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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    Words of Wisdom

    "The conservative declares that he acts only after sufficient reflection, having weighed the consequences. Sudden and slashing reforms are as perilous as sudden and slashing surgery." - Russell Kirk

    ''I wish I could give you some magic formula, but each of us must find his own role ... Are you willing to spend time studying the issues, making yourself aware, and then conveying that information to family and friends? Will you resist the temptation to get a government handout for your community?" - Ronald Reagan, "A Time For Choosing," 1964

    "With those, too, not yet rallied to the same point, the disposition to do so is gaining strength; facts are piercing through the veil drawn over them; and our doubting brethren will at length see, that the mass of their fellow citizens, with whom they cannot yet resolve to act, as to principles and measures, think as they think, and desire what they desire..." - President Thomas Jefferson, Second Inaugural Address

    "[T]hat our wish, as well as theirs, is, that the public efforts may be directed honestly to the public good, that peace be cultivated, civil and religious liberty unassailed, law and order preserved; equality of rights maintained, and that state of property, equal or unequal, which results to every man from his own industry, or that of his fathers." - President Thomas Jefferson, Second Inaugural Address

    "When satisfied of these views, it is not in human nature that they should not approve and support them; in the meantime, let us cherish them with patient affection; let us do them justice, and more than justice, in all competitions of interest..." - President Thomas Jefferson, Second Inaugural Address

    "[A]nd we need not doubt that truth, reason, and their own interests, will at length prevail, will gather them into the fold of their country, and will complete their entire union of opinion, which gives to a nation the blessing of harmony, and the benefit of all its strength." - President Thomas Jefferson, Second Inaugural Address

    "Someplace, a perversion has taken place. Our natural unalienable rights are now presumed to be a dispensation of government, divisible by a vote of the majority. 'The greatest good for the greatest number' is a high-sounding phrase, but contrary to the very basis of our nation, unless it is accompanied by the recognition that we have certain rights which cannot be infringed upon, even if the individual stands outvoted by all of his fellow citizens.''- Ronald Reagan, in 1964

    "I believe the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism. I think conservatism is really a misnomer just as liberalism is a misnomer for the liberals -- if we were back in the days of the Revolution, so-called conservatives today would be the Liberals and the liberals would be the Tories." - Ronald Reagan, in an interview with Reason, in 1975

    "The basis of conservatism is a desire for less government interference or less centralized authority or more individual freedom and this is a pretty general description also of what libertarianism is.'' - Ronald Reagan, in 1975

    "When we were sent into a place of authority, you that sent us had yourselves but one commission to give. You could give us none to wrong or oppress, or even to suffer any kind of oppression or wrong, on any grounds whatsoever; not on political, as in the affairs of America; not on commercial, as in those of Ireland; not in civil, as in the laws for debt; not in religious, as in the statutes against Protestant or Catholic Dissenters." - Edmund Burke

    "The diversified but connected fabric of universal justice, is well cramped and bolted together in all its parts; and depend upon it, I never have employed, and I never shall employ, any engine of power which may come into my hands, to wrench it asunder. " - Edmund Burke

    "There is an opinion that parties in free countries are useful checks upon the administration of the government and serve to keep alive the spirit of liberty. This, within certain limits, is probably true; and ... there being constant danger of excess, the effort ought to be by force of public opinion, to mitigate and assuage it. A fire not to be quenched, it demands a uniform vigilance to prevent its bursting into a flame, lest, instead of warming, it should consume." - President George Washington, "Farewell Address"

    "I hope we have once again reminded people that man is not free unless government is limited. There's a clear cause and effect here that is as neat and predictable as a law of physics: As government expands, liberty contracts." - President Ronald Reagan, "Farewell Address"

    "The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism...." - President George Washington

    "That when individuals unite to form a government, they do not surrender their rights, but instead grant their government the qualified permission to ascertain and keep the just boundaries of their liberty, which are to be defined by law, by their elected representatives, and in accordance with their constitution..." - the Twelve Points

    "Any organization is in actuality only the lengthened shadow of its members. A political party is a mechanical structure created to further a cause. The cause, not the mechanism, brings and holds the members together. And our cause must be to rediscover, reassert and reapply America's spiritual heritage to our national affairs.'' - Ronald Reagan, in 1977

    "THAT foremost among the transcendent values is the individual's use of his God-given free will, whence derives his right to be free from the restrictions of arbitrary force..." - Young Americans for Freedom: the Sharon Statement, 1960

    "That in every government rests a sacred and immutable duty to secure and respect the rights of the governed, to guarantee equality before the law, and to preserve the rule of law..." the Twelve Points

    ''And just to set the record straight, let me say this about our friends who are now Republicans but who do not identify themselves as conservatives: I want the record to show that I do not view the new revitalized Republican Party as one based on a principle of exclusion. After all, you do not get to be a majority party by searching for groups you won't associate or work with. If we truly believe in our principles, we should sit down and talk." - Ronald Reagan, in 1977

    "Talk with anyone, anywhere, at any time if it means talking about the principles for the Republican Party. Conservatism is not a narrow ideology, nor is it the exclusive property of conservative activists ... Our task now is not to sell a philosophy, but to make the majority of Americans, who already share that philosophy, see that modern conservatism offers them a political home.'' - Ronald Reagan, in 1977

    ''Today, there is an increasing number who can't see a fat man standing beside a thin one without automatically coming to the conclusion that the fat man got that way by taking advantage of the thin one. So they would seek the answer to all the problems of human need through government.'' - Ronald Reagan, ''A Time For Choosing,'' 1964

    "America is freedom -- freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of enterprise. And freedom is special and rare ... If we forget what we did, we won't know who we are. I'm warning of an eradication of the American memory that could result, ultimately, in an erosion of the American spirit. Let's start with some basics: more attention to American history and a greater emphasis on civic ritual." - President Ronald Reagan, "Farewell Address"

    "The necessity of reciprocal checks in the exercise of political power, by dividing and distributing it into different depositaries, and constituting each the guardian of the public weal against invasions by the others, has been evinced by experiments ancient and modern; some of them in our country and under our own eyes. To preserve them must be as necessary as to institute them." - President George Washington, "Farewell Address"

    "Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed..."
    - the Declaration of Independence

    "But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security." - the Declaration of Independence

    "That the survival of economic freedom depends on the prevalence of the understanding that the free market not only is the best economic system, but also why it is the best, how it works, when it is its least effective, and why the fallacies invoked against it are fallacious..." - the Twelve Points

    ''Government tends to grow; government programs take on weight and momentum as public servants say, always with the best of intentions, 'What greater service we could render if only we had a little more money and a little more power.' But the truth is that outside of its legitimate function, government does nothing as well or as economically as the private sector of the economy.'' - Ronald Reagan, ''A Time For Choosing,'' 1964

    ''You and I have a rendezvous with destiny. We can preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on earth, or we can sentence them to take the first step into a thousand years of darkness. If we fail, at least let our children and our children's children say of us we justified our brief moment here. We did all that could be done.'' - Ronald Reagan, ''A Time For Choosing,'' 1964

    "No man carries further than I do the policy of making government pleasing to the people. But the widest range of this politic complaisance is confined within the limits of justice." - Edmund Burke

    "THAT the market economy, allocating resources by the free play of supply and demand, is the single economic system compatible with the requirements of personal freedom and constitutional government, and that it is at the same time the most productive supplier of human needs..." - Young Americans for Freedom: the Sharon Statement, 1960

    "All men are born free and equal, and have certain natural, essential, and unalienable rights, among which may be reckoned the right of enjoying and defending their lives and liberties, that of acquiring, possessing, and protecting property, in fine, that of seeking and obtaining their safety and happiness." - Declaration of Rights, Massachusetts Constitution

    "If, in the opinion of the people, the distribution or modification of the constitutional powers be in any particular wrong, let it be corrected by an amendment in the way which the Constitution designates. But let there be no change by usurpation; for though this, in one instance, may be the instrument of good, it is the customary weapon by which free governments are destroyed. The precedent must always greatly overbalance in permanent evil any partial or transient benefit, which the use can at any time yield." - President George Washington, "Farewell Address"

    "That when public measures are generally distasteful to the people, the wheels of government must move more heavily." - Benjamin Franklin

    "THAT the Constitution of the United States is the best arrangement yet devised for empowering government to fulfill its proper role, while restraining it from the concentration and abuse of power..." - Young Americans for Freedom: the Sharon Statement, 1960

    "That only criminals should ever be treated as such..." - the Twelve Points

    "It is substantially true that virtue or morality is a necessary spring of popular government. The rule, indeed, extends with more or less force to every species of free government. Who that is a sincere friend to it can look with indifference upon attempts to shake the foundation of the fabric?" - President George Washington, "Farewell Address"

    "Promote then, as an object of primary importance, institutions for the general diffusion of knowledge. In proportion as the structure of a government gives force to public opinion, it is essential that public opinion should be enlightened." - President George Washington, "Farewell Address"

    "That tributes to the name of Liberty are empty platitudes unless others are left free to act, and also to refuse to act, even in ways that we find unpleasant, irresponsible, or immoral without being subject to threatened or actual force..." - the Twelve Points

    "Observe good faith and justice towards all nations; cultivate peace and harmony with all. Religion and morality enjoin this conduct; and can it be, that good policy does not equally enjoin it - It will be worthy of a free, enlightened, and at no distant period, a great nation, to give to mankind the magnanimous and too novel example of a people always guided by an exalted justice and benevolence." - President George Washington, "Farewell Address"

    "All, too, will bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will to be rightful must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal law must protect, and to violate would be oppression." - President Thomas Jefferson, First Inaugural Address

    "That the Constitution must be interpreted honestly and applied faithfully; that a legitimate constitutional interpretation is the plausible product of a sincere attempt, beginning with and emphasizing the constitutional text, to determine its original meaning..." - the Twelve Points

    "In the execution of such a plan, nothing is more essential than that permanent, inveterate antipathies against particular nations, and passionate attachments for others, should be excluded; and that, in place of them, just and amicable feelings towards all should be cultivated." - President George Washington, "Farewell Address"

    "The nation which indulges towards another a habitual hatred or a habitual fondness is in some degree a slave. It is a slave to its animosity or to its affection, either of which is sufficient to lead it astray from its duty and its interest." - President George Washington, "Farewell Address"

    "That all human life is sacred, and that intrusion on the right to life is the most complete, absolute, and irreversible form of coercion conceivable, denying another human being even the modicum of freedom to be left to continue to exist; That as all humans possess a right to life, the task of defining 'personhood' must be confronted, not indefinitely deferred for its perceived difficulty..." - the Twelve Points

    "Recognize that government invasion of public power is eventually an assault upon your own business. If some of you fear taking a stand because you are afraid of reprisals from customers, clients, or even government, recognize that you are just feeding the crocodile, hoping he'll eat you last.'' - Ronald Reagan, ''A Time For Choosing,'' 1964

    "That for the futile, contrary interests of each person in the commons of the Earth, property rights substitute -- through the division and organization of those interests -- widespread opportunity to possess, instead, a meaningful right: ownership of the soil under one's own feet, on which one's house stands, and which the owner can rightfully use and enjoy as he chooses..." - the Twelve Points

    "The United States ought not to indulge a persuasion that, contrary to the order of human events, they will forever keep at a distance those painful appeals to arms with which the history of every other nation abounds. There is a rank due to the United States among nations which will be withheld, if not absolutely lost, by the reputation of weakness." - President George Washington, Fourth State of the Union Address

    "If we desire to avoid insult, we must be able to repel it; if we desire to secure peace, one of the most powerful instruments of our rising prosperity, it must be known that we are at all times ready for war." - President George Washington, Fourth State of the Union Address

    "That in an excessively regulated economy, deregulation is necessary surgery, but the success of free-market reformers' surgical separation of government and the market depends on their thorough understanding of the anatomy of the economy..." - the Twelve Points

    "But every difference of opinion is not a difference of principle. We have called by different names brethren of the same principle. We are all Republicans, we are all Federalists." - President Thomas Jefferson, First Inaugural Address

    "That unity, though not artificial uniformity, is a means as much as a goal in America's pursuit of racial reconciliation, and that the purposeful division of peers over immaterial inheritable differences is an affront to individuality and a threat to unity..." - the Twelve Points

    "The misled have abandoned their errors, and pay the respect to our Constitution and laws which is due from good citizens to the public authorities of the society. These circumstances have induced me to pardon generally the offenders here referred to, and to extend forgiveness to those who had been adjudged to capital punishment." - President George Washington

    "For though I shall always think it a sacred duty to exercise with firmness and energy the constitutional powers with which I am vested, yet it appears to me no less consistent with the public good than it is with my personal feelings to mingle in the operations of Government every degree of moderation and tenderness which the national justice, dignity, and safety may permit." - President George Washington

    "That conservation policy should be shaped by the same familiar principles and purposes that should guide all government action, based on sound science and harmonized with individual liberty, private property rights, the rule of law, and the critical needs of our economy..." - the Twelve Points

    ''Well, it isn't so much that liberals are ignorant. It's just that they know so much that isn't so." - Ronald Reagan, ''A Time For Choosing,'' 1964

    "That governments are not subject to the perfecting forces of supply and demand, and that a democratic constitution, though essential, is inadequate to wrest adequacy from government..." - the Twelve Points

    "I believe this, on the contrary, the strongest Government on earth. I believe it the only one where every man, at the call of the law, would fly to the standard of the law, and would meet invasions of the public order as his own personal concern. Sometimes it is said that man can not be trusted with the government of himself. Can he, then, be trusted with the government of others? Or have we found angels in the forms of kings to govern him? Let history answer this question." - President Thomas Jefferson, First Inaugural Address

    "Let us, then, with courage and confidence pursue our own Federal and Republican principles, our attachment to union and representative government ... entertaining a due sense of our equal right to the use of our own faculties, to the acquisitions of our own industry, to honor and confidence from our fellow-citizens, resulting not from birth, but from our actions and their sense of them..." - President Thomas Jefferson, First Inaugural Address

    "...[E]nlightened by a benign religion, professed, indeed, and practiced in various forms, yet all of them inculcating honesty, truth, temperance, gratitude, and the love of man; acknowledging and adoring an overruling Providence, which by all its dispensations proves that it delights in the happiness of man here and his greater happiness hereafter..." - President Thomas Jefferson, First Inaugural Address

    "That as there is no end to the promised benefits of government intrusion, there is no enterprise or personal sphere of freedom that is not ultimately at risk of being bled of its value or driven from existence..." - the Twelve Points

    "To seek for utopia is to end in disaster, the conservative says: we are not made for perfect things. All that we reasonably can expect is a tolerably ordered, just, and free society, in which some evils, maladjustments, and suffering will continue to lurk. By proper attention to prudent reform, we may preserve and improve this tolerable order." - Russell Kirk

    "That when it relieves families and voluntary associations of their traditional responsibilities by supplanting them in their invaluable role, a government can extinguish blessings that no government can replace..." - the Twelve Points

    "For a nation is no stronger than the numerous little communities of which it is composed. A central administration, or a corps of select managers and civil servants, however well intentioned and well trained, cannot confer justice and prosperity and tranquility upon a mass of men and women deprived of their old responsibilities." - Russell Kirk

    "[W]ith all these blessings, what more is necessary to make us a happy and a prosperous people? Still one thing more, fellow-citizens -- a wise and frugal Government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government, and this is necessary to close the circle of our felicities." - President Thomas Jefferson, First Inaugural Address

    "That prudent policymaking requires an impartial examination of the relevant facts, due consideration and a healthy skepticism of the claims of our allies and opponents alike, the rejection of ideologies and their blinding effects, and an inclination to test, examine, and prove our own conclusions and beliefs..." - the Twelve Points

    "I shall often go wrong through defect of judgment. When right, I shall often be thought wrong by those whose positions will not command a view of the whole ground. I ask your indulgence for my own errors, which will never be intentional, and your support against the errors of others, who may condemn what they would not if seen in all its parts." - President Thomas Jefferson, First Inaugural Address

    "That the formulation of policy should accommodate our inability to predict and affect the behavior of other people as well as we predict and control the behavior of things..." - the Twelve Points

    "...[I]t is proper you should understand what I deem the essential principles of our Government ... stating the general principle, but not all its limitations. Equal and exact justice to all men, of whatever state or persuasion, religious or political; peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none; the support of the State governments in all their rights, as the most competent administrations for our domestic concerns and the surest bulwarks against antirepublican tendencies..." - President Thomas Jefferson, First Inaugural Address

    "...[T]he preservation of the General Government in its whole constitutional vigor, as the sheet anchor of our peace at home and safety abroad; a jealous care of the right of election by the people -- a mild and safe corrective of abuses which are lopped by the sword of revolution where peaceable remedies are unprovided..."- President Thomas Jefferson, First Inaugural Address

    "...[A]bsolute acquiescence in the decisions of the majority, the vital principle of republics, from which is no appeal but to force, the vital principle and immediate parent of despotism; a well-disciplined militia, our best reliance in peace and for the first moments of war till regulars may relieve them; the supremacy of the civil over the military authority..." - President Thomas Jefferson, First Inaugural Address

    "...[E]conomy in the public expense, that labor may be lightly burthened; the honest payment of our debts and sacred preservation of the public faith; encouragement of agriculture, and of commerce as its handmaid; the diffusion of information and arraignment of all abuses at the bar of the public reason..." - President Thomas Jefferson, First Inaugural Address

    "...[F]reedom of religion; freedom of the press, and freedom of person under the protection of the habeas corpus, and trial by juries impartially selected. These principles form the bright constellation which has gone before us and guided our steps through an age of revolution and reformation." - President Thomas Jefferson, First Inaugural Address

    "The lesson of all this was, of course, that because we're a great nation, our challenges seem complex. It will always be this way. But as long as we remember our first principles and believe in ourselves, the future will always be ours. And something else we learned: Once you begin a great movement, there's no telling where it will end. We meant to change a nation, and instead, we changed a world." - President Ronald Reagan, "Farewell Address"

    "A society in which men and women are governed by belief in an enduring moral order, by a strong sense of right and wrong, by personal convictions about justice and honor, will be a good society -- whatever political machinery it may utilize; while a society in which men and women are morally adrift, ignorant of norms, and intent chiefly upon gratification of appetites, will be a bad society—no matter how many people vote and no matter how liberal its formal constitution may be." - Russell Kirk

    "In a connexion, the most inconsiderable man, by adding to the weight of the whole, has his value, and his use; out of it, the greatest talents are wholly unserviceable to the publick. No man, who is not inflamed by vain-glory into enthusiasm, can flatter himself that his single, unsupported, desultory, unsystematic endeavours are of power to defeat the subtle designs and united cabals of ambitious citizens. When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall, one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle." - Edmund Burke

    "In matters of religion, I have considered that its free exercise is placed by the constitution independent of the powers of the general government. I have therefore undertaken, on no occasion, to prescribe the religious exercises suited to it; but have left them, as the constitution found them, under the direction and discipline of state or church authorities acknowledged by the several religious societies." - President Thomas Jefferson, Second Inaugural Address

    "That few decisions would be less prudent or conservative than to abandon our fortunate American heritage as represented by our Constitution and the traditions of liberty..." - the Twelve Points

    "The wisdom of our sages and blood of our heroes have been devoted to their attainment. They should be the creed of our political faith, the text of civic instruction, the touchstone by which to try the services of those we trust; and should we wander from them in moments of error or of alarm, let us hasten to retrace our steps and to regain the road which alone leads to peace, liberty, and safety." - President Thomas Jefferson, First Inaugural Address

    "That we must defend America's just interests, preserving security and freedom for ourselves and our posterity; That to this end, no source of strength -- including hearty diplomacy, strategic soundness, the will and preparedness to use military force, and all other just and constitutional resources -- may be wisely neglected..." - the Twelve Points

    "[L]et them not think to exclude us from going to other markets to dispose of those commodities which they cannot use, or to supply those wants which they cannot supply. Still less let it be proposed that our properties within our own territories shall be taxed or regulated by any power on earth but our own. The God who gave us life gave us liberty at the same time; the hand of force may destroy, but cannot disjoin them." - Thomas Jefferson, "Summary View of the Rights of British America"

    "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." - the Declaration of Independence

    "That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed -- That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness." - the Declaration of Independence