Our Principles

Our desire for freedom extends to generations to come and requires Sutherland constantly to educate Utah’s elected officials, community leaders, and electorate in the principles of freedom.

Sutherland calls these principles of freedom “authentic conservatism” and has framed authentic conservatism into seven governing principles:

Personal Responsibility as the basis of self-government

A free and prosperous Utah requires personal responsibility from its people. This means that every Utahn should act with personal initiative; that every Utahn should act with honesty and integrity; that every Utahn recognize how their own life fits into the world around them; that every Utahn should make personal choices to avoid a spectrum of dependencies on their neighbors; and, that every Utahn should support public policies that give deference to people to make personal choices, give wide latitude to people to freely succeed and fail, and that assume trust in each other to do the right thing.

Family as the fundamental unit of society

A free and prosperous Utah requires strong family structures. This means that every Utahn should value and respect legal marriage; that every Utahn should value and welcome children into their home; that every Utahn should value and cherish intergenerational bonds; that every Utahn should value and view their “pursuit of happiness” through the lens of family life; that every Utahn should value and guard the freedom and responsibility of parents in the education and upbringing of their children; and, that every Utahn should support public policies that strengthen the family unit in its natural role and functions, give preference to stable family structures, and that defer governing authority to fit parents.

Religion as the moral compass of human progress

A free and prosperous Utah requires active religious influence among its people. This means that every Utahn should seek some reflection of the Divine in their purpose in life; that every Utahn should think beyond the moment and themselves to consider the broader context of their existence and their children’s future; that every Utahn should set their personal morality against the backdrop of millennia of universally-held faith-based experiences; that every Utahn should appreciate the religious heritage that gave birth to this state; and, that every Utahn should support public policies that protect religious liberty, integrate universal religious morals and values in our laws, and that publicly express our reverence for religion in our lives.

Private Property as the cornerstone of economic freedom

A free and prosperous Utah requires ownership of property. This means that every Utahn should seek to own their home; that every Utahn should respect the rights of their neighbors to establish homes of their choosing; that every Utahn should view expansive government ownership and control of property with disdain; that every Utahn should value independent planning for their lives and property; and, that every Utahn should support public policies that encourage home ownership, minimize the role of government planners in our communities, allow autonomous neighborhood identities, and protect the rights of property owners against government encroachment.

Free Markets as the engine of economic prosperity

A free and prosperous Utah requires valued production from its people. This means that every Utahn should revere industriousness; that every Utahn should invite the free exchange of goods and services; that every Utahn should expect and encourage the creation of quality products; that every Utahn should view labor and production as part of the broader community as well as individually; that every Utahn should recognize that not every possible transaction is a good one (e.g., the sale of sex or illegal drugs); and, that every Utahn should support public policies that keep our markets free from unnecessary government regulation, prevent governments from competing with the private sector, encourage private-sector solutions to community problems, create incentives to work, and protect against fraud and unfair practices.

Charity as the wellspring of a caring community

A free and prosperous Utah requires charity from its people. This means that every Utahn should first strive to become self-reliant in their personal affairs; that every Utahn should seek the welfare of their neighbors; that every Utahn as able should give generously to private charities; that every Utahn should place private initiative above government initiative; that every Utahn should seek out its poor and needy to give aid and comfort; and, that every Utahn should support public policies that create incentives for charitable giving, encourage the creation of charitable organizations, permit new opportunities for the private sector to solve community problems, and inspire community leadership to voluntarily help our neighbors in need.

Limited Government as the essence of good government

A free and prosperous Utah requires accountability from its people. This means that every Utahn should seek to expand their personal influence in their community; that every Utahn should seek to solve their own problems and work voluntarily with their neighbors to solve community problems; that every Utahn should well-understand the principles of limited, constitutional government and seek to abide them; and, that every Utahn should support public policies that limit government spending, limit the role of government programs in our lives, limit the authority we delegate to governments, and limit the physical and legal expansion of governmental presence.

Related Articles

  • Mero: Why I’m a Conservative
  • Understanding The Conservative Mind
  • Learning What It Is by Learning What It Isn’t
  • Conservatism and Religion
  • The Place of the Family
  • The Citadel of Private Property
  • Russell Kirk: Champion of the Permanent Things
  • Robert Nisbet: Sociologist, Scholar, Conservative
  • Caring for Our Neighbors in Need and Strengthening Community in Utah
  • Edmund Burke: Defending Our Inheritance

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Gateway Tower West Building
15 West South Temple, Suite 200
Salt Lake City, UT 84101
Email: si@sutherlandinstitute.org
Phone: 801-355-1272
Fax: 801-355-1705
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