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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MONDAY, APRIL 26, 2010

On the Twelve Points and Conservative Principles, One Year Ago

I just found something that I wrote on conservative principles -- almost exactly a year ago.  As I wrote the Twelve Points, I made notes on every idea that entered my mind, including the use of the Twelve Points, how I could promote them, modifications that I intended to make to them, and the state of the conservative movement.  This passage concerns conservative principles, and more specifically, why we need to review them and declare them anew, from time to time:

Regarding the Twelve Points: without something like this, there is a high risk that people will adopt a "wrong answer."

This is not only an essential part of the solution, but also a beginning: once we know that we agree on the fundamental principles, we can create the actual agenda, and then the message. Most of this has been said before, at some point, but memories have faded, and most of us have "joined the program already in progress."  We have to affirm, from time to time, that this is what we believe, or we will wander too far away from it.

Just so that there is no misunderstanding, I did not believe, as I wrote this, that we would need to create the agenda and the message "from scratch." My belief was that alleged "conservatives" who have forgotten the accumulated wisdom that we call our "conservative principles" could not be expected to keep, implement, and defend them effectively.  Even now, in these august golden days of the Mount Vernon Statement, it is impossible to visit the comment threads under online newspaper articles without recognizing that many of the people who claim to be conservatives do not meet the kinds of standards that we ought to have, as a movement.  To solve that problem, if we care to solve it -- by which I mean, "If we care for our movement to have a future" -- we have two options.  We can either create a test to screen out all of the people who do not meet those standards, or we can communicate our principles to them and teach conservatism.  I chose the latter option, and that is why I created the Twelve Points.