Difference between revisions of "Political conservatism"

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[[Category:political philosophies]]{{seedling}}
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==Viewpoint==
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[[page type::article]]
Classic '''conservatism''' is a political philosophy whose central theme is the prevention of change in society. It often includes a certain reactionary element that wishes to revert society to an earlier (supposedly happer) time, or a set of societal norms that existed during that time, but this is not the main thrust of conservatism around the world.
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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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</hide>
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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]]
  
Conservatism encompasses a wide variety of possible viewpoints, with different aspects being emphasized in different countries.
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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 in America==
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Conservatism encompasses a wide variety of possible viewpoints, with different aspects being emphasized in different countries:
''see also: [[Wikipedia:Conservatism in North America]]''
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* [[US conservatism]]
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* {{rationalwiki|conservative}} has a good run-down of what "conservative" means in a number of different countries.
  
The [[wikipedia:Heritage Foundation|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.
  
American Conservatives seem to be generally against "big government": "The government big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take away everything you have." -- attributed to [[Gerald Ford]] [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.
  
During the presidential administration of [[George W. Bush]], the use of the term "Neocons" has re-emerged to describe a certain offshoot of conservatism whose adherents are openly conservative but in practice somewhat at odds with some of conservatism's basic tenets; see [[Bush Neoconservative]].
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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.
  
==Politics==
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Social conservatives are at odds with social [[liberal]]s on certain issues:
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]].
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* [[marriage]] (liberals want to broaden it, conservatives [[war on marriage|don't]])
 
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* [[death penalty]] (conservatives for, liberals against)
==Related Articles==
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* [[gun control]] (conservatives against, liberals for)
*[[United States Republican Party]]
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===Fiscal Conservatism===
==Reference==
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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.
*[[wikipedia:Conservatism]]
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==Quotes==
 
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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.}}
==Conservative and Fundamentalist Groups==
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==Links==
*'''Conservative'''
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===Reference===
** [http://www.heritage.org/ The Heritage Foundation] (US)
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* {{wikipedia}}
** [http://www.johnlocke.org/ John Locke Foundation] (US - North Carolina)
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* {{conservapedia}}
*** Interestingly, the writings of [[wikipedia:John Locke|John Locke]] himself "had an enormous influence on the development of liberalism", notably the idea of "religious toleration", according to [[wikipedia:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Contributions_to_liberal_theory#From_Locke_to_Mill|Wikipedia]]
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* <s>{{dkosopedia}}</s>[[category:!dkosopedia]] no equivalent article (as of 2008-03-27); see [[dkosopedia:Special:Search/Conservatism|search]]
** [http://patriotpost.us/ Patriot Post] (US): "The Conservative Journal of Record"
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* {{sourcewatch}}
** [http://www.amconmag.com/ American Conservative]: skeptical Conservatism
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* {{rationalwiki}} (redirects to {{l/rw|Conservative}})
*'''Conservative Christian'''
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===Groups/Projects===
** [http://www.bju.edu/ Bob Jones University] (Greenville, SC)
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* [[Americonservatism/organizations]]
** [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_Voice Christian Voice] (UK)
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** non-US:
** [http://www.cofcc.org/ Council of Conservative Citizens] ({{wikipedia|Council of Conservative Citizens}})
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*** '''Conservative Christian''':
** [[Liberty University]]  - e.g. [http://www.liberty.edu/studentaffairs/index.cfm?PID=7764 Dress Code for Women]
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**** [[wikipedia:Christian Voice (UK)|Christian Voice]] (UK)
** [[wikipedia:American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property|American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property]]
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{{links/smw}}
*'''Parody Sites'''
 
** [http://www.landoverbaptist.org/ Landover Baptist Church] "Where the Worthwhile Worship"
 
** [http://www.bettybowers.com/ Betty Bowers] "America's Best Christian"
 
 
 
==Well-Known Conservative Proponents==
 
* [[Wikipedia:William F. Buckley, Jr.|Buckley, William F. Jr.]] "the godfather of modern American conservatism"
 
* [[Wikipedia:Ann Coulter|Coulter, Ann]] [http://www.philly.com/mld/inquirer/entertainment/books/16363555.htm]
 
* [[Barry Goldwater|Goldwater, Barry]]: would be considered a moderate today
 
* [[David Horowitz|Horowitz, David]]: neocon writer, activist and commentator
 
* [[Dinesh D'Souza|D'Souza, Dinesh]]: argues "that conservatives here and traditional moderate Muslims are up against the same far-left enemy."
 
* [[Wikipedia:Russell Kirk|Kirk, Russell]]: "the father of modern conservatism"
 
* [[Rush Limbaugh|Limbaugh, Rush]]
 
* [[Wikipedia:Michelle Malkin|Malkin, Michelle]]
 
* [[Wikipedia:Bill O'Reilly (commentator)|O'Reilly, Bill]]: "against harmful, radical social changes and those causing them, i.e., the ACLU, activist judges, and secular humanists."
 
* [[Jerry Pournelle|Pournelle, Jerry]] "slightly to the right of Genghis Khan"... but doesn't seem to be rabid, unlike many others
 
* [[Wikipedia:George Will|Will, George F.]]
 
 
 
==Related Links==
 
* [http://www.conservativethinking.com/ Conservative Thinking]
 
* [http://www.freerepublic.com/home.htm Free Republic]: "the premier online gathering place for independent, grass-roots conservatism on the web"
 
 
 
==Blogs==
 
* [http://www.antiprotester.blogspot.com/ The Autonomist]: by Rocco diPippo of Warren, RI
 
* [http://www.cathyseipp.net/ Cathy's World]: Cathy Seipp is a columnist for National Review Online and the Independent Women's Forum
 
* [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://stoptheaclu.com/ Stop the ACLU]
 
** '''2006-07-03''' [http://blogs.salon.com/0003494/2006/07/03.html Jewish Family “Forced to Move” Over School Lawsuit]: "'Stop the ACLU Coalition' Publicised Home Address, Phone Number
 
==Books==
 
* ''The Marketing of Evil'' by David Kupelian ([http://www.amazon.com/Marketing-Evil-Pseudo-Experts-Corruption-Disguised/dp/1581824599/sr=1-1/qid=1168617604/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/002-8614437-3304823?ie=UTF8&s=books Amazon]): "Americans have come to tolerate, embrace and even champion many things that would have horrified their parents' generation &ndash; from easy [[divorce]] and unrestricted [[abortion]]-on-demand to extreme body piercing and teaching [[homosexuality]] to grade-schoolers."
 
** '''Comments''':
 
*** Easy divorce has been shown to reduce suicide rates; nobody gets unrestricted abortion-on-demand, though I could argue that it would be a good idea, at least in the first trimester; and you can't "teach homosexuality" &ndash; is anyone actually trying to do this? Unless it means "teaching ''about'' homosexuality", which would be an important part of any decent [[sex education]] curriculum (otherwise kids are likely to grow up hating and fearing gay people, which would probably make this book's author happy &ndash; or, if the student in question is gay, hating and fearing her/himself, which would probably also make the book's author happy). What's wrong with body-piercing? --[[User:Woozle|Woozle]] 11:07, 12 January 2007 (EST)
 
 
 
==News Sites==
 
* [http://www.newsmax.com/ NewsMax]: "America's News Page" (see also {{wikipedia|NewsMax.com}})
 
* [http://www.townhall.com/ townhall.com] is generally described as conservative, but according to {{wikipedia|Townhall.com}} their mission is specifically to aid in "the fight against those who would sacrifice the individual and freedom for political gain and big government."
 
 
 
==Publications==
 
*[http://www.nationalreview.com/ National Review]
 
 
 
==Commentary==
 
* [http://www.redstate.com/stories/miscellanea/a_reactionary_s_shorter_catechism A Reactionary’s Shorter Catechism] by Paul J Cella
 
{{excerpt|[[David Brin]] writes about this [http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/2007/02/challenges-computer-graphic-trailers.html]:}}
 
This fellow is another species. One that would prefer to stay feudal, terrified, and only half sapient forever -- though with confident expectation that God’s reality is a cramped, short term exercise, and so it does not matter.
 
 
 
He praises elitism, mythology, romanticism, nostalgia, mysticism, exceptionalism, ritualistic-dogmatic traditionalism, and prejudice in the purest meaning of the word - pre-judice - judging others and all thoughts based upon comfortable, self-serving assumptions and eliminating all processes that test those subjective assumptions against the genuine holiness of the Creator’s greatest work, a thing called objective reality.
 
 
 
Indeed, denial of objective reality or its relevance is the underlying commonality that this fellow howls in perfect synchrony with romantics of the far left, whose praise of ancient mysticism and tribal ways converge eerily on the extreme, with "reactionaries" like this guy.
 
 
 
(Naturally, my own theology, that were were meant to be apprentices and knowingly (through science) begin sharing and completing the art/craft of Creation, would send both types shrieking.)
 
 
 
If you have not seen it, do. And know the full range of human personality that makes our task so dauntingly difficult. Trogs who know that 6,000 years of trying their way never got humanity anything but pain, nevertheless bitterly resent us our turn, trying something new and blatantly better.
 
 
 
No wonder they are fighting back so hard, as we speak. They must re-establish the old way fast, or lose their chance forever, as humanity finally steps into the light.
 
{{-excerpt}}
 
* '''2006-07-06''' [http://glenngreenwald.blogspot.com/2006/07/thug-and-intimidation-tactics-of-far.html The thug and intimidation tactics of the Far Right go mainstream] by Glenn Greenwald
 
* '''2005-12-05''' [http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rick-perlstein/i-didnt-like-nixon-_b_11735.html 'I Didn't Like Nixon ''Until'' Watergate': The Conservative Movement Now] by Ric Perlstein
 
* '''2005-12-02''' [http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/2005/12/political-battle-over-modernity-iv.html The Political Battle over Modernity IV]: Part 4 of a longer essay which includes an analysis of some of the major tools used by Neocons (note: should "Neoconservatism" be split off into a separate article?)
 
* '''2005-10-23''' David Brin [http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/2005/10/propertarianism-iv-only-if-crackpot.html writes]: "Right now, the very word "conservative" is used to mask the fact that one group wants dynamic markets and measures our success according to the rate of small business startups, vigorous investment in new business opportunities, social mobility for those who exhibit honest ambition and hard work, and rapid rewards for innovation. Sooner or later, champions of markets will realize that these traits are being systematically quashed by others who use "conservative" to mask a different agenda. The old agenda that destroyed every other market system on record."
 
* '''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.)."
 
* '''2004-08-18''': [http://sciencepolitics.blogspot.com/2004/08/moral-politics-in-context-of-history.html] In the context of a book review, suggests a brief definition of key conservative values, and then states that they are contradicted by scientific findings, which explains why conservatives tend to be anti-science. (To be investigated: do the given values accurately reflect the conservative worldview? Does science contradict them?)
 
 
 
==Notes==
 
Many conservatives, especially those tending to the extreme (including DiPippo and Horowitz) seem to have it in for ''[[Wikipedia:The New York Times|The New York Times]]'', for reasons on which I'm not entirely clear. The NYT has recently been attacked for publishing photos and addresses of the vacation homes of [[Dick Cheney]] and [[Donald Rumsfeld]]; Rocco DiPippo retaliated by publishing similar information about the NYT's editor Arthur Sulzburger [http://antiprotester.blogspot.com/2006/07/where-does-pinch-sulzberger-live.html] and photographer Linda Spillers, who (with Rumsfeld's permission) took the photo of Rumsfeld's vacation home. The argument is apparently: (1) we are at war (the [[War on Terror]]); (2) providing such information in public is therefore providing aid and comfort to the enemy, (3) which is treason, (4) which is a crime punishable by death. See [http://glenngreenwald.blogspot.com/2006/07/conservative-pundits-reveal-murderous.html Conservative pundits reveal murderous plot by the Travel Section of the NYT!] --[[User:Woozle|Woozle]] 08:32, 13 July 2006 (EDT)
 

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