After the midterm elections, Alabama has emerged as the reddest of the red states. To be clear, Alabama is not simply Republican; it is undeniably conservative. Perhaps what “conservative” reflects most consistently in Alabama voters is a desire for government to return to its role as a relatively minor focal point in their lives.

Conservative Alabamians want to learn what they can about their political representatives, cast their votes and then hope not to worry too much about what is happening in Washington until the next time they head to the polls. Unfortunately, federal government policies have made D.C. politics, in particular, much more relevant in their daily lives than they would like.

The majority of Alabamians believe that the role of government is to protect the rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Government’s job is not to manage our rights but rather defend them, allowing us to live our lives without the imminent threat of someone else infringing those God-given privileges.

Many political leftists simply cannot understand why Alabama’s confounding southern conservatives would voluntarily reject the Great Society liberals, and even some Republicans, are more than happy to create for them in exchange for political control. Modern liberalism has developed an infinite range of government programs and regulations in areas from healthcare and energy to drug policy and subjective subsidies they claim will help Americans achieve what they determine is best for them and their families.

As well-intentioned as any government-managed utopia might appear in the minds of some, it is an affront to the liberty of the many forced to fall in line with some arbitrary political vision of the common good.

Conservative Alabamians are not asking for anarchy; they simply do not want to worry about how the government is going to negatively impact them and their families. Most of them do not want to end Social Security, they enjoy the Interstate Highway System, they want a clean environment and they really support the American military. The government policies they are increasingly compelled to oppose are the ones that cause them to lose their health insurance, feel subject to government spying, pay more for their electricity bill, lose their job in a politically disfavored industry or wonder if America’s borders are actually secure in an increasingly tumultuous world.

Many liberal elites outside of conservative strongholds assume that the working-class southern conservative is a low-information voter with an inability to comprehend the superiority of “progressive” social management. The truth is these voters in Alabama have all the information they need to reject someone else’s political design for their lives.

Alabamians want a government that supports liberty and opportunity rather than assigning it. Accepting government’s useful role in their lives is completely consistent with wanting to see it restrained.

Many government programs were created to provide support for Americans when they need it most. That intention should be protected, but those programs must always be our nation’s insurance rather than our ambition. Who, other than those seeking to control society, really sees anyone’s best interest as dependency on government management and provision?

Most progressive liberals are well meaning in their efforts to organize Americans, but many are far too willing to subject the judgment of free people to their own good intentions.

Alabama may be the reddest of the red states, but Republicans should not be mistaken in thinking that Alabamians want a GOP brand of government regulation or programming. State politicians have the unenviable task of developing better policies in an environment where any significant exercise of government power is viewed with a skepticism that transcends party lines.

At the end of the day, the real reason for all that red on the political map is that the state is filled with plenty of confounding southern conservatives simply looking for a government matters less in their daily lives and frees up their own pursuit of happiness.

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