Conservative innovation. That's two words you don't hear together very often.
For us, 'conservative' has to do with the group. We're about the team, not the players. We are, though, about the relationship of the players to the team. That has to do with hierarchy, obligation, societal roles and traditions--how they endure, and how they change. For us, the notion of conservative means securing the safety, order, cohesion and prosperity of the group, including conformity with accepted social behaviors. We are about civic responsibility, respect and propriety.
Conservatism is often viewed as the opposite of liberalism. We tend to view them as complements. People are fundamentally social, and the success and happiness of the individual is heavily dependent on one's ability to work and live in a social setting. If liberalism is about strengthening the individual, conservatism is about strengthening the bonds which tie people together and allow the group as a whole to flourish. As liberalism is to freedom, so conservatism is to belonging.
We see conservatism as the technology of social interaction, which we feel is under-developed. This comparative neglect provides the opportunity for innovation.
One strand of conservatism deals principally with exclusion. Thus, the Wall at the US southwest border and current deportation efforts are chiefly concerned with preventing non-approved persons -- in this case, Central American and Mexican migrants -- from entering or remaining in the United States. As it has for the last half century, we believe the effort will founder -- for the same reason it always has -- because employers need low wage, unskilled labor as much as migrants need jobs. The black market in labor will always re-assert itself because the economic incentives are formidable and enduring. That's the constrained reality.
We consequently see the challenge as creating processes and institutions which meet the concerns of incumbent members of the group and increase the ability of new members to conform to group standards. Thus, for American conservatives, we are looking for solutions which increase safety, create order, foster conformity and create prosperity. For new entrants, we seek solutions which increase their social standing, their ability to provide for and invest in themselves, and insure they contribute to the group consistent with expectations for social behavior.
Our market-based approach to illegal immigration achieves these goals. Such a program does not exclude new entrants, but creates processes and institutions which maximize public safety, create order, and help insure migrants both pay for themselves and contribute to the common purse. For migrants, such a project provides dignity, safety, freedom and an ability to invest in themselves for the future -- all steps furthering their conformity with social expectations in a conservative age.