. . . . I have no desire here to give you partisan advice. I want to draw you to something deeper, a way of life that is grounded in essential truths about God, man, and society.
The true conservatism I would steer you toward begins with a foundational truth that is revealed to us in the Bible but which has always struck me as the height of common sense: namely, that . . .
. . . we were made in God’s image but are now fallen. The first part is the ground of all human dignity and intrinsic worth. . . . The second part is the reality check, the reason why we need laws and limits, checks and balances.
Without a clear knowledge of our status as bearers of God’s image, we will allow the forces of big government or big business (or both) to use and manipulate us. Without a sense of our inherent sinfulness and depravity, we will attempt to purify society by reeducating (or purging out) undesirable elements that stand in the way of utopia. . . .
The second truth I would have you learn is that the family is the core institution of society: the state is a creation of the family and not vice versa. Do not let your children become wards of the state but raise them up in all that is good, true, and beautiful. . . .
After the family, the church is the second most important institution. It grounds the community in faith and service. . . .
Finally, respect freedom without tolerating vice. . . . Respect the traditions that have been passed down to you, but do not allow injustice to infect those traditions or turn them awry. . . .
Such is true conservatism, for it allows us to conserve all those things that are true and noble and right and pure. Be the salt and light, my son, that preserves and illuminates such things.