What Do Conservatives Believe And Why Do They Believe It: What does it mean to be a conservative? Do you know what you believe and why you believe it? Today we will be discussing just that! Jim DeMint is on with us to discuss what the principles are that made America the freest, most prosperous nation in world history and how we can reclaim them to prevent our demise. Tune in now to learn more!
Air Date: 09/04/2019
Guest: Jim Demint
On-air Personalities: David Barton, Rick Green, and Tim Barton
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Transcription note: As a courtesy for our listeners’ enjoyment, we are providing a transcription of this podcast. Transcription will be released shortly. However, as this is transcribed from a live talk show, words and sentence structure were not altered to fit grammatical, written norms in order to preserve the integrity of the actual dialogue between the speakers. Additionally, names may be misspelled or we might use an asterisk to indicate a missing word because of the difficulty in understanding the speaker at times. We apologize in advance.
Faith And The Culture
You found your way to the intersection of faith in the culture. It’s WallBuilders Live!
We’re talking about today’s hottest topics on policy faith the culture all those different things out there that affect your life. They affect your backyard, education system, your state, and they affect our nation.
We’re talking about all those things from a biblical historical and constitutional perspective.
My name is Rick Green. I’m a former Texas legislator. I’m here with David Barton. He’s America’s premier historian and the founder of Wall Builders. Tim Barton is with us national speaker, pastor, and President of WallBuilders.
We’re also going to have a special guest later in the program.
Every one of these programs we’re always talking about how to look at these issues from that biblical historical and constitutional perspective and apply these into our lives to be good citizens.
To remain respectful of the fact that we’ve been given an amazing system and it’s our duty and responsibility to preserve and protect it; to pass it on to the next generation. Therefore we’ve got to study what works, what doesn’t work well? What will preserve culture and society? What will produce prosperity, freedom, joy, and all those things in a society that we agree we want.
We’ve got to think about what produces those things: what formula is that will produce those results.
Later in the program, former Senator Jim DeMint will be with us talk about his new book Conservative. That’s coming out. He’s been on the front lines. He knows what’s needed to save the country.
It’s interesting that he has a book out about conservative because it really helps define that. That’s really important right now because media, critics and so many on the left are redefining what conservative is; what they wanted to be rather than what it actually is. It’s a word that’s been around a long time.
It’s a word that existed in the founding era. Like so many things that are being redefined, Jim does a great job saying here’s what it really means.
What It Really Means
One of the things that we see a lot in culture, in the media is: that Conservatism is being redefined as to what we are against. What we oppose, the kind of people we are.
We might be hateful, intolerant, bigoted, racist and all these pejoratives and adjectives that get thrown at us and we lose sight of –
No, as conservatives, we’re trying to conserve something. There is a fundamental principle. There’s a value, a tradition that we are trying to conserve and there’s a reason.
Jim is someone who not only has fought most of his life trying to conserve these principles and even promote them.
He’s been promoting, teaching and training a lot of these but now with this book, it explains why we believe that there are certain values that we should be preserving. That we should be holding onto and what it really does mean to be a conservative.
It does make a lot of sense the way he explains in this new book.
Apologetics Is Important
We’ve talked about how important apologetics is knowing not only what you believe but why you believe it.
From a Christian standpoint, it’s really important to have the apologetics of your faith to be able to defend your faith.
This is what Jim has done in the conservative sphere. He says look, here are our principles. These are the foundations on which we stand. This is why we see what we see with private property, school choice, economics, morality, and so many other areas.
This really helps us as Conservatives remember: who we are, why we do what we do, why we believe what we believe, and how that this has worked across history.
There’s nobody better than Jim; he is so articulate about this. He is such a down-to-earth kind of guy.
He really is brilliant. He runs some huge think tanks in the nation. He’s just got an ability to communicate it reduces to simplicity, and that’s really helpful.
Senator Jim DeMint with us when we return from the break. Stay with us. You’re listening to WallBuilders Live.
A Moment From American History
This is Tim Barton from WallBuilders with another moment from American history. Too often today, history education excludes great black heroes from the American founding. Such as Lemuel Haynes.
Haynes, though abandoned as a baby, pioneered churches across upper New England. He became the first black American to pastor a white congregation, to receive an honorary master’s degree, and to be ordained by a mainstream Christian denomination, The Congregationalist.
He was a soldier during the American Revolution, and in his churches on George Washington’s birthday, he regularly preached sermons honoring George Washington. Even late in his life, he expressed his willingness to go back to battle if necessary to protect America, which he called “a sacred ark.”
American history is filled with numerous examples of black heroes who are largely ignored by mainstream education today. For more information about Pastor Lemuel Haynes and other colonial Patriots go to WallBuilders.com.
Former Senator Jim DeMint
Welcome back. Thanks for staying with us here on WallBuilders Live.
It’s an honor today to have former Senator Jim DeMint with us. One of the great stalwart Conservatives that has done so much for our nation.
Senator, it’s a privilege to have you, sir.
Rick, it’s always great to be with you and the wonderful WallBuilders audience around the country. It’s good to see you when you’re touring D.C. and the capital as well. So thanks for having me.
Absolutely. Excited about what you’re doing with the Conservative Partnership Institute and just continuing to help move our country in the right direction.
You are talking a lot about it in the book. We’re going to be covering today how to fix some of the problems out there, and what to hold on to.
Conservative, knowing what to keep. Great book title especially because we’re kind of figuring out who we are as Americans these days, and where we want to go.
Everyone’s A Conservative
You’re exactly right.
I’m tired of hearing people define Conservatism in all kinds of negative ways.
Everyone’s a conservative. We all want to keep the things that matter to us.
As a nation, the whole science of Conservatism is understanding what has worked to make life better for people in the past, and then learning how to apply it to the challenges we have today.
It’s not that complicated, but we do need to take the time to look at the things that work. It really goes back as we point out in the book: America has been different from the start.
We’re A Covenant Nation
We’re a covenant nation. We the People make a covenant with each other and with God. You’ve probably seen some of the book itself, but we’re just trying to help people see that Conservatism isn’t just about knowing what to keep.
Yes. I noticed that Jim Jordan is in his forward for you. He mentioned Russell Kirk’s book on the conservative mind. I remember when I was 19, that book had a great impact on my philosophy and idea of what a Conservative is.
How did that impact your writing of this book after having been in the arena for so long? And I’m sure having read that book many years ago as well.
What role did it play in when you started deciding, what should I be pointing out about what we should keep?
If you could understand Russell Kirk as a young man, you must be a whole lot smarter than I did.
I didn’t say I understood it. I just said it impacted me.
One of the goals of the book is to take the ideas of Russell Kirk, and the Conservative mind forward. It was written back in the 40s and amazingly predicted in a lot of things.
It predicts if we don’t follow some basic principles.
We wanted to bring those ideas forward in a way that especially younger Americans could understand; it would make sense to their life.
I wrote this book with Rachel Bovard, who’s a millennial a really bright woman.
It was good for me to get the give and take from someone of a different generation. Russell Kirk is kind of the foundation of a lot of what we do in this book.
I’m glad you mentioned Rachel because that’s it seems like there is a different vernacular; a different way to reach the millennials and in Gen Z’s coming up.
It’s important for us who have been around a little longer to have someone like Rachel to help. So that collaboration with you guys made a big difference in how the book comes across as you hit all of these topics that are still relevant.
You’ve got to speak it in a language that the new generation feels like they’ve got a stake in the game.
Younger People Don’t Have The Benefit Of Time
Yes, they do. It really is harder for younger people to get this idea of knowing what to keep because they don’t have the benefit of time.
When I was younger, I was not looking to follow all the patterns of the previous generations. Certainly, you don’t have to; there are new roads to take.
There are ways to make it work better for yourself and for others as you go forward. Rachel was a huge help on this.
She does a lot of media now, and folks are seeing that you can be young, you can be sensible, and you can be a Conservative.
That’s a big part of what we want to get across.
One of Russel Kirk’s ideas is: we’re losing a lot of our freedoms and the things we care about, and so we have to bring up a new generation of new masters, as he calls them, which is actually true.
We look at a lot of these young people as maybe not being a part of everything that’s going on, but they are the new masters for the next generation.
So, part of what we want to do is to give them some road signs to the future that are going to work better.
That’s so good. I read in some of the material that’s coming out; it says there’s an opportunity here: how conservatives can win the battle for the hearts and minds of Americans. That’s what it takes.
We’ve got to win their hearts and minds if we want them to receive this torch of freedom that we’re passing to them and be responsible with it.
You Covered The Big Topics
You covered kind of at the 30,000 feet level the big topics.
Our covenants, our faith, our differences, our republic, our institutions and traditions, and our land of opportunity.
You also dive a little bit into the specifics — some of those major principles that have been under attack.
Property rights are one of the ones I wanted to ask you about. It doesn’t seem to hold in this generation, the same level of respect as a pillar of freedom that we need. You address that.
Why are property rights an antidote to government tyranny? Why is it such an important pillar of our freedom?
Property Rights Is An Alternative To What The Government Controls
It’s really an alternative to what the government does, controls and owns.
Property rights are part of the strength of civil society. It also gives people the motivation to go out, work, to save, and to build something for themselves.
A lot of countries have tried not having private property. It just hadn’t work.
There is always poverty.
If you give someone a little piece of property; I know my first house wasn’t much, but it was mine. I took care of it and worked hard for it. Everyone in the little neighborhood did as well.
It’s something that you really have to think about for a while. Every kid once they get something that’s theirs and they say it’s mine, their whole behavior is different.
I know most of us had that first car that wasn’t worth much too, but it was ours, and we took care of it.
There’s just a different motivation. Not just for yourself but the people around you, in the society at large. It kind of gives you a stake and in the country itself when you own property.
Yeah, in fact, it’s probably one of the things that bother me the most, about our loss of freedom and the little pieces of tyranny that I see.
Whether it’s the Endangered Species Act or its regulation from your local city council or whoever it is. There just seems to be this real movement of somehow government will take better care of your property than you will. We know that not to be true, but it just keeps creeping in.
Yeah. Rick, some people tell me, Jim, the government is really not taking property. They weren’t in some cases but when they regulate it to the point where you can no longer control it yourself or tax it to the point where it’s hard to keep it over time: it becomes a threat to property rights itself.
I know a lot of young folks are not buying houses, and other things because of the property taxes related to it. Homes are not being developed in some federal lands because of the rules and regulations.
It Just Doesn’t Work
We just need to look at this. Not that we don’t need government. We certainly need rules to live together with civility. But the idea that seems to be kind of coming to the surface is that the government should be the one to control a lot of things.
It just doesn’t work. Part of what we tried to do in the book is to show that it’s never worked around the country.
This whole idea of socialism and central planning by the government. If folks can just see that nowhere in time, in history are these things, like socialism, have they ever worked. Hopefully, they’ll start listening to some alternative opinions than we’re getting today from the national level.
That’s what I like about this recurrent theme throughout the book.
It’s really taking each of these issues that some today would label as socialism. They’re getting more willing to label them as socialism, but they’re policies that are definitely socialist.
You go through them one at a time. You hit health care. You talk about school choice. You talk about religion and freedom of religion.
I wish I had you for an hour: we go through each of those. I’ve got just to pick one, so I’m going to go with school choice because one of the major reasons I went and served in the legislature for a little while at the local level.
Why is it that this is so hard to get done? It seems like people would be for choice — parents being able to make these decisions. But Progressives are dug in on this one.
They are. There is a lot of money that is behind it. The national teachers’ unions are one of the most powerful groups in the country, politically.
They take dues from thousands and thousands of teachers. A lot of those dues go to support the Democrat Party.
There’s really a vicious cycle here of fighting against a private sector school system. It really doesn’t make sense for all the money we spend on public education to only go to government-run schools.
There lots of different myths.
You’ve got people telling minorities if you go to school choices it’s going to go back to segregation.
There are a lot of folks who fled to the suburbs and paid more for their homes to get in a good school district. When you talk about school choice, I’ve heard them say no, you’re not going to mess up my school. I think they’ve got good schools out there.
Education Savings Accounts
We just need to think.
Things like education savings accounts that have been started in Arizona.
There are about six states now that have some version of them where the money just follows the student whether it’s home school, private, parochial Christian, public whatever.
Everywhere this has been tried; public schools get better.
You look at Florida where they started school choice almost before anyone else. They’ve got lots of versions of charter schools, different kinds of scholarship.
Public schools get better because they have to compete. They can benefit by looking at what others are doing better, what we call best practices in business and seeing how to improve.
So this idea that it’s going to hurt anyone is just ridiculous.
From a Christian perspective, I don’t know why we are not challenging our pastors, our churches to start a Christian education system at least for elementary schools.
It doesn’t make any sense to try to raise folks with a Christian worldview when they’re spending most of their time in a secular school that’s not teaching them anything about how the world really works.
We Need To Be Good Stewards And Faithful Servants
So true. Conservative, knowing what to keep.
Jim Dement and Rachel Bovard but before I let you go, the last question.
Senator, you’ve been in this fight a while.
I was just having a great conversation last night with a young man that worked at state capital the first time this last school around and just saw the depth of the corruption, problems: how difficult it is to win battles in this arena.
How do you stay hopeful and stay in the fight when you see so much of that? And you saw it at the big level there in Washington D.C. as a U.S. senator. How do you stay hopeful, stay in, and keep fighting day after day?
Believe me, I get discouraged. I am an analyst by trade. I know that on paper you can say it’s too late – too many people are dependent on the government. They’re so susceptible to the socialist message.
But then you realize that our job is not to win all our battles. It’s just to be faithful. We are stewards of the one the greatest gift to mankind. Just to be able to live in this country so, whether we get up and lose every day is not so much the issue.
We need to be good store stewards and faithful servants.
When I get really discouraged, I think about the guys who signed the Declaration of Independence. What chance did they have to win? None at all. They were taken on the greatest army in the history of the world with a bunch of rabbit rifles.
But God bless them for their faithfulness, and a lot of us have benefited from that.
So that’s what keeps me in this.
Not that I know I’m going to win but knowing that we are all stewards and we need to be faithful.
Amen. That’s a good word. A great new book.
Mark Levin said in this new book; you guys have defined Conservatism in simple commonsense terms. This book is a much-needed force to unite Americans with positive ideas. Conservative, knowing what to keep.
Senator Demint, thank you so much for your time.
Look forward to getting you back on the program soon.
Stay with us folks. We’ll be right back with David and Tim Barton.
This Precarious Moment Book
This is David Barton. I want to let about a brand new book we have called This Precarious Moment: Six Urgent Steps That Will Save You, Your Family, and Our Country. Jim Garlow and I have co-authored this book, and we take six issues that are hot in the culture right now.
Issues that we’re dealing with, issues such as immigration, race relations, our relationship with Israel, the rising generation Millennials, and the absence of the church in the culture wars, and where American heritage is our godly heritage.
We look at all six of those issues right now that are under attack, and we give you both Biblical and historical perspective on those issues that provide solutions on what each of us can do right now to make a difference.
These are all problems that are solvable if we’ll get involved. So, you can grab the book. This Precarious Moment and find out what you can do to make a difference. This Precarious Moment is available at WallBuilders.com.
Welcome back to WallBuilders Live.
Thanks for staying with a special thanks to U.S. Senator Jim DeMint. Former U.S. Senator, Jim DeMint.
He’s now running a great conservative think tank in Washington D.C. and helping to keep the movement alive.
In this book Conservative, he’s actually helping to define what that means, what the issues are, and the strategies are that we should be working on if we want to save the country.
David, Tim, great interview. Always great wisdom from DeMint. We really recommend folks to get the book because it will help them understand the most important issues to work on today, and as Jim says to hold on to.
U.S. Supreme Court Case Out Of Montana
He had so many good areas and topics but one that really jumped at me, because we’re right in the middle of it right now, school choice.
Now it’s education in general, but there is a case at the U.S. Supreme Court this year out of Montana.
We actually have been able to be involved in that case and are helping do some of the briefs for the court on that. We look at that case as having the potential to really change the landscape of education in America.
If the Supreme Court upholds school choice in Montana, then what you’ll see is that there are 40 states in the United States that could see alterations in the way that they do education funding to include school choice.
Jim mentioned Arizona and five or six states that they are able to do school choice, and as he pointed out: anywhere you have choice, public schools improve.
The Rising Tide That Lifts All Boats
I mean it’s the rising tide lifts all boats. When you start funding what works, and not just funding what’s inferior, (Yes, there’s public school folks and we’ve been involved in schools and etc.,) it doesn’t change the fact that statistically speaking public school scores continue to be some of the lowest educational scores in the nation when compared to all other forms of education.
Whether it’s private or parochial, charter whatever it is. Christian public schools are continually at the bottom when comparing that.
So why not do something that helps that 88 % of the kids attending schools? Why not, as Jim said, look at best practices?
Let’s look at what works.
Take things that charter schools have found that work. Take things that Christian schools are doing.
Churches Ought To Be Starting Schools
Why not give all kids the best opportunity to get a good education?
School choice really perked up for us because we’re in the middle of this case.
Then I thought it was really bold when he said, look it makes no sense to send our kids into a secular worldview. Churches, Christians we ought to be starting at least elementary schools to inculcate a biblical worldview.
Why would we send our kids into such a hostile system, that tries to destroy the very things that we believe in?
He’s exactly right. So he still has the boldness he’s always had, but he has the cogency and just the logic and common sense in so many areas.
Property Rights Issue Is Huge
He covers a lot more in the book than we had time to do in our short interview. He hit on some very important issues. The property rights issue is huge. That’s one that most people don’t even think about these days because we don’t highlight that as a major pillar.
I thought it was interesting that even as you guys discussed this topic in the interview: the point that was brought up is that behavior and motivation are different when you possess something as opposed to if it belongs to the government.
If it’s yours or if you have the chance to own it, it makes a difference that you’re motivated to work more for this. You’re going to treat it differently because it is yours. You value it differently.
This is one of those lessons that every parent is trying to help their kids understand: is you have to respect items. That’s why so many parents have their kids work to purchase things themselves.
As parents, you don’t want to give everything to the kids. No.
There is a value when you have done the work, able to purchase it and then you possess it.
One of the things that properties tax, we’ve talked at length about the dangers of it. In Texas, property taxes have changed so much. You can own a piece of property but if you don’t pay the X number of dollars, the hundreds or thousands of dollars every year the government wants for it, they can take away the very nice assets you have: the house, the property whatever else because you failed to pay the government.
So, in essence, the government thinks you are renting the property; you don’t possess the property.
This is one of the things that Jim points out.
This is an area where we want to conserve right. We want to protect private property and not allow the government to come in and think that they can actually charge you for that property. Nope, this is yours. It’s different.
I think Most Americans Would Agree With If It Was Explained To Them
This is something I think most Americans would agree with if it was explained to them. We just don’t have many of these ideas that are being pronounced very well from very many voices. That’s one of the reasons we’re so grateful for Jim and what he’s done for so many years.
Now, in this book, he is trying to communicate these principles in a way that makes it easy to understand. As he mentioned, he didn’t do this by himself; there was a young lady working with him because he wanted to have a millennial voice.
It’s something we try to do you even on this program: is not just present truth but presented in a way that’s palatable for the next generation.
I so appreciate the fact that someone who has done as much as Jim, is as credentialed as he is, knows as much as he knows; did not get caught up saying no, I don’t need help. I can do this.
He said let me bring in somebody to help make sure that we’re communicating this in the right voice for the next generation. That’s exactly what this book does.
Conservative – Knowing What To Keep
It’s called Conservative, knowing what to keep, Jim Dement and Rachel Bovard.
I really encourage you to check out the book and educate ourselves on these things so that we know what to fight for and to know that we can win.
I love just even the theme: how conservatives can win the battle for the hearts and minds of Americans.
So much covered in the book. Great reviews from a lot of different folks.
I mentioned earlier what Mark Levin had said about the book.
Senator Mike Lee said, Conservative is the most comprehensive exposé on Conservatism in our generation.
Charlie Kirk of Turning Points said that Jim DeMint is the dean of the Conservative movement. Rachel Bovard is the valedictorian. Conservative is their graduate thesis.
U.S. Congressman Jim Jordan said, this book is focused on the science of Conservatism; discovering what has worked in the past and figuring out how to apply those proven principles to today’s challenges.
So I encourage you to check it out and study it.
As part of our responsibility as good citizens is to become students of freedom. To study the things that work; that produces a good culture and good society.
Check Out WallBuilders.com for Resources
That’s what WallBuilders is all about. If you go to WallBuilders.com, there is a wealth of resources right there. Some that you can read right there online. Some that you can order books, tapes, DVDs. I said tapes, didn’t I? I don’t think we do tapes anymore. There are MP3s or at least CDs. Even that’s a little old. A lot of resources there.
Great new material curriculum that’s available for you.
Some incredible new videos that David and Tim have put out. Some of our audio programs from this program WallBuilders Live available there as well.
A lot of great things that will help educate, inspire, and equip you to do your part to help save our constitutional republic.
One of the most important things you can do is study the Constitution itself. Constitution Alive is available right here at Wallbuilderslive.com. You can even become one of our Constitution coaches where you’re the host; where you actually become the catalyst in your community to bring people together to study the Constitution.
You don’t have to be an expert. You just gonna be able to hit play on the DVD player or play it on your computer where you download the videos there.
We make it all available to you as a constitution coach. You can check that out at Constitutioncoach.com today if you want to learn how to become that constitution coach in your community.
Thanks so much for listening. You’ve been listening to WallBuilders Live.