Tenets of Proactive Conservatism

Proactive Conservatism strives to build family capacity so that government can be reduced.  For over 100 years, the modern world has tried to build government institutions to solve problems while largely ignoring the family as a valuable resource capable of solving its own problems. This has unnecessarily caused the growth of government budgets.

While progress has been made in reducing poverty worldwide, the next step in improving the lot of humanity requires empowering family units so government growth can be halted.   Increasing the role of government has reached a point of diminishing returns.  Any increase in government power will begin to destroy the liberty of the people.


1. American Exceptionalism

The United States Constitution and the American system of limited government has blessed all of mankind.  Since the ratification of the Constitution in 1789, humanity has made astonishing technological progress from travel by horse to travel by airplane and similar breakthroughs in power generation, food production, and communication.  In 1800, eighty-five percent of humanity lived in abject poverty.  Now, only nine percent of humanity lives abject poverty.  The example of America, its reliance upon the market system of economics, and limited government has been the engine making this improvement possible.

2. Greatest Threat

The greatest threat to man’s continued progress, prosperity, and freedom is the migration of power and responsibility from the family unit to government institutions.  This migration is fueled by arrogance which leads to elitism.

3. Elitism

Elitism is the belief of “the enlightened” are more capable and deserving to make decisions than the people.

4. Elitists - How to Identify

Elitists consistently do one thing:  when faced with a problem, their first impulse is to trust government action more than individual freedom. This tendency, invariably, justifies limiting and controlling the choices of the masses. Limiting choices results in loss of freedom.  Arrogance and loss of freedom go hand in hand.

5. Freedom

Continued freedom, peace, and prosperity requires the formation of more self-funded family units; it does not depend upon the continued growth of government institutions particularly in the areas of poverty reduction, health care, and education. (The three largest governments budget categories.)

6. Limitation of Government Mandate

Increasing the capacity of family units cannot be done by government mandate.  It is an individual choice.  However, incentives can be created to encourage the development of self-funded families.

7. Consequence of More Self-Funded Families

As the number of self-funded families increases, government spending on health care, anti-poverty programs, and education will stabilize and possibly decrease while outcomes improve.

8. Danger of Liberalism / Progressivism

Liberalistic/socialistic ideas are a threat to humanity’s continued liberty, prosperity, and peace because:

a. The tendency of most liberal politicians is to grow the state to solve problems.

b. Most liberal politicians think that societal perfection is most likely achieved by empowering government.

c. Liberal politicians almost never seek the empowerment of the family unit as a solution to poverty, health, or education issues.

d. Liberal politicians, while generally well-intended, adopt polices that weaken the family unit.   The long-term affects of declining family influence are catastrophic.

9. Traditional Conservatism

While generally correct when applied to economics and structure of government, traditional conservative philosophy has been largely ineffective in reducing the size of government.

a. Conservatism is currently defined by what it opposes; not by what it supports.

b. Conservatism reacts to liberalism and was created to oppose liberalism.

c. Conservatism fights against the growth of government; it does not fight for the empowerment of the family.

d. Conservatives often believe that society is improved by reducing the size of government with no other action being required.

10. Proactive Conservatism 

takes conservative goals and ideals and applies them in a way that increases the number of functional, self-funded families.

11. Work with Government 

Because current government policies, in many cases, damage the family, it is incumbent that the people work with government agencies and legislators to alter current program to become family-friendly.  The simple elimination of programs is not enough.

12. Building Capacity of Family Units

Government cannot be reduced in size and influence without first building the capacity of family units.

If this is true; it changes everything.

a. Families must increase in power so that government can be reduced

b. Government cannot be reduced as the first step.  (This is the fundamental flaw of traditional conservatism.  Conservatives seek to reduce government before building the capacity of the people.)

c. If all families were self-funded, poverty programs and government health care costs could be virtually eliminated, and education costs greatly reduced.

13. Government Growth

Government grows by assuming responsibility.  For example, the voters recently asked the state of Idaho to provide health care to 80,000 individuals.  Requiring another $400 million in added government spending.

14. Government Reduction

Government can only be reduced as willing families, voluntarily assume responsibility now exercised by government.

15. Transfer Process

The process to transfer power from government back to families makes the most sense in three areas: education, health care, and poverty/social programs.

16. The Four-Step Process

The process of transferring power back to families occurs in a four-step process.

a. Set up a government structure where families can choose to become more responsible.  (Structure)

b. Let families self-identify who want more responsibility.  (Voluntary self-identification)

c. Set up measurable and achievable goals.  (Accountability) 

d. If a family meets the goals, let them have access to a portion of the funding associated with legacy programs.  (Resource transfer back to families)    The result will be the reduction of government influence and the building of family capacity.

17. Limit Resource Transfer

Access to legacy funding cannot be used for consumption.  It must be used to build capacity such as: education and skill development that gives individuals the skills they need to become productive citizens; thus teaching them how not to not need government health care or poverty programs.

Can this REALLY work?

Obviously, one wonders if this is possible.  The answer is YES.  It is being done on a limited basis and could be applied more generally.  One example will suffice.  The Idaho Advanced Opportunities Program that has employed the four essential elements of family building.

First, the state of Idaho created a structure where each student has access to $4,125 to customize their personal education.  In the 2018-2019 school year, over 37,000 student grades 7 through 12 participated with 57 percent of high school seniors participating.  

Second, the program can be accessed by all students; however, they must self-identify.  There is no requirement for students to participate.  The program can be used for dual credit college classes while in high school, A.P. tests, gaining industry certificates, and other purposes.

Third, accountability; students must pass each class they take, or they must pay for the next class using their own money before they can access more state funding.

Fourth, each student that wants to participate has access to state funding for the purpose of reducing the future cost of college or gaining vocational skills.

Is the Advanced Opportunities Program reducing government expenditures?  It is too early to categorically state, yes; however, Idaho spends less than any other state while achieving good outcomes.  Generally, Idaho students rank in the top 10 by most achievement standards.  There is still much to do.  The current Advanced Opportunities budget is about $21 million dollars.  When it reaches the $35 to $50 million mark, Idaho should have the number one education system in the nation.  

Senator Thayn wrote The Missing Element to explain how to implement the Tenants of ProActive Conservatism and to show how it is already being done in the State of Idaho.  Get your copy today to learn more about building family capacity and the reduction of government. 

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