Open source conservative

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An open source conservative embraces the best of the public and openness, while rejecting traditional controls on discourse. An open source conservative rejects the traditional priority given to the mainstream media and its liberal tricks and smear tactics, and instead relies on greater light to overpower darkness. An open source conservative encourages widespread distribution of information. An open source conservative supports more speech, rather than more controls as pushed by today's liberals.

An open source conservative focuses more on the generation of new insights and good ideas rather than always playing defense against harmful movements. An open source conservative welcomes advantages brought by technology such as Conservapedia as a source of learning, rather than remaining confined to books.

An open source conservative favors more disclosures (e.g. ultrasounds for pregnant women) to address liberal deceit, while a closed source conservative favors approaches such as campaign finance "reform" to limit speech during political campaigns.

Open Source Conservative Closed Source Conservative
Rand Paul[1] George W. Bush[2]
Sharron Angle John McCain[3]
Judges who welcome amicus briefs Judges who raise obstacles to amicus briefs
Tea Party Movement Entrenched Republican Party officials
Judges who take a broader view of standing in litigation Judges who take a narrow view of standing in litigation
Michelle Malkin William F. Buckley

A talk by an open source conservative includes robust question-and-answer exchanges with the audience. Indeed, an open source conservative seeks to learn from the audience as much as informing it. An open source conservative has optimism about a greater role for populism in the political process.

An open source conservative is more openminded than a traditional conservative when it comes to examining new ideas, placing priority on the idea rather than the source. For example, an open source conservative is more likely to be open to the idea that teenagers are capable of great insight and achievements, and thus to seriously examine their ideas, whereas a more traditional conservative might overlook the value of the idea because of the youth of the speaker.

An open source conservative views the world as Isaac Newton did: many conservative insights are yet to be discovered. Indeed, in many cases, the language to describe these insights does not yet exist; hence, open source conservatives serve as a driving force behind the development of the language and the emergence of powerful new conservative words. (See Best New Conservative Words for an examination of this principle.) A more traditional conservative emphasizes the past more than the future.

The censorability of an open source conservative (such as a Tea Partier) is lower than the censorability of a traditional conservative (such as a Reagan Republican). An open source conservative is more opposed to the censorship of ideas by liberals or even by other conservatives.

Advantages of Open Source Conservatism

There are several advantages to an "open source" approach with respect to the conservative movement:

  • It anticipates and frustrates efforts by the liberal media to demonize, censor and smear conservatives. It is impossible to exclude the public from the public square.
  • It is decentralized just as conservative values are.
  • It provides a voice to the average citizen in a manner that traditional, centralized methods do not; open-source conservatism means that anyone is free to contribute, and the best contributions will naturally rise to the top, creating a free-market meritocracy of ideas. (See Best of the Public).
  • Open source conservatism facilitates learning and improvement better than other approaches.

(Credibility-enhancing actions include: Showing you care about the other person and have their best interests at heart.) [1]

Disadvantages of Closed Source Conservatism

In order to understand the disadvantages of closed-source conservatism, it is important to understand the history of conservatism—a history of decentralized, citizen-driven initiatives. The Boston Tea Party wasn't planned by a massive national bureaucracy; it was a spontaneous response to the failure of political negotiation. Conservatism, historically, has served as a counterbalance against entrenched interests and power structures. A closed source conservative tacitly accepts the liberal power structure by, for example, subscribing to the liberal New York Times; in contrast, an open source conservative spends that time on the best of the public.

However, in recent decades, this has changed. The New Deal was such a massive expansion of centralized government that, even as conservatives struggled to resist it, they themselves were affected by it. Conservatism became more centralized, more reliant on entrenched power, and more bureaucratic. In short, the traditional conservatism of the Founding Fathers was replaced with closed-source conservatism.

Closed-source conservatism relies heavily on the idea of a top-down, entrenched power structure, in which elite expert gatekeepers are responsible for decisions. In this sense, it is more akin to liberalism than to traditional conservatism...and, in many cases, closed-source conservatives will sound more like liberals than true conservatives. Thus, when Rush Limbaugh raises powerful points against liberalism, liberals will of course howl in outrage. When Rush Limbaugh criticizes the failings of a closed-source conservative like Michael Steele, other closed-source conservatives howl with similar outrage, because Limbaugh is challenging the entrenched hierarchy. Thus, the closed-source conservatives dismiss him as "just an entertainer"—as if an entertainer could not have powerful and enduring insights—and insist that he "does not speak for conservatives"—as if they had the authority to declare who does and does not speak for conservatives.

In so doing, closed-source conservatives frequently (albeit unwittingly) do the work of liberals for them, and undermine the cause of conservatism.

(Language that reduces credibility includes: Totally and absolutely excessive exaggeration.) Ibidem

Examples of Open Source Conservatives

  • Conservapedia embraces the "open source" approach for expanding and understanding conservative principles.
  • The Tea Party movement rejects the idea that a political movement needs to be governed by a handful of political elites; it is a movement driven by the Best of the Public which uses the Internet and other modern communication methods to organize and coordinate activities, rather than traditional top-down marching orders.
  • Sarah Palin has made herself a relevant and influential voice for conservatism while eschewing the traditional gatekeepers. She has made it clear that she has little use for the liberal mainstream media, and has demonstrated that their approval is not needed through her savvy use of online communication.


  1. Speaks freely and welcomes the best of the public
  2. Heavy reliance on cronyism rather than the best of the public
  3. Sponsored campaign finance limitations