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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, but this is not the main thrust of conservatism.

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

Conservatism in America

see also: Wikipedia:Conservatism in North America

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.

A cornerstone of American Conservative philosophy is personal responsibility – 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.

Conervatives seem to be against "big government" in certain circumstances -- see

During the presidential administration of George W. Bush, the use of the term "Neocons" has arisen 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.


Conservatives in the United States are generally aligned with the Republican Party and sometimes with the Libertarian Party.

Related Articles


Conservative and Fundamentalist Groups

Well-Known Conservative Proponents

Related Links


News Sites

  • NewsMax: "America's News Page" (see also Wikipedia)
  • is generally described as conservative, but according to Wikipedia their mission is specifically to aid in "the fight against those who would sacrifice the individual and freedom for political gain and big government."



  • 2006-07-06 The thug and intimidation tactics of the Far Right go mainstream by Glenn Greenwald
  • 2005-12-05 'I Didn't Like Nixon Until Watergate': The Conservative Movement Now by Ric Perlstein
  • 2005-12-02 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 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: [1] 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?)