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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Small Government Conservatives and Conservative Principles Survived

On Saturday, while looking for an In The Agora post that I thought I remembered from 2005, I came across this, which calls attention to the conservatives who disagreed with President Bush during his presidency.

This is important as another example of how confusion has produced division (or part of such an example, anyway). Libertarians are disgusted with conservatives who abandoned the freedom-defending, constitutionalist, "small government" positions that they had claimed to support. Unfortunately, it is true that a lot of conservatives did abandon those positions. They have found it easy to oppose spending and budget deficits during the presidency of a liberal, but many of the same "conservative" politicians failed to take that position during the Bush administration, and they leave us with no reason to trust that they would take that position if returned to power.

Usually, at this point, I would explain how popularizing the Twelve Points could help to solve this problem. In this situation, however, ensuring that as many self-described conservatives as possible actually understand conservatism (and giving all conservatives evidence that their fellow conservatives actually do believe in all of this) is only a beginning. Nevertheless, I cannot think of a solution to this problem that does not involve conservatism becoming better-known throughout the conservative community, and I do believe that the Twelve Points can make this happen.

Concerning small-government conservatives, though it may have been hard to find us over the past decade (we certainly haven't been running the government and engineering legislation), the conservatives who have not abandoned all of those positions still exist. This includes not only those who do genuinely want less government spending, less debt, lower taxes, and freedom from the restrictions and requirements of unjustifiable laws, but also those who do care about the rights protected by the Bill of Rights, even when respecting those rights would somewhat limit our options in pursuing as legitimate and compelling of an objective as national defense.

True conservatism is small-government conservatism, and we haven't given up on our fellow conservatives or our country -- nor will we ever.