Conservative ideal

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Introduction

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This page is about

  • the conservative ideal: what's good about conservatism, what it should be under ideal circumstances – in other words, the ideal towards which all who support conservatism should be working.
  • traps and pitfalls into which it is easy for those who follow conservatism to fall, thinking that they are promoting conservatism but which are not part of the conservative ideal
  • things which conservatism should not be, but is often misperceived to be or misrepresented as being.

This page is not about

  • off-hand dismissal of conservatism for any reason, including:
    as a cover for some hidden agenda
    Hidden agendas relate to the following of some other ideal or personal goal; to the extent that anyone can believably pursue such agendas in the name of conservatism, that is a misrepresentation on their part and possibly a pitfall on the part of the believer.
    for its historical faults
    Faults should be studied, and the results used to improve the philosophy rather than discarding it as useless.

what it is

  • preserving resources, especially personal resources, rather than spending them impulsively; living frugally and non-wastefully
  • suspicion of change, for the reason that ill-considered changes often have a hidden price
  • respect for the role of discipline and self-restraint over impulsiveness and personal (especially sensual) gratification
  • belief in the vital importance of maintaining civilization

what it might be

  • a particular set of rules for assigning loyalty in-group membership:
    • family, including extended family, but only as determined by social convention (i.e. marriage and "legitimate" descent)
    • those who demonstrate loyalty to the in-group (this can lead to one of the traps, however)

what it is not

diametrically opposed to the liberal ideal
the two ideals have significant areas of overlap, and even larger areas where they are merely competing for attention rather than being in conflict
inherently racist
conservatives who behave in overtly racist ways are over-applying the principles of:
inherently homophobic
the same principles which can lead to racism when mis-applied can also lead to homophobia.
accurately represented by any political party under any system of government yet created
political parties do not represent ideals

traps and pitfalls

  • In-group loyalty can lead to problems if the in-group becomes corrupt
  • Automatic respect for authority can lead to problems if the authority is not earned