Committedconservative.com exists to both define and promote conservative values and principles. The word “Conservative” is over-used and often misused. When the left uses it, they try to define conservatives falsely, often intentionally conflating conservatism with republicanism. More radical elements confuse conservatism with racism, white-nationalism, economic populism, or other labels they and most of us find, well, deplorable. How the left chooses to portray Conservatism negatively is one issue that will never change. The bigger issue for the Committed Conservative is how the center-right and some hard-right elements attempt to high-jack the Conservative movement to make it something it is not.
To be clear, Conservatives disagree on issues all the time. There is no hard set of public policies that one MUST believe to be a Conservative. There are, however, fixed principles that define conservatism, and if you are completely at odds with these, you are not a Conservative. That doesn’t mean we may not have ample common agreement and cause together to make this Country a more perfect union. It simply means that the label Conservative is not appropriate for you. One reason I stopped calling myself a “Republican” more than 8 years ago is because while I have innumerable Republican friends, and while I have twice run as a Republican for elected office, and while I more often than not vote for Republicans, that party does not best represent my core beliefs.
Committed Conservatives have core beliefs.
We demonstrate our conservative beliefs not just through words and labels, but by our conservative actions. When a group or party claims to be conservative but enacts policies or takes positions that are antithetical to our core values, they are not conservatives. That’s fine, by the way. We don’t have to be in the same label to work together. However, Conservatives can simply no longer permit our brand to expropriated by people who misuse, abuse, misrepresent, or injure the brand. Likewise, we are not going to follow blindly any party that repeatedly ignores our principles. And most importantly, conservatives must repudiate radical extremists who injure the brand.
So … now that we know why this site exists, let’s talk about the core values that define Committed Conservatives. They are simple:
2. Limited Federal Government
3. Constitutional originalism
Those are our pillars. Our actions and the policies we promote and the values we admire are measured against these values.
Again, we may disagree on the specifics of policy. For example, Committed Conservatives are unalterably opposed to illegal immigration. However, they are pro lawful immigration because of the principles of liberty and the advantages such legal immigration provides our country. How we formulate and effectuate policy to achieve these goals, on the margin, we may not agree.
Here are the positive characteristics of a Committed Conservative:
Committed Conservatives are often involved in critical movements. Here is a non-exhaustive list of movements where one might find conservatives.
Defending the Bill of Rights
Working to reform government
Working to limit the Administrative State
Working on a Convention of the States
Advocating for law and order
Promoting the civil society
Fighting for economic liberty
Defending the unborn
Committed Conservatives are cheerful optimists, but they are not adherents to political correctness. Committed Conservatives are unapologetic advocates of free speech. Committed Conservatives don’t need safe spaces. Committed Conservatives respect, but have a healthy suspicion of government at every level. Committed Conservatives believe American Exceptionalism is real, and they understand that it is not a birthright. It’s a right of equal opportunity, innovation, hard work, and relentless effort.
Committed Conservatives believe in concepts that sound simple but require remarkable commitment. They include marriage and loving, educated, caring families that work to make their communities and their country better. Committed Conservatives are about family, faith, and community.
If this sounds like you … you are a Committed Conservative.
Here are some indicia that you are NOT a Committed Conservative. Again, this doesn’t mean we won’t work with you on common values, but it does mean that your views and actions are at odds with our principles, and the use of our label will not only be improper, but we will contest it when you use it.
Promoting government cronyism
Promoting policies that are redistributive
Promoting equality of outcome, rather than opportunity
Promoting laws, rules, or outcomes that advantage people based on race, gender, creed, or orientation
Engaging in incivility without provocation
Promoting policies that include speech codes, safe spaces, or political correctness
You are a flag burner.
You are a foreign flag waver
You are pro-abortion
Here are some truths that indicate you are not a good person, and when you try to hook yourself to the label Conservative, we will repudiate you and work with decent people of any political stripe to expose you. We don’t want to be your ally or have common cause with you if:
You hate people based on race, creed, gender or orientation and you propose to use the apparatus of government to punish people for those reasons.
You advocate crime and violence as political solutions.
You reject free and fair elections.
You purposely create or spread fake news and lies to undermine the civil society.
You give aid, comfort, or support to the enemies of America
Here is why we have this site. We don’t want to convert you. We don’t want to label you. We do want you to think, and we will continue to push you to do so … without regard to blind adulation for a party, candidate, or President. We are conservatives, which means our fidelity is to Constitutional conservatism, not party.
Most recently, we met and tried to decide this question: Is ‘committed conservative’ a good name for our site and mission? The concern was, as we see every day, that some won’t read us and will only ridicule us because of our name. Then we realized that we decided long ago that we do not want a site just for kicks … or for clicks.
We simply concluded that if people won’t read us because of our site name, we have no expectation that they can understand what we write, think independently, or are capable of critical thinking. So, why pick a name to satisfy someone we don’t want and can’t reach just so they click only once? Instead, we are here to be true to our principles … unafraid to discuss issues from every angle and to read, analyze and consider all opinions.
That’s what committed conservatives should do.
Author: Richard Kelsey
Richard Kelsey is the Editor-in-Chief of Committed Conservative.
He is an Attorney, a former Assistant Law School Dean, Law Professor, and Virginia state court law clerk. Dean Kelsey was also the CEO of a technology company specializing in combating cyber-fraud. He is a regular commentator on legal and political issues in print, radio and on TV.
Rich graduated from George Mason law school, clerked for the Arlington Circuit Court, and later joined an AM LAW top 10 law firm practicing commercial litigation. He left the firm to be counsel and CEO to a consulting firm, rising to CEO of Turiss, LLC, a technology firm specializing in computer forensics, digital investigations, and fighting cyber-fraud through civil intel services and new technologies. Upon the sale of the company, Kelsey returned to Mason Law, where in the years before his return, he both taught at the school and served as President of the Law Alumni Association. Kelsey was the Assistant Dean for Management and Planning.
At Mason, Dean Kelsey taught legal writing and analysis and an advanced litigation seminar. In 2014 he was elected by the graduating class as the faculty speaker at their graduation. While serving the former George Mason Law, Kelsey conceived of, planned, and brought to fruition Mason’s Center for the Protection of Intellectual Property, known as CPIP.
Rich has appeared on radio, TV, and in print hundreds of times as both a legal expert and political and legal commentator. He provided the legal analysis for all stages of the Bob McDonnell trial and appeal for numerous outlets including NPR and WMAL. He writes on occasion for the American Spectator and CNSNews.com. He returned to private practice in September of 2016, and he is working on a book/expose on legal education.
In his free time, Rich is part of the baseball mafia of Northern Virginia, serving on numerous boards and as a little league and travel baseball coach.
Rich has many opinions, and they are his own. His Twitter handle is @richkelsey.