Of Course Children Prefer Liberalism
Conservatism is, in a sense, an acknowledgement of and a surrender to the truth. We conserve "what works," those traditions, practices, and ideas that have long held the test of time – such as marriage being the union of one man and one woman; the idea that if a man doesn't work, he shouldn't eat; all men are created equal; life in the womb is real and precious – because they are rooted in the Truth.
The most significant principle of conservatism is that our rights come not from man or from government, but from God. All laws of men, all governments instituted by men, should be rooted in the Laws of the Lawgiver. Any law, any government that does not do such is folly and should be treated as such. As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. taught us:
A just law is a man-made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law. To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas: An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law.
Because what is tried and true can sometimes be viewed as stale and boring, and because being moral is often difficult, conservatism is frequently presented with challenges that liberalism is not. Because the moral demands of liberalism are light and few, life in this world is often much easier for a liberal. This is especially true in politics. For liberals – usually, but not always, Democrats – governing becomes a matter of seeking what is popular and pleasing, not what is right.
Much of our childhood is spent doing the same. We are by our nature selfish (many of us say "sinful"), self-centered creatures. We want what we want, when we want it. As children, we want the toys, food, entertainment, and so on that make us feel good, or at least what we think will make us feel good, because others have told us or sold us.
At one time or another – especially when we were kids – we were all lured by one or more of the tenets of modern liberalism. Almost certainly, to some extent, each of us bought what liberalism was selling. Those of us who grew out of childhood learned many good and necessary lessons about not always getting what we want. We learned that the shiny, flashy, tasty, fun-looking things that so often lured us were frequently foolish, wasteful, unhealthy, and sometimes even deadly.
As I implied, we are born into our selfish way of thinking – one might say we are all born little liberals – and good, faithful parenting helps train us out of it. Tragically, far too many of us these days are getting no such training, and tens of millions of Americans are stuck in perpetual childhood. Thus, liberalism endures.
Liberals knew well what they were doing as they worked for decades at destroying the family. As generations of Americans have been raised in broken homes – often by broken people – it makes it easier to make them wards of the state. After all, if you don't have parents who care much or provide much for you, why not look to Uncle Sam and his trillions?
One of the great lies of modern liberalism – perhaps the great lie – is that the world owes us something, and it's up to us to do whatever it takes to get it. If one has the "right" to do whatever one wishes in the sexual realm, why take responsibility for an unplanned pregnancy? And if we don't have to worry about sex leading to children, why get married at all? And if we want to get married, why can't we define what is marriage?
If one has the "right" to health care, why shouldn't the government – or someone else – provide it? Along that line of thinking, why shouldn't food, housing, clothing, education, transportation, and so on be viewed as "rights," and thus as things someone else owes me? Or, if one has the "right" to a "liveable wage," why not force businesses and corporations to pay it so that all of these things can be afforded? And if students have a right to be safe in schools, why not take away everyone's guns?
Because such a mindset is so familiar to them, it's pretty easy to convince children – or those who think and reason like a child – that this is how the world should be. Thus, we shouldn't be surprised that so many students – whether elementary, middle, high school, or college – are eager to take up liberal causes. And with most of the country being educated from a liberal worldview, the real surprise should be that any students at all – at least those in government schools – shun the causes of liberalism.
It's not enough for conservatives to guard our own children against – and train them out of – such thinking. Because so many of today's American children are exposed to nothing but a liberal worldview, we must instruct them to the contrary. More importantly, we must faithfully live out the truth and be an example to all of the world that, though the truth is often hard and unpopular, it is always worth it.
Trevor Grant Thomas: At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
Trevor is the author of the The Miracle and Magnificence of America.