As a former congressional staffer who has seen what happens to new movements when they come to Washington with little more than energy and talking points, I think it’s important for national conservatives to think carefully and concretely about policy. But more important than policy, especially in this moment, is understanding where policy comes from.
Conservatism is not a set of legislative goals like lowering taxes, school choice, or even border security. It’s a set of principles or goods – what Russell Kirk called “the permanent things,” like family, opportunity, order, faith, and freedom.

Conservatives enter the political arena with our eyes wide open, fully aware that these goods are often in tension with one another. That’s why different times and circumstances call for different prioritization of these goods.

Conservatism, properly understood, then, is always young, always evolving, its unchanging principles always supple enough to be reapplied to each new era and challenge. But people with eyes wide open must be able to see new challenges when they arise.

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