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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Origin of the Twelve Points

At this point, readers may wonder who is behind this project, where the Twelve Points came from, and who their author is.  This post is the answer to these questions.

I am Karl Born, the author of the Twelve Points.  I wrote the Twelve Points and created this blog, though there were many people along the way whose help has been indispensible.

I wrote the Twelve Points because at some point in 2007, I realized that the current level of philosophical confusion in the conservative movement (which I believe was no better then than it is now) might be helped by the right kind of statement of principles.  This statement would need to cut through this fog, resonate with all conservatives, refresh their (/our) memory of conservative ideas and philosophy, and help newer conservatives to gain (from the beginning) a firm grasp of the breadth and depth of the conservative objectives and principles.

It also occurred to me that widespread conservative affirmation of such a summary of conservative philosophy could help to heal and reunite the conservative movement.  In the years leading up to this, the conservatives most concerned with freedom, the Constitution, the rule of law, and related issues concerning the size and cost of government were given reason to question how much weight, if any, many conservatives actually gave to these principles.  (For this reason, some of these freedom enthusiasts no longer even call themselves conservatives, even though individual liberty and its constitutional protections are unambiguously a conservative principle.  What could be less conservative than for Americans to abandon this fortunate heritage of liberty?)  This was not the only important division in the conservative community; there were others.

To me, however, each of these divisions appeared to have resulted from a similar cause: constituencies of conservatives were violating the principles most important to the others, even where I would have expected the principles to appeal to the very groups violating them, and even though the conservative principles work best in concert.  If all conservatives were to review and reaffirm all of these principles at once, refreshing their own dedication to those principles, couldn't that help to pull these conservative groups back together?  A superficial, ceremonial reunion would be useless, but if conservatives from all of these factions would willingly, earnestly, and publicly reaffirm their sincere support of these principles, I do think that they would make a point of actually keeping those principles.

As a sophomore at Indiana University - Bloomington in 2001, I began to organize a conservative student organization, Grand Old Cause, which eventually adopted the statement of principles shown in the picture: the Seven Points.  Later (back in 2007), I realized that the Seven Points would not quite provide the certainty and substance that the larger conservative movement needed, and I gradually began to consider writing a new Seven Points-like statement on conservatism.

In March 2008, I finally decided to follow through and write a first draft of the Twelve Points.  Once I had done this, I wanted to be sure that I had not missed anything essential, so I tracked down and read every conservative book and every existing conservative statement of principles that I could find.  (As I researched, edited, and drafted the Twelve Points, the "Sharon Statement" of Young Americans for Freedom was an important influence on both the style and the substance.)

It was a long time before I was satisfied with what I had written, but in Indianapolis, during the afternoon of July 2, 2009, I made the final changes and completed the Twelve Points.

The only thing left to do was spread the word.  If you like the Twelve Points -- and I have no doubt that you will, once you read them -- I hope that you will join me in this final part of the project.

If you want to help, e-mail me at or simply send people here on your own!