Mak­ing good­ness fash­ion­able

Con­ser­va­tives gather to honor the val­ues that helped set­tle the West

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary - By Jeff Hunt

There are con­ser­va­tives, and then there are Western con­ser­va­tives. Western con­ser­va­tives think dif­fer­ently about the world. Our wis­dom, forged in hard work and steeled by grit, helped set­tle the West and could pro­vide some much-needed com­mon sense to the rest of the na­tion. Take for in­stance this old cow­boy proverb: “The big­gest trou­ble­maker you’ll prob­a­bly ever have to deal with watches you shave his face in the mir­ror ev­ery morn­ing.” We need to stop be­ing a na­tion that blames oth­ers and ex­pects hand­outs. In­stead, we need to take re­spon­si­bil­ity for our own ac­tions. We are los­ing our sense of self-reliance and self-re­spon­si­bil­ity.

Or, “Far and away the best prize that life has to of­fer is the chance to work hard at work worth do­ing,” a quote from Theodore Roo­sevelt. Re­cent find­ings show that a record num­ber of young men are not par­tic­i­pat­ing in the work­force and are in­stead stay­ing home to play video games. These young men are miss­ing out on the sat­is­fac­tion of a hard day’s work.

Or, “The quick­est way to dou­ble your money is to fold it over and put it back into your pocket.” Re­ports are show­ing that half of Amer­i­cans don’t have a re­tire­ment ac­count and nearly 70 per­cent have less than $1,000 in sav­ings. We need to be­come a na­tion of savers and we need to hold our gov­ern­ment ac­count­able to a bal­anced bud­get.

Or, this great wis­dom from An­nie Oakley: “I would like to see ev­ery woman know how to han­dle firearms as nat­u­rally as they know how to han­dle ba­bies.” The world is a safer place with armed women.

Or, “Never miss a good chance to shut up.” That one is for the lib­eral me­dia.

Or, “When you lose, don’t lose the les­son.” That one is for the Democrats.

Or, one my fa­vorites from John Wayne: “Courage is be­ing scared to death — and sad­dling up any­way.” I’ll never for­get the 2015 Western Con­ser­va­tive Sum­mit when then-Colorado Chris­tian Univer­sity Pres­i­dent Bill Arm­strong took the stage. Ear­lier that week, a string of Supreme Court cases were de­cided in a lib­eral di­rec­tion. There was de­featism in the room and it was clear on the faces of many of the at­ten­dees. Pres­i­dent Arm­strong walked onto the stage and boldly de­clared in his big, boom­ing voice, “Now is the time, pa­tri­ots, to mount our horses and ride into the bul­lets!” A loud cheer erupted as the crowd rose to their feet. We needed a word of western en­cour­age­ment in 2015. Look at how much con­ser­va­tives have ac­com­plished in just two years.

Western con­ser­va­tives are op­ti­mists. There is al­ways an­other ad­ven­ture over the hori­zon. Con­sider this great wis­dom from John Wayne’s tomb­stone: “To­mor­row is the most im­por­tant thing in life. Comes into us at mid­night very clean. It’s per­fect when it ar­rives and it puts it­self in our hands. It hopes we’ve learnt some­thing from yes­ter­day.”

The na­tion needs Western con­ser­va­tive wis­dom. We work hard, raise our fam­i­lies, care for our neigh­bors, make re­li­gion an im­por­tant part of our lives, fol­low the law and pro­mote jus­tice, ste­ward the land, de­velop our com­mu­ni­ties, and make the na­tion a bet­ter place.

All this ex­plains why the Western Con­ser­va­tive Sum­mit isn’t just an­other pub­lic-pol­icy con­fer­ence. Held each sum­mer in Den­ver since 2010, the event brings the na­tion’s po­lit­i­cal lead­ers to the heart­land. They come face to face with the salt-of-theearth peo­ple they rep­re­sent. Fur­ther­more, it show­cases Western con­ser­va­tive wis­dom to a na­tion that badly needs to hear it.

The sum­mit, held this year July 21-23 at the Colorado Con­ven­tion Cen­ter, has a theme you prob­a­bly won’t find at other po­lit­i­cal gath­er­ings: “Mak­ing Good­ness Fash­ion­able.” But Western­ers will un­der­stand why striv­ing to be good is cru­cial to con­ser­vatism.

Paul Har­vey’s fa­mous 1978 speech “So God Made A Farmer” per­fectly sums up the qual­ity of a Western con­ser­va­tive. “God said, ‘I need some­body will­ing to get up be­fore dawn, milk cows, work all day in the fields, milk cows again, eat sup­per and then go to town and stay past mid­night at a meet­ing of the school board.’ So God made a farmer.”

It’s this kind of wis­dom that D.C. po­lit­i­cal lead­ers need to hear.

“To­mor­row is the most im­por­tant thing in life. Comes into us at mid­night very clean. It’s per­fect when it ar­rives and it puts it­self in our hands. It hopes we’ve learnt some­thing from yes­ter­day.”

Jeff Hunt is vice pres­i­dent of pub­lic pol­icy at Colorado Chris­tian Univer­sity and di­rec­tor of the Centennial In­sti­tute.

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