Difference between revisions of "Political conservatism"

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==Viewpoint==
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[[page type::article]]
''[[User:Woozle|Woozle]] notes: I have found it difficult to locate good sources on the Conservative philosophy, in part because it has become heavily politicized and in part because the usage of the term seems to be changing. I'll add bits as I find them, but others should feel free to contribute.''
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[[thing type::similarity cluster]]
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[[category:political philosophies]]
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[[category:isms]]
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==About==
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[[Political conservatism]] (typically shortened to just "conservatism"/"conservative") is a [[political identity]] which hews to a loose collection ([[similarity cluster]]) of beliefs, generally consisting of some combination of the following attributes:
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* a set of [[belief]]s about society:
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** society must be preserved in its present form (it ''must'' not change)
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** society ''cannot'' be changed for the better
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*** This sometimes includes a [[reactionary]] belief that society should move ''backwards'', adhering more faithfully to traditional ways that have become neglected. To a reactionary, the ideal society would follow traditional forms to the letter.
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*** This is often phrased as "the human condition is eternal" or "human beings cannot be perfected" (cf Kipling)
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* a strong [[right wing]]/[[authoritarian]] tendency; valuing social hierarchy over [[egalitarianism]]
  
At its base, conservatism is the of preventing change in society; it often includes a certain reactionary element that wishes to revert society to an earlier (supposedly happer) time, but this is not the main thrust of conservatism.
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The word "conservatism" (in its various forms) is often used as a more palatable stand-in for beliefs which are actually [[social stagnationism]] or even [[social regressivism]].
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===Related===
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* The [[conservative ideal]] encompasses what is best about conservatism, and ways in which the idea of conservatism is misrepresented or misused.
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* Conservatives tend to be on the political [[right wing]].
  
Conservatism encompasses a wide variety of possible viewpoints, with different aspects being emphasized in different countries.
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Conservatism encompasses a wide variety of possible viewpoints, with different aspects being emphasized in different countries:
==Conservatism in America==
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* [[US conservatism]]
''see also: [[Wikipedia:Conservatism in North America]]''
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* {{rationalwiki|conservative}} has a good run-down of what "conservative" means in a number of different countries.
  
The Heritage Foundation, an American conservative think-tank, states a belief "in individual liberty, free enterprise, limited government, a strong national defense, and traditional American values. We want an America that is safe and secure; where choices (in education, health care and retirement) abound; where taxes are fair, flat, and comprehensible; where everybody has the opportunity to go as far as their talents will take them; where government concentrates on its core functions, recognizes its limits and shows favor to none. ... we believe the values and ideas that motivated our Founding Fathers are worth conserving." This would seem to be a reasonable definition of the best attributes of American conservatism.
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===At Its Best===
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* Conservatism advises saving, rather than spending. Conservatism would be the voice that waits until there is an adequate positive balance in the till before buying new infrastructure or investing in new enterprises &ndash; rather than going into debt to do so.
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* Conservatism advises looking carefully at new things before spreading them widely &ndash; and is always ready to take a second look if an accepted idea seems to have had unintended consequences.
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* Conservatism advises careful management of resources for the long haul, rather than sacrificing them for short-term gain. (This differs greatly from [[American republicanism]], which tends to see the short-term corporate bottom line as the number one priority.)
  
A cornerstone of American Conservative philosophy is '''personal responsibility''' &ndash; the idea that each individual is solely responsible for his/her own well-being; government exists solely to ensure that the rules are enforced, which includes protection from hostile external forces.
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===At Its Worst===
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* Conservatism is the philosophy which allows social problems to escalate to the point of crisis rather than spend money solving them &ndash; and then, when the small problem is a large problem for which there is no other solution but to spend money, waits for [[American liberalism|liberals]] to demand that money be spent so that they can later heap scorn on said liberals and associate them with the disaster they helped solve and did not create.
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* When misfortune strikes, conservatism is the philosophy which will be the first to say "[[tough luck]]" and blame the victims.
  
Conervatives seem to be against "big government" in certain circumstances -- see http://www.opinionjournal.com/columnists/pnoonan/?id=110007328
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===Social Conservatism===
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Social conservatives believe that there is "wisdom embedded in [existing] social structures/norms", and that we tamper with those structures at our peril. In other words, the current social norms are the way they are because they have been proven to work over a long period of time, and there is considerable danger if they cease to work properly.
  
==Politics==
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The implication of this is that we don't know how those norms got the way they are, nor why they work. This is at odds with the idea that we as a civilization have been documenting our own history in considerable detail for many centuries now, and are indeed quite capable of noting which experiments have succeeded, which failed, and which were made popular or unpopular without correlation to (and for reasons other than) their success or failure at their intended purpose. The social conservative attitude essentially favors custom over understanding, shuns experimentation, and fears the possible consequences.
Conservatives in the United States are generally aligned with the [[United States Republican Party|Republican Party]] and sometimes with the [[United States Libertarian Party|Libertarian Party]].
 
  
==Related Articles==
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Social conservatives are at odds with social [[liberal]]s on certain issues:
*[[United States Republican Party]]
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* [[marriage]] (liberals want to broaden it, conservatives [[war on marriage|don't]])
==Reference==
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* [[death penalty]] (conservatives for, liberals against)
*[[wikipedia:Conservatism]]
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* [[gun control]] (conservatives against, liberals for)
 
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===Fiscal Conservatism===
==Conservative and Fundamentalist Groups==
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Fiscal conservatives are more concerned about unnecessary government expenditure, and tend to prefer solutions where private industry or "faith-based" groups provide the bulk of the funding. For this reason, they tend to seek solutions based in [[free market]] incentives. They also tend to be against government regulation, however, which they unfortunately often seem to forget is a [[free markets require regulation|requirement]] for a free marketplace.
*'''Conservative'''
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==Quotes==
**[http://www.heritage.org/ The Heritage Foundation] (US)
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{{quotation|[[Evelyn Waugh]] {{needcite}}|[ [[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 [[liberal]]s 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.}}
**[http://www.johnlocke.org/ John Locke Foundation] (US - North Carolina)
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==Links==
***Interestingly, the writings of [[wikipedia:John Locke|John Locke]] himself "had an enormous influence on the development of liberalism", according to [[wikipedia:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Contributions_to_liberal_theory#From_Locke_to_Mill|Wikipedia]], notably the idea of "religious toleration"
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===Reference===
*'''Conservative Christian'''
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* {{wikipedia}}
**[http://www.bju.edu/ Bob Jones University] (Greenville, SC)
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* {{conservapedia}}
**[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_Voice Christian Voice] (UK)
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* <s>{{dkosopedia}}</s>[[category:!dkosopedia]] no equivalent article (as of 2008-03-27); see [[dkosopedia:Special:Search/Conservatism|search]]
**[http://www.liberty.edu/ Liberty University] (Lynchburg, VA) - e.g. [http://www.liberty.edu/studentaffairs/index.cfm?PID=7764 Dress Code for Women]
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* {{sourcewatch}}
*'''Parody Sites'''
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* {{rationalwiki}} (redirects to {{l/rw|Conservative}})
**[http://www.landoverbaptist.org/ Landover Baptist Church] "Where the Worthwhile Worship"
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===Groups/Projects===
**[http://www.bettybowers.com/ Betty Bowers] "American's Best Christian"
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* [[Americonservatism/organizations]]
 
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** non-US:
==Well-Known Conservative Proponents==
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*** '''Conservative Christian''':
*[[wikipedia:Ann Coulter|Coulter, Ann]]
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**** [[wikipedia:Christian Voice (UK)|Christian Voice]] (UK)
*[[wikipedia:William F. Buckley, Jr.|Buckley, William F. Jr.]] "the godfather of modern American conservatism"
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{{links/smw}}
*[[Rush Limbaugh|Limbaugh, Rush]]
 
*[[wikipedia:George Will|Will, George F.]]
 
==Related Links==
 
*[http://www.conservativethinking.com/ Conservative Thinking]
 
==Blogs==
 
*[http://www.rightrainbow.com/ Right Side of the Rainbow]: "News and commentary on law and politics by a right- of-center, gun-owning, gay Texan"
 
*[http://sayanythingblog.com/ Say Anything Blog]: not explicitly conservative, but seems to lean that way
 
*[http://www.cathyseipp.net/ Cathy's World]: Cathy Seipp is a columnist for National Review Online and the Independent Women's Forum
 
 
 
==Publications==
 
*[http://www.nationalreview.com/ National Review]
 
 
 
==Comments==
 
* '''2005-09-27''' J.E.R. Staddon writes: "...there are acres written on conservatism, but one of the best definitions I've seen is that it is a disbelief in utopia, i.e., a disbelief in the "progressive" idea that human beings, and human society, are infinitely perfectible.  The problem with belief in utopia is that if you believe it is possible, then you are obliged to take active steps tio bring it about, which usually leads to the death and misery of large numbers of human beings (see Stalin, Mao, the Islamists, etc.)."
 

Latest revision as of 16:43, 28 September 2020

About

Political conservatism (typically shortened to just "conservatism"/"conservative") is a political identity which hews to a loose collection (similarity cluster) of beliefs, generally consisting of some combination of the following attributes:

  • a set of beliefs about society:
    • society must be preserved in its present form (it must not change)
    • society cannot be changed for the better
      • This sometimes includes a reactionary belief that society should move backwards, adhering more faithfully to traditional ways that have become neglected. To a reactionary, the ideal society would follow traditional forms to the letter.
      • This is often phrased as "the human condition is eternal" or "human beings cannot be perfected" (cf Kipling)
  • a strong right wing/authoritarian tendency; valuing social hierarchy over egalitarianism

The word "conservatism" (in its various forms) is often used as a more palatable stand-in for beliefs which are actually social stagnationism or even social regressivism.

Related

  • 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.

Conservatism encompasses a wide variety of possible viewpoints, with different aspects being emphasized in different countries:

At Its Best

  • Conservatism advises saving, rather than spending. Conservatism would be the voice that waits until there is an adequate positive balance in the till before buying new infrastructure or investing in new enterprises – rather than going into debt to do so.
  • Conservatism advises looking carefully at new things before spreading them widely – and is always ready to take a second look if an accepted idea seems to have had unintended consequences.
  • Conservatism advises careful management of resources for the long haul, rather than sacrificing them for short-term gain. (This differs greatly from American republicanism, which tends to see the short-term corporate bottom line as the number one priority.)

At Its Worst

  • Conservatism is the philosophy which allows social problems to escalate to the point of crisis rather than spend money solving them – and then, when the small problem is a large problem for which there is no other solution but to spend money, waits for liberals to demand that money be spent so that they can later heap scorn on said liberals and associate them with the disaster they helped solve and did not create.
  • When misfortune strikes, conservatism is the philosophy which will be the first to say "tough luck" and blame the victims.

Social Conservatism

Social conservatives believe that there is "wisdom embedded in [existing] social structures/norms", and that we tamper with those structures at our peril. In other words, the current social norms are the way they are because they have been proven to work over a long period of time, and there is considerable danger if they cease to work properly.

The implication of this is that we don't know how those norms got the way they are, nor why they work. This is at odds with the idea that we as a civilization have been documenting our own history in considerable detail for many centuries now, and are indeed quite capable of noting which experiments have succeeded, which failed, and which were made popular or unpopular without correlation to (and for reasons other than) their success or failure at their intended purpose. The social conservative attitude essentially favors custom over understanding, shuns experimentation, and fears the possible consequences.

Social conservatives are at odds with social liberals on certain issues:

Fiscal Conservatism

Fiscal conservatives are more concerned about unnecessary government expenditure, and tend to prefer solutions where private industry or "faith-based" groups provide the bulk of the funding. For this reason, they tend to seek solutions based in free market incentives. They also tend to be against government regulation, however, which they unfortunately often seem to forget is a requirement for a free marketplace.

Quotes

[ 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.

Evelyn Waugh [?]

Links

Reference

Groups/Projects

Related