as protecting our borders or ensuring that individual freedom is not lost to anarchy.
Finally, and arising out of all of this is a belief that each person has to be given the right to control as much of his life as possible – to rise or fail, to succeed or fail, to prosper or languish, all on his own – because when we substitute government or collective judgment to avoid poor individual choices and believe government knows best, freedom and dignity is lost for all.