Columns / Discourse / February 15, 2012

Observing America: Knox conservatives

Knox College is overwhelmingly liberal. I get it. In fact, a lot of people still ask me, why did you pick Knox? People take for granted that since I’m conservative, somehow that should stop me from coming to Knox. That’s the problem. Knox needs more diversity.

That’s why I’m starting a conservative club. The club will be affiliated with the Young America’s Foundation (YAF), which stands for “individual freedom, a strong national defense, free enterprise and traditional values” ( This is the platform for Knox College’s YAF Chapter.

What do these vague values mean?

Individual freedoms are protected under the U.S. Constitution. They are all spelled out in our founding document as religious liberty, freedom of speech, press et cetera. This is a constitutionalist chapter and will follow the Founding Fathers’ original intent as our blueprint for government. We, conservatives, believe that our current federal government misses the Founders’ message with unconstitutional policies such as bailouts, individual mandates and pointless bureaucracies that take our liberties away.

A strong national defense is imperative for our country. But it does not equate to high military spending. National defense means monitoring the borders, keeping a firm U.S. Navy, Marines, Army and Air Force and preserving a strong influence around the world. This military strength does not encourage nation building and/or military adventurism. As we approach almost $16 trillion of debt, military along with entitlement spending must be on the table for balancing the budget and cutting government expenditures. America’s strong military influence around the world is threatened because of a democratic spreading foreign policy. U.S. national interests must always come first.

Free enterprise is also a key to American conservatism. The U.S. is exceptional because it has a free market system that produces more than a $15 trillion economy. Regulation and excessive taxation impedes economic and job growth. The important thing to understand is that we, conservatives, believe that people can barely make ends meet in this recession and therefore we should lower taxes to allow businesses to grow and employ. We also believe that capitalism is best at allowing multiple interests to compete for an influence to public policy. Our principle of multiplicity of interests comes from James Madison, the author of the U.S. Constitution, who believed that liberty is best preserved when there are several factions striving for political power be it a church, union, corporation et cetera.

Last but not least, traditional values are the cornerstone of American culture. As conservatives, we respect born and unborn life. We stand against abortion. We also stand for strong marriages. A marriage is between a man and a woman. It’s a religious institution and should be kept as such. These are the few cultural issues that get most attention. There are many more issues that fall under the culture umbrella like the ruining of families.

As a conservative, I do not expect everyone to believe all these. YAF will be open to any Knox student who is interested about conservative politics. Knox Democrats and YAF will coordinate political events such as invitations to local politicians and organize public debates. This Chapter’s goal is all about openness and discourse. Knox will hopefully understand conservatism and enrich political discourse. That’s our mission.

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