Posts Tagged ‘“FLINT”’

The Nature of American Conservatism #6

November 8, 2015

The Nature of American Conservatism #6

This series of blogs is based upon William Bennett and John Cribb’s new book, America the Strong: Conservative Ideas to Spark the Next Generation.

They suggest that the key features of Conservatism are easily remembered using the acronym “FLINT”. This word stands for:

F=Free Enterprise

L=Limited Government

I=Individual Liberty

N=National Defense

T=Traditional Values

“T” stands for Traditional Values.

I will let Bennett and Cribb, along with the great conservative Russell Kirk who they quote, explain and illustrated the meaning of traditional values.

The following are quotations from Bennett and Cribb’s America the Strong:

The word Conservative comes from the Latin word conservare, meaning to keep safe, observe, or maintain. Every generation has the responsibility of preserving our best values, along with the customs and institutions that help pass those values to the next generation.

When one generation fails to pass along traditional values, things can go very wrong. It leaves people without a clear sense of what’s important, of the differences between right and wrong. That can ruin lives and harm entire cultures. (Kindle Loc. 2415)


First and most important, traditional values include good moral values—old-fashioned virtues like honesty, courage, compassion and responsibility. The moral values you hold make all the difference in how good your life is. That truth of the human condition has never changed and will never change.

Conservatives believe there are enduring moral truths in the universe. That is, there are rules of right and wrong behavior that have come down to us through the centuries and apply to all. Moral rules such as it’s wrong to steal. It’s good to help others in need. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

In many ways, trying to live by these rules is the central par of life. The striving to acquire virtues like self-discipline and perseverance is perhaps the greatest challenge we all face. Life is, in essence, a moral and civic endeavor.

You don’t have to be religious to have good moral values, but for many people, faith is the most vital part of morality. God anchors their sense of right and wrong. They believe that God has established the moral order of the universe. Faith lifts each person outside the self and inspires a larger sense of purpose.

None of us is born knowing right from wrong or having good moral values. These things have to be learned. So the task of each generation is to pass good values on to the next generation.

Conservatives believe that education is largely about the formation of good character. Young people acquire virtues like kindness and loyalty largely by practicing them until they become habits. They learn morality through the examples, expectations, and rules set by adult around them.

The family is the most important institution when it comes to forming character. The moral lessons parents teach make all the difference. That’s a big reason conservatives are so concerned about the breakdown of the American family and the fact that so many children are growing up in homes without both a mother and a father.

Conservatives want the traditional institution of marriage to thrive because it helps keep families together. Strong marriages are not only good for men and women, but they’re also the best way to raise children and give them solid values.

Community institutions play critical roles in teaching good moral values. Institutions like churches, synagogues, and other houses of worship. Schools. Neighborhoods. Volunteer groups such as Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, and the Boys and Girls Clubs of America.

In fact, the entire culture is involved in transmitting values from one generation to the next. That includes popular culture—The movies we watch, the books we read, the advertisements we see on TV, the music we download. Some of the messages our popular culture sends—like do whatever makes you happy and it’s fine to sleep around—are directly opposed to traditional values. They’re the kind of values that can get us in trouble. (Kindle Loc. 2421-2441)


The authors quote Russell Kirk, a great 20th Century conservative philosopher.

“A society in which men and women are governed by belief in an enduring moral order, by a strong sense of right and wrong, by personal convictions about justice and honor, will be a good society—whatever political machinery it may utilize; while a society in which men and women are morally adrift, ignorant of norms, and intent chiefly upon gratification of appetites, will be a bad society—no matter how many people vote and no matter how liberal its formal constitution may be”. (Kindle Loc. 2446)


I will leave you with this question: Regarding what Bennett and Cribb have written and from Russell Kirk’s perspective, how do you think America is now doing?

V. Thomas Mawhinney, 11/8/15

P.S. There will be more to come about the philosophy of Conservatism.

I am now reading one of Russell Kirk’s books entitled, The Conservative Mind: From Burk to Eliot, and I will soon share some important insights gleaned from this powerful book with you.

I believe that a firm understanding of traditional American Conservatism will not only tell us what has gone wrong with America, it will also explain what must be done to restore it to its former glories.

Follow me! Click the upper right corner of my blog page.

The Nature of American Conservatism #5

November 5, 2015

The Nature of American Conservatism #5

This series of blogs is based upon William Bennett and John Cribb’s new book, America the Strong: Conservative Ideas to Spark the Next Generation.

They suggest that the key features of Conservatism are easily remembered using the acronym “FLINT”. This word stands for:

F=Free Enterprise

L=Limited Government

I=Individual Liberty

N=National Defense

T=Traditional Values

“N” stands for National Defense.

American conservatism has always advocated a strong, very strong, national defense.

What makes sense to me, for an entire nation, also makes perfect sense at the individual level.

I was a big and kind-hearted child on my grade school play ground. Though I did not understand it at the time, it was not long before several school yard bully’s set their sights on the big easy-going target that I was.

I complained to my parents about the situation and was told to walk away, tell the teacher and not get into trouble at school. That was their duty and I tried those tactics to no avail.

My dad who had experience as a boxer bought me some wights and taught me how to lift them safely and productively. He also bought us some boxing gloves, and he taught me the fine art of pugalism.

He did so admonishing me to never start a fight, but be prepared to protect yourself if aggressed against.

My confidence grew.

My Uncle Dean visited and taught me some judo and jujitsu self-defense moves.

I will never forget the day that I walked straight onto the playground and over to where the boys liked play and rough-house play. I told the bully’s that if they would like to fight me they should to “bring it on”.

One tormentor took me up on my offer and, though no real harm was done, I physically taught him a lesson for all to see.

That was the end of all such troubles for me. “The word was-out” on the big nice-guy…”don’t try to bully or intimidate, Tommy”.

I never bullied other kids, but later I did stepped-in on a couple of occasions to protect some who who were being bullied by others.

The same principles are at play on the world playground, among Nation States.

This should be plain to see for those who are not trying to subvert America’s great conservative traditions of individual liberty.

The “wisdom of the ages” is seldom wrong: As the wise old saying goes: “If you want peace, prepare for war“, or,  “Si vis pacem, para bellum” from Flavius Vegetius Renatus circa 375 AD .

Of course our bright, well-read and world history-savvy Founding Fathers knew this and they built this prescription for survival into America’s Constitution: A document  that is quintessentially CONSERVATIVE in philosophy.

From William Bennett and John Cribb’s new book come the following quotes:

“God grants liberty only to those who love it, and are always ready to guard and defend it”, Daniel Webster (Kindle Loc. 2184).

“Among the many objects to which a wise and free people find it necessary to direct their attention, that of providing for their safety seems to be the first”, (Kindle Loc. 2190).

Please read the following short article documenting America’s recent failure to properly fund our military and provide for our National Defense.

This at a time of dramatically increasing Islamic war against America, Isrial, and the whole of Western Civilization; as well as startling increases in China’s and Russia’s militancy against the Western interests.

Please vote accordingly.

V. Thomas Mawhinney, 11/5/15



The Nature of American Conservatism #3

October 25, 2015

The Nature of American Conservatism #3

This series of blogs is based upon William Bennett and John Cribb’s new book, America the Strong: Conservative Ideas to Spark the Next Generation.

They suggest that the key features of Conservatism are easily remembered using the acronym “FLINT”. This word stands for:

F=Free Enterprise

L=Limited Government

I=Individual Liberty

N=National Defense

T=Traditional Values

As Bennett and Cribbs describe “L”, Limited Government, does not suggest that conservatives are opposed to government, rather they are against government that “wastes money” and “runs poorly”. They quote Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address and his ideal of a government that is: “of the people, by the people, for the people” (Kindle Loc. 900).

The following are several quotes from this chapter that will better explain the conservative’s conception of what “Limited Government” should look like.


“President Ronald Reagan put it this way in his farewell address to the nation in 1989”: ‘Ours was the first revolution in the history of mankind that truly reversed the course of government, and with three little words: “We the People.” “We the People” tell the government what to do; it doesn’t tell us. “We the People” are the driver; the government is the car. And we decide where it should go, and by what route, and how fast. Almost all the world’s constitutions are documents in which governments tell the people what their privileges are. Our Constitution is a document in which “We the People” tell the government what it is allowed to do (Kindle Loc. 911).


“If government’s power is unrestricted, it will naturally grow and control more of people’s lives. According to Thomas Jefferson, ‘The natural progression of things is for liberty to yield, and government to gain ground’.”

“Abraham Lincoln left us with a good description of limited government. He wrote, ‘The legitimate object of government is to do for the community of people whatever they need to have done but cannot do at all, or cannot so well do for themselves in their separate and individual capacities. In all that the people can individually do as well for themselves, government ought not to interfere’.” (Kindle Loc. 935)


Bennett and Cribb describe how both Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson thought that our Founder’s ideal of limited government was no longer workable and the size and scope of the federal government needed to grow.  In the 1930’s President Franklin D. Roosevelt used the Great Depression as an excuse to further expand the federal government’s powers. He called this expansion of federal government agencies actions, and tax expenditures “The New Deal”.

President Lyndon Johnson, in the 1960’s, used his conception of the “Great Society” to attack poverty and racial discrimination. Again, the number of the federal government’s agencies grew dramatically as did America’s tax expenditures to correct America’s social ills.

More recently, President Barrack Obama has expanded the federal government’s control of state and local politics as well as citizen’s lives in ways that have “transformed”, as Obama stated he would do, into something that America’s founding Fathers would be outraged to see: An unrelenting evolution to an increasingly socialistic, all-controlling federal government.

Please see the following which identifies the top ten, of a great many more,  of Obama’s most abusive executive actions.

Abusive to what?

Abusive to “L”: Individual Liberty for Americans!—-Which will he the topic of my next blog.

For a deeper understanding of the nature and scope of Obama’s abuses of power, please consider reading the more extensive article appearing at the end of this first one. It is entitled: An Executive Unbound: The Obama Administration Unilateral Actions.

V. Thomas Mawhinney, 10/25/15

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