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Issue 11 - September 2023

By Steven Thayn Republican District 14 Chairman

Robust Conservative Principles – Anemic Conservative Strategies

Modern conservatism is designed to oppose liberalism; not promote liberty.

The federal government has grown for decades without any end in sight. At some point, we must ask ourselves, “Is modern conservatism a failed political strategy?”

I maintain there is a difference between conservative principles and conservative strategies.

Let’s be clear, the principles of liberty promoted by conservatism do work. Individual liberty, property rights, low taxes, 2nd amendment rights, free market economics, freedom of speech, and religion have revolutionized the world and created more prosperity and liberty for more people than all other political and government systems combined. Many believe there is something missing from the political discussion. Until this missing element is identified, our problems will continue to worsen. But what is it?

We know principles of limited government do work when implemented; however, modern conservative strategies have not demonstrated the ability to implement these principles into government structures once they have been crowded by liberalism. Conservatives talk and complain while liberals change government structures to implement their ideas. Thus, liberal principles are always in effect regardless of the party in power. We are continually on defense simply responding to their stimuli. 

We need a new model which gives voice to problem-solving or structural conservatives who strive to change government structures which allow individuals to assume power from government; thus leading to the reduction in government.

In short, modern conservatism has been fighting against modern liberalism and forgotten how to use government to promote conservative principles. Conservatives have been trying to erase the errors of liberalism before building their own government structures to promote conservatism. The rhetoric of liberalism is seductive while the fruits of conservatism are remarkable.

Our Founding Fathers used government to protect the freedoms of the people by setting up government structures to implement separation of powers and limits on federal power. We need modern structures to re-accomplish what they did. Our job is much easier than theirs. We can build upon the foundation they laid. We don’t have to start from scratch. Our focus needs to be on three issues which conservatives have feared to address and where liberal principles are causing chaos and runaway costs – education, health care, and poverty.

(The degree of conservative strategic failures are indicated by the growth in federal spending which in 2000 stood at $1.79 trillion and projected spending in 2028 at $7.59 trillion. The growth in spending indicates increases in government budgets and the success of liberalism.) 



Question: What does creating a government structure look like?

Answer: In Idaho before 1980, it was illegal to home school. Parents were incarcerated for not sending their children to public school. The Idaho legislature created a legal structure by passing a law allowing parents to home school. What we are talking about is a legal, lawful structure in the Idaho code that gives citizens choices. This is a government structure. 

Another example would be to give the parents the right to choose curriculum for their own children within the public school system. Parents choosing the curriculum is the highest form of school choice and will erase liberal indoctrination faster than any other idea I have seen.


For more information email Senator Thayn at [email protected]

© Copyright 2023 Steven Thayn All rights reserved.