It should be understood that conservatism, despite the name, does not conserve anything except the power of an established hierarchy; see nymography. It is more or less a policy of lying (to the public and to each other) in support of the agendas of the powerful.
A well-known quote by a little-known commentator seems to best encapsulate the unspoken goal of conservatism:
Conservatism consists of exactly one proposition, to wit: There must be in-groups whom the law protects but does not bind, alongside out-groups whom the law binds but does not protect.
This is consistent with the observation that conservatists seem to operate from a position of "We tell you what to do; you don't tell us what to do". Conservatism operates not from a position of treating people equally and fairly, but the exact opposite.
Conservatism seems to arise from these basic values, which are rarely stated or acknowledged:
- 1. It's more important to feel secure than to have an accurate understanding of reality. "What you don't know can't hurt you." "If it ain't broke (for me), don't fix it."
- 2. It's basically impossible to evaluate policy on its own merit, so it's best to vote for the candidate you can relate to best.
- 3. Winning is more important than truth. (That's kind of a corollary of 2 and, to some degree, 1.)
From these basics emerge patterns such as the willingness to support someone who's obviously lying or being hypocritical -- conservative voters don't care about details like accuracy; they just care that he's their liar/hypocrite, someone they find relatable.
People who position themselves as conservatist leaders may not actually believe the positions they espouse. The point of advocating a position, in the conservatist social realm, is to unify and engage people to support the leader's quest for power and victory.
The existence of large quantities of people of this general mindset represents an ongoing threat to free society. Their desire for simplicity, security, and victory can be weaponized by the powerful to overwhelm more thoughtful voices in any democratic system.
- positions taken by conservatism
- nymography: the terminological landscape
- US: conservatist identity in the United States
- asymmetry: the rules do not apply equally
- The conservative ideal encompasses what is best about conservatism, and ways in which the idea of conservatism is misrepresented or misused.
- Conservatives tend to be on the political right wing.
[ Rudyard Kipling ] was a conservative in the sense that he believed civilization to be something laboriously achieved which was only precariously defended. He wanted to see the defences fully manned and he hated the liberals because he thought them gullible and feeble, believing in the easy perfectibility of man and ready to abandon the work of centuries for sentimental qualms.
dKosopediano equivalent article (as of 2008-03-27); see search
- RationalWiki redirects to Conservative, which contains a good run-down of what "conservative" means in a number of different countries.
- Christian Voice (UK)