WASHINGTON, May 17, 2017 ⏤ The words “compassionate” and “conservative” are rarely linked in American political rhetoric. Politicians have twisted and corrupted the conservative message so badly that it is unrecognizable from the republican ideas of the Founding Fathers: individual liberty and economic freedom for every single person in the United States regardless of sex, race or other identifiers.
The only way to restore the conservative message and win converts in the fight for liberty is to return to a conservative message that is built upon compassion.
Leftists today believe they have a monopoly on the message of compassion. They preach safety and tolerance: healthcare and education for everyone, no matter the need, cost or ability to pay. Punish evil business owners who hold you back from the success you deserve.
The leftist message strikes a chord and creates an emotional response. Responding to their arguments with facts and reason is fruitless; it only gives them ammunition to continue portraying conservatives as heartless, cruel or evil.
A common sales technique is to lead a potential buyer to your solution before you even try to sell your product or service. It works to win converts in politics as well. But take their emotional argument and walk through the logic from start to finish: Leftist positions are indefensible and immoral.
Consider minimum wage. Labor, like electricity and steel, is an input of production whose cost firms try to keep down. When the minimum wage is raised, production costs rise for firms large and small. Firms operating on tight margins will rearrange their input combinations to cut production costs, cutting employees or the hours they work.
The employees whose hours are cut are those who are the least productive and the most easily replaced; they are the least skilled. They are the high school dropouts, those newest to the labor force, those with the fewest options for a new job.
These are the cashiers who have been replaced by kiosks at fast-food restaurants, the servers replaced by tablets, the production workers replaced by robots. You’ve made the decision to fire some of them yourself, looking up home repairs on Google, buying the parts on Amazon, and washing your hands of sails clerks and small contractors.
Minimum wage, imposed and enforced by the government, is harmful to both employer and those employees who discover that the true minimum is zero. Minimum wage sounds like a great idea, but it hurts the very group it is supposed to help: the poor. It most helps skilled workers and others who need it least.
This video from Prager U explains the ideal minimum wage:
It seems counterintuitive, but the minimum wage is not compassionate. It transfers wealth from the poor to the skilled middle class and to the wealthy creators of the devices that replace minimum wage workers. It is, ultimately, vicious.
Conservative values, taken to their logical conclusion, are more likely to benefit the poor. They respect the rights of every individual no matter their race, gender, sexual orientation, or financial situation. They allow everyone to pursue their creative genius and to cooperate and trade voluntarily with each other in order to raise their standard of living. They lift people out of poverty and into prosperity faster and more efficiently than any other system devised by man.
Conservative values are the only values which are truly compassionate towards everyone in a society, from poorest beggar to richest mogul.
So what is a compassionate conservative?
It is someone who believes in conservative values and at the same time lives his or her life with compassion for others. They believe in personal liberty and treating everyone with respect, regardless of their age, sex, or other identifiers. They seek to find the good in each individual and to give back to their community and those in need. They believe in principles such as tolerance, individualism, charity, peace, and cooperation. They are rational men and women who understand the value in being fiscally responsible.
A compassionate conservative embodies these ideas and lives by them every day. These are the people who will carry the voice of liberty into the future and free us from the chains of statism and tyranny.
Every conservative, young and old, should strive to be a compassionate and to win converts rather than arguments. Beyond winning arguments and converts to the liberty movement it will help create a generation of thoughtful, honest, and upstanding individuals.
Joshua Bernhardt is a Student Ambassador for Prager University. Learn more about PragerU at prageru.com