The Twelve Points are a statement of conservative principles, objectives, philosophy, and additional guiding considerations, composed by Karl Born, a young Indianapolis writer and attorney, beginning in early 2008, completed on July 2, 2009. The idea for the Twelve Points, along with several of the points, came from the "Seven Points," an older statement of conservative principles, created by a group of young conservatives at Indiana University, in 2003: Grand Old Cause. 

The purpose of the Twelve Points is to serve as a delivery mechanism for distilled, concentrated conservative thinking, offered in order to return completeness and clarity to popular conservatism, to spread knowledge of the true principles of conservatism throughout the conservative community, and to focus and promote agreement among conservatives. 

Over the past two decades, the conservative movement has lost its uniting sense of direction, which has rendered it confused, frustrated, and impotent. Certain crucial conservative principles and concepts have faded from our common memory and lost their rightful influence and, consequently, our fellow conservatives (including conservative leaders) too often can no longer be relied upon to understand them, to be committed to them, or to apply and advance them in a coherent way. No conservative should be satisfied with the results that this has produced in American public policy. 

The Twelve Points will help to solve this problem, this statement of conservative principles being an instrument by which we may frequently recur to these fundamental principles and keep points of conservative thought freshly in our minds, teach conservative thought to the newer and younger conservatives, and provide all conservatives with a means of together affirming that, yes, we still care about these conservative principles, and conservative principles still define this movement.

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FRIDAY, JULY 2, 2010

Educating Legislators

I have heard of certain "crash courses" that are offered to certain elected officials upon their election.  These are important because 1) unlike judges, there is no rule or tradition tending to assist legislative candidates who are educated in certain matters of law, history, or jurisprudence, 2) we have no class of people that is educated in such matters, and 3) elections make elected officials dependent upon voters, but neither primary nor general elections are fit for use in screening out candidates who do not meet a standard of minimal competence in these matters.  As a result, we have to educate them once they are elected, (somehow) educate potential candidates before they are elected, or suffer under the influence of uneducated officials.

The existence of such courses indicates that some people have (fortunately) taken it upon themselves to pursue the option of educating officials who have already been elected.  The effect of this is doubtlessly positive, but it does have shortcomings -- first, it can affect the beliefs and priorities of candidates between their election and their inauguration, placing an even greater divide between what they may promise and what they ultimately do, and second, there is the risk that the information being given there to freshman legislators is misleading or even contrary to principles of good government.

A great solution would be to compile some sort of comprehensive text on good government that could be used to reach the larger number of potential candidates.  Unfortunately, no such text currently exists, and creating one would be a major undertaking that most people are unqualified to undertake.  Those who are qualified are evidently disinclined to actually write the text, or else they would do so.  Even if they were to do so, we could not be certain that the text would actually succeed, being widely distributed, adopted, and studied.

The Twelve Points were a more limited undertaking.  Among their purposes is to educate officeholders, candidates, and potential candidates in some of the indispensable ideas that are not currently being circulated as widely as they should be.  They are not as detailed as a more comprehensive text would be, but they fit as much detail as possible into their five pages and communicate a lot of ideas that need very much to be communicated.

Help me to tell our fellow conservatives about the Twelve Points -- they are the best five-page crash-course we have.