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nymography of "conservatism"


Applying the root "conservative" to the political ideas actually represented by conservatism is a form of positive misrepresentation – an attempt to present the toxic and destructive ideas it espouses as being rooted in the positive goals of caution, care, conserving.

The first two definitions of "conservative" at are applicable to public policy positions:

  1. disposed to preserve existing conditions, institutions, etc., or to restore traditional ones, and to limit change.
  2. cautiously moderate or purposefully low: a conservative estimate.

When speaking of public policy, one would assume that these ideas translate into something like we should be cautious with our resources, spend them carefully and only when we are pretty sure we will gain more than we lose; we should be cautious about making dramatic changes to society, because society is complicated and we really can't be sure what the effects might be; ...and so on.

Conservatism as such, however, basically tosses most of that out the window – drill, baby, drill!; build walls and heighten border security rather than welcoming immigrants and helping them integrate into the economy; disrespect established science and ignore scientific consensus if it means lower short-term profits; throw anyone we don't like in jail, wasting their lives and the public funds needed to support them; make jails larger, make wars larger, slash public education, slash social spending – while still pretending to represent it.



In order to avoid confusion with words legitimately rooted from "to conserve", Issuepedia uses words derived from "conservatism" rather than "conserve" when talking about the former. Someone who identifies as conservative is a conservatist, and political viewpoints espoused by conservatists are conservatistic.

Correct examples:

  • adjective: "Being against gay marriage is a socially conservatistic position."
  • identity: "Many conservatists claim to value freedom above all else, but never seem to care when someone else wants it."

When possible, more precise terms such as regressive or stagnatory should be used instead of or in addition to "conservatis[m|ist]".


The word "conservative" is often misused as both an adjective and an identity.

Misleading/inaccurate examples:

  • adjective: "Being against gay marriage is a socially conservative position."
  • identity: "As a conservative, I have nothing against gays; I just don't want them teaching their lifestyle to our children."