Talk:Essay:Best New Conservative Words

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Additional liberal terms?

What about "ethnocentrism" (1905-1910) and "multiculturalism" (1960-1965)? --Benp 09:34, 16 January 2011 (EST)

Superb suggestions. Please add as you think best!--Andy Schlafly 09:37, 16 January 2011 (EST)


Even though liberal dictionaries added this word, Palin admitted it was an error on her part. If it stays then we must add Corpse men for lib terms.--Jpatt 13:01, 23 January 2011 (EST)

Not necessarily--no dictionaries made "corpse man" a word of the year. Moreover, the word seems to be getting some leverage and use on its own terms. Martyp 14:43, 23 January 2011 (EST)
Perhaps time will tell. The term "Big Bang" was born of mockery also.--Andy Schlafly 15:15, 23 January 2011 (EST)
Andy, could that explain the perceived scarcity of conservative words dating from the 21st century? Because I think the notion that a word can "mature" to be conservative is a fascinating and powerful insight. BradB 23:10, 4 February 2011 (EST)


I have doubts that charisma, despite its etymology, is a conservative term. It seems to elevate style over substance -- a definite liberal trait. Nowhere does the Bible refer to Jesus as having charisma.

I suspect the original meaning of charisma was for religious charisma.--Andy Schlafly 18:59, 4 February 2011 (EST)

I would suggest, (if we do indeed, keep it), to change the phrasing to something more on the order of:
literally "a gift from God", charisma is the quality of a person imbued by God to leadership, often found in conservative public figures.
This nixes the "magic" from the sentence since as wonderful as a gift from God is, it isn't "magic". DevonJ 20:20, 4 February 2011 (EST)
Andy, that's a good point. I prefer to think of charisma as the style of substance, but that's definitely not the case for everyone (especially liberals). While the etymology is undoubtedly conservative, perhaps "difficult to classify" may be a better resting place for charisma. Devon, either way, definitely an improvement on your part, thanks. BradB 22:21, 4 February 2011 (EST)

New words added

Hi, I have added 4 new words: deference (1660), idealist (1701), god-fearing (1835) & Rogue state (1993). If everyone accepts these, they will fill out the doubling pattern for those centuries. Shall I change the numbers in the summary at the top of the page?

I have also added 'liberal creep' (2008). CharlieJ 01:08, 14 March 2011 (EDT)

All your additions look superb except "deference," which I'm not sure is conservative. Please do update the counts the top (I already did increment the 1800s count for "God-fearing").--Andy Schlafly 02:05, 14 March 2011 (EDT)
I added 'deference' because CP has 'giving those in authority due respect' listed as a Conservative Value. I will tweak the definition a bit to emphasis the necessary legitimacy of the superior. Thanks for the positive feedback. CharlieJ 02:21, 14 March 2011 (EDT)
But look at the remainder of the chat quote: "giving those in authority due respect, but not to the point of accepting orders or assertions that are contrary to logic or morality."--Andy Schlafly 02:34, 14 March 2011 (EDT)
Let's continue this discussion later Monday morning. Thanks and Godspeed.--Andy Schlafly 02:40, 14 March 2011 (EDT)

Hi again. Firstly, let me tell you that I am an Aussie and my timezone is GMT+10. This makes me 12-15 hours ahead of you. Our conversations may be a bit disjointed because of this. Right now it is my bedtime, so I will post this comment & then go, leaving it for your consideration. (Editing has been switched off for a while, is that correct? I realise that you do this most nights. I didn't expect it to be on again tonight.)

To return to 'deference': to me the word embodies respect and consideration which I would regard as being conservative values, but not necessarily 'giving in'. However, I do not have the right American nuances to interpret this as you do and will not push this strongly and am happy to remove it from the list.

I have a couple of alternatives for consideration:

atheistic (1625-35) An adjective pertaining to or characteristic of atheists or atheism; containing, suggesting, or disseminating atheism.

secularize (1611) To make secular; to transfer from ecclesiastical to civil or lay use, possession, or control

To me, these are useful words for conservatives. They do not describe conservatives. My reading of the list suggests that useful words are acceptable eg alarmist. Anyway, goodnight for now, catch up with you tomorrow. CharlieJ 08:32, 14 March 2011 (EDT)

"atheistic" is good. Let's go with that. I didn't see why "patriarchy" was conservative, so I removed that.--Andy Schlafly 21:04, 18 March 2011 (EDT)
No worries. I'll add 'atheistic'. CharlieJ 22:36, 18 March 2011 (EDT)


I'm not sure how conservative this word is. There's no reasoning given for its inclusion, apart from the fact that Bojangles Robinson supposedly created it (and even that is extremely weak evidence and I'm not sure what it adds. I'm going to remove it from the list if no one raises any opposition. DennyW66 22:37, 19 March 2011 (EDT)

"Copacetic" is the very satisfactory result of conservative values. It is associated with good and honest living. I do object to removal of this conservative term.--Andy Schlafly 00:32, 20 March 2011 (EDT)

Moral Majority - A suggestion

Andy, I saw your addition "silent majority" and it made me immediately think of "Moral Majority". This page credits it to Jerry Falwell in 1979. Although in it's strictest sense it describes a movement it is still has greater symbolism. Thanks, MaxFletcher 20:30, 21 March 2011 (EDT)

Great suggestion. Please included it ... and increment the total near the beginning for the 1900s.--Andy Schlafly 21:04, 21 March 2011 (EDT)
Done! MaxFletcher 21:22, 21 March 2011 (EDT)


Maybe it's just my public school education at work, but I fail to see how obambulate is conservative. Apart from its obvious similarities with "Obama", it simply means "to walk around". I know that Obama has been bumbling and whatnot, but it's an innocuous word that is being assigned a special significance due to coincidence. I'm not sure it belongs on this list. DennyW66 22:05, 27 March 2011 (EDT)

It is probably as a result of it being mentioned on Rush Limbaugh's show and the liberal reactions to it during the past week. Karajou 23:08, 27 March 2011 (EDT)
What was the reaction? MaxFletcher 23:14, 27 March 2011 (EDT)
Denny, your comment is a valid one, but the modern usage of the term "obambulate" is to criticize the directionless wandering characteristic of liberal leadership. None of the terms in the list should be viewed in a vacuum independent of their usage.
Hey, my response used another candidate: "directionless". Trying to find its date of origin next ....--Andy Schlafly 23:35, 27 March 2011 (EDT)


Sorry if I get the etiquette wrong, first time commenting. I was just wondering if there was a source for Agitprop? I always understood it to be derived from Soviet Russian institutions, so would be quite keen to see the conservative routes of it. Everything I have tried so far has turned up the term as being derived from Russian e.g. , and I would be surprised if the internal machinations of the USSR would come up with something conservative, so would be keen to find out the alternative you uncovered"JTlpdl 09:18, 28 March 2011 (EDT)"

Page dividing

Due to the success of this essay, it's really slow, so can I split it into pages by century of origin? This would allow the page to load faster and be easier to navigate. Any thoughts on the idea? BenDylan 20:09, 14 April 2011 (EDT)

I'd like to see it be broken up by century and automatically numbered. I'm not sure that breaking it up into many pages would facilitate more than inconvenience. BradB 23:55, 26 April 2011 (EDT)


I'm getting 25,48,100,201,17 as the counts. If so, this wouldn't be the first time I've seen them wrong. As I mentioned above, we should consider breaking the list up by century to help avoid counting errors. BradB 18:37, 27 April 2011 (EDT)

Word for 1700's

Could belittle be the word we are looking for to perfect the list? It was coined in 1785 by Thomas Jefferson himself, and is certainly a way to describe an action often done by liberals to protect their ideas. JoshuaL 19:34, 28 April 2011 (EDT)

Joshua, I'm inclined to agree, as Jefferson likely coined the term in response to critics trying to deceptively minimize issues he raised. BradB 02:07, 29 April 2011 (EDT)
Not sure "belittle" is conservative. But how about "axiomatic"?--Andy Schlafly 02:20, 30 April 2011 (EDT)

If you're still looking for an 18th century word, 'nationalist' would fit well - it's a core conservative value, synonymous with 'patriot', the antithesis of 'internationalist', and one of the defining features of the 18th century. Jcw 16:17, 5 May 2011 (EDT)

Liberal creep

How do we reconcile this with liberal creep? If language is becoming more conservative, why is opinion and perception becoming more liberal? Do liberals or conservatives dictate the terms of the national conversation? If someone could take a look at the two phenomena and find out what makes one move in one direction and the other in the opposite, it would make a great essay. KingHanksley 15:05, 8 May 2011 (EDT)

I've also brought this up for discussion here. Conservapedia's Law, the observation that conservative insights double over time, is clearly incomplete, perhaps even flawed. I agree that there could be a complex relationship between liberal creep and Conservapedia's Law and it is worth investigating. BradB 15:15, 8 May 2011 (EDT)

Graph of words over time

While I was drawing graphs, I wrote a quick script to generate a graph of the data in this page. This graph shows the growth in conservative terms year-by-year, rather than just per-century. The red line is the data from this page, the green line is a quadratic curve. Jcw 20:59, 18 June 2011 (EDT)

Wow, that's a spectacular graph! Can you give permission for me to include it in the entry page?
The graph disproves the theory that there were bursts of new words during certain periods. I'll remove that from the entry.--Andy Schlafly 00:43, 19 June 2011 (EDT)
Please do use the graph as you see fit. I can generate new graphs from the latest data with no trouble at all, so if you'd like it can be updated periodically. I'm currently trying to find a suitably analogous source of data for liberal words/ideas, which would allow comparative analysis. This kind of data is very interesting as it seems to avoid the short-term political cycles which characterize much of popular discourse, focusing on the really significant point of the growth of ideas. Jcw 08:59, 19 June 2011 (EDT)
I posted the graph and your idea is marvelous. However, I don't think the graph is completely accurate: the curve for the actual data should intersect the predicted curve at each turning of the centuries.--Andy Schlafly 10:45, 19 June 2011 (EDT)
  • Is the green curve really a fit for the data according to Aschlafly's theory? I mean, Jcw says the green line is a quadratic curve - at best it's a second approximation for the geometric curve...
  • Personally, I find quite hard to judge the existance of bursts from a cdf. Perhaps Jcw could create a histogram - perhaps for decades?
AugustO 11:30, 20 June 2011 (EDT)
You both raise valid points, which hopefully will be answered soon. Andy and August both mention that the x^2 curve isn't a perfect fit - it certainly isn't, and I'm pretty sure a 2^x curve with appropriate constants will fit better; I'm planning to do that tonight. August mentions different ways of representing the data - I'll happily produce a histogram of the data if that'd be interesting, but the reason for plotting it as I have is to produce a curve that I can use for my more grandiose scheme, of which more later. My background is not so much in statistics - although I've done a fair bit of that - but in purer maths, so my thinking is mostly based around the relationships between smooth(-ish) functions. That may not be the best way to deal with these data qua data, but to extract patterns for further, more abstract work, it's ideal. Jcw 12:43, 20 June 2011 (EDT)
Et voila, a better fit. This is an exponential curve fitted to the same data. Note that it fits much better in the region with the most words, but is a bit out for the earlier period where there are fewer words in the list. This is because we can more easily find suitable words from more recent periods, so naturally the pattern is most exact there. No doubt if we could go through a large, representative corpus and extract words uniformly, it would fit nicely all the way along. Jcw 16:25, 20 June 2011 (EDT)
@Aschlafly: Could you recount the words? My count gave me 26-51-103-210-18 (Sum: 408) instead of 26-52-103-208-18 (Sum: 407). Perhaps a fourth column for the century (or even better, the decade) could be added? That would make it much easier to keep track of the numbers!
@Jcw: I don't think that your better fit is the function which Aschlafly has in mind: it should be , where #words is the number of words created before 2000, i.e., 390. This function touches/intersects the empirical cdf at the turn of each century, a fact which betrays the biased method of looking for these words.
AugustO 11:12, 21 June 2011 (EDT)
August, so you've constructed a function which you claim 'betrays the biased method of looking for these words'? I'd be interested to see a more thorough explanation of that point. Another editor has attempted a similar argument above, but without success. Jcw 15:42, 21 June 2011 (EDT)
August, I have an open mind about this. I don't see how we could so easily find conservative words that double by century if the underlying pattern were not there. But please explain if you think that is in error.--Andy Schlafly 22:27, 21 June 2011 (EDT)

I hope we can agree on the function Ftheo - it should be uncontroversial:

  • one layer exists from 1 - 2 - 4 - 8 words, i.e., 20, 21,22 and 23
  • the partial sums are 1 - 3 - 7 - 15, i.e., 21-1, 22-1, 23-1, and 24-1
  • so, with the turn of the n-th century, there should be 2n+1-1 words
  • for K layers, the number is K * (2n+1-1). Each layer has 15 words, thus, if there are N feasible words, the number of layers is N/15
  • now adjust for years instead of centuries, and don't start with the first, but with the 17th, and you get the formula .

@jcw: Another editor has attempted a similar argument above, but without success. I read the sections above, and I was convinced by the argument.

@Aschlafly: I don't see how we could so easily find conservative words that double by century if the underlying pattern were not there. The effects of the miscount (Talk:Essay:Best_New_Conservative_Words#PERFECTION: 20-40-80-160 BY CENTURY) have shown that you are able to match any pattern you were looking for.

AugustO 12:11, 22 June 2011 (EDT)

August's contrary theory aside, here's an interesting consequence of this trend: this graph shows the curve from above in green, an hypothetical linear growth of liberalism ([liberal creep], in blue) and the effect of the latter on the former (in red). Note how the red line - the net effect of liberal and conservative ideas - falls for a while, reaching a minimum in the twentieth century before shooting up. This is because the exponential growth of conservatism is slower at first that the linear growth of liberalism, but gets very much faster later on, easily overtaking the linear function and increasing to infinity. Obviously the liberalism line is hypothetical, but it's interesting nonetheless. Jcw 12:41, 24 June 2011 (EDT)

That's remarkably insightful. In other words, the combination of linear liberal creep and the geometric growth rate of Best New Conservative Words results in a liberal trend for a while (until the Great Depression), and then a rapidly increasing conservative trend thereafter.--Andy Schlafly 13:16, 24 June 2011 (EDT)
Exactly. The precise shape of the final curve depends on the values assumed for the liberal creep line, but any reasonable values give a final curve with much the same shape. It agrees rather remarkably with the observed facts, especially as nothing in the calculations refers to historical events at all. Purely linguistic inputs produce an undeniably historical result, demonstrating the power of language very clearly. As ever, feel free to use the graph however you please. Jcw 13:48, 24 June 2011 (EDT)
I am skeptical that the complexities of human society and political philosophies can be summed up simply as an exponential function minus a linear function. What evidence is there that this liberal creep is linear? How is that even quantified? Does this hypothesis make any specific predictions, in order to make it falsifiable and thus scientific? --MatthewQ 02:09, 25 June 2011 (EDT)
Good questions. I'll consider them (as others probably will also) and reply after some thought.--Andy Schlafly 02:15, 25 June 2011 (EDT)
Good questions indeed. The immediate answer is 'no': of course all the complexities of human society can't be summed up as simply as this. Quantifying complex abstract phenomena is a very rough business, most especially on a short timescale. The goal of my graphs isn't to present concrete mathematical laws, or anything like them, but just to illustrate a conceptual relationship using mathematics.
To answer your specific questions:
* 'how is that even quantified?': Crudely and by guesswork, like many first attempts in all sciences, especially those relating to human activity. The crude guess is justified by the answer to:
* 'Does this hypothesis make any specific predictions...': In one way, the hypothesis is supported by the same kind of evidence as is used to defend evolution - the hypothesis I've produced now gives results which agree with events in the past. As we all agree, that's not the best kind of evidence, but in this case it's rather compelling. Secondly, it does make concrete predictions - indeed, it makes an inescapable prediction which can't be fudged or avoided - the 'conservatism' curve increases very rapidly to infinity, rather than going up and down or settling into a steady state. This suggests a discontinuity in the future, where the level of conservatism rises to something quite outside our experience. I'm not sure what that would look like, but I think we'd recognize it if we saw it. Jcw 20:49, 25 June 2011 (EDT)
In furtherance of Jcw's remarks, it is perhaps easier to study the development of language and politics, which are closely related to each other, than it is to study and predict ... the weather. Nobody had a problem with Al Gore trying to predict the weather, so why object when a simpler task is undertaken?--Andy Schlafly 00:01, 26 June 2011 (EDT)
@Jcw How specifically does your graph "agree with events in the past"? Also, the claim that "the level of conservatism rises to something quite outside our experience" is not a specific prediction. I'm not even sure what that means. Finally, in your graph what does the y-axis represent? Words? Aschlafly above links the exponential function to the growth of conservative terms. If so, why is liberal creep linear? Is there any empirical or theoretical reason to believe this? Looking at liberal terms by century it seems like liberal terms are also growing exponentially, even though the article claims they don't grow "geometrically" and are "heavily influenced by culture". In any case, it doesn't look linear. Wouldn't the diminishing intelligence of humans mean liberal terms would be growing quickly?
@Aschlafly Weather and climate are distinct things. I don't think anyone believes Al Gore is a climate scientist qualified to make scientific predictions, only a spokesman. Many people do have a problem with him and the whole idea of climate change.
Also, human beings are extremely complicated and it isn't obvious to me that accurately predicting and quantifying the political philosophy of a complex society is much simpler than either meteorology or climatology. Even if the development of politics and language are closely related (I'm not sure they are), why would studying them be necessarily be a simpler task than studying climates?--MatthewQ 01:39, 26 June 2011 (EDT)

(unindent)Matthew: now you're asking questions that have already been answered or are clear from the context. I note that your edits on this site are almost exclusively to talk pages; may we assume that you are here simply to argue rather than to contribute? Jcw 08:44, 26 June 2011 (EDT)

The interesting question is, what would an (effectively) infinite level of conservatism look like? I'm afraid I don't know enough about the US to answer that: over here 'conservatism' looks a great deal like US liberalism... Jcw 12:32, 26 June 2011 (EDT)

One characteristic of infinite conservatism might be when it is impossible to notice a difference in the level of service and attitude between government and a perfectly competitive industry.--Andy Schlafly 14:18, 26 June 2011 (EDT)
In a perfectly conservative society, would there be any need for government as we now know it? I suppose there are limits to how conservative a society can be in a fallen world... Jcw 14:52, 26 June 2011 (EDT)
Conservatives aren't libertarians or anarchists, so a limited government would exist ....--Andy Schlafly 16:48, 26 June 2011 (EDT)
I'm sorry, I still don't understand what 'infinite conservatism' means. Perhaps an article detailing how conservatism can be quantified and what happens in the limit as it approaches infinity would help. --MatthewQ 21:32, 26 June 2011 (EDT)
That's an interesting idea, Matthew. I think that in the US conservatism is closely correlated with Evangelical Christianity, which is not at all the case here in the UK, where our conservatives are more likely to belong to the Church of England - a decidedly liberal institution by US standards. Andy's suggestion above is concise, but if you think about it it's a very acute description of a hypothetical perfectly conservative government. I shudder to think what a perfectly liberal government would be like. Jcw 16:33, 27 June 2011 (EDT)
Jcw, your description of US conservatism compared with the UK is interesting, and I've thought about it. While certainly there are more evangelicals here than there, not all are conservative. Moreover, the cause-and-effect is less than clear: does the conservative nature of America allow evangelicalism to develop more fully than in a liberal nation? If so, there still remains an underlying mystery of why America is more conservative than the UK.--Andy Schlafly 17:41, 28 June 2011 (EDT)
Yes, a very interesting question. Our two nations have a great deal of shared history, but today are vastly different in fundamental ways. I think the Reformation is particularly important in this context - the UK experienced it directly, while the nascent US only experienced the aftereffects; the US was never a Catholic nation in the Mediaeval sense. Another - perhaps related - aspect is the persistence of monarchy in the UK compared to its outright rejection by the US. There's a lot to be said on this topic, so I'll begin an essay with some of my thoughts and see how it compares with a US view. Jcw 18:39, 28 June 2011 (EDT)
Please do start an essay on this, hopefully here so that I can contribute to it too! Religious differences between the US and the UK are surely part of the explanation for the political differences, but I think there is more to it than that. Federalism, for example, prevents liberals from gaining control over the US, while that protection does not exist in the UK. I will say this: the UK media is much more free with respect to American politics than the American press is!--Andy Schlafly 19:13, 28 June 2011 (EDT)

@Jcw: What are the parameters of your interpolating function? And how did you calculate them? Could you also display:

And why not use these paramaters - they are the direct result of applying Aschlafly's rule of doubling-by-century...

AugustO 09:08, 28 June 2011 (EDT)

August, if you'd like to do those calculations, please feel free - the data isn't kept secret, it's right there on the page. If you'd like to see another presentation of it, go ahead. I'm very happy to explain things - and to justify my choices! - to well-meaning editors with genuine questions, but you seem to be on the wrong side of every argument around here, as if you're deliberately disagreeing for the sake of it. The amount of time and attention you're willing to give to criticizing other people's ideas is remarkable. Jcw 10:35, 28 June 2011 (EDT)

Well put, Jcw. Actually, the entries begin with the year 1612, after the publication of the KJV and the completion of nearly all of Shakespeare's works. So August's date in his exponent appears wrong, but your graph is correct in show an intersection with the x-axis over a decade after 1600.--Andy Schlafly 17:45, 28 June 2011 (EDT)

@Jcw: August, if you'd like to do those calculations, please feel free - the data isn't kept secret, it's right there on the page. I can't reproduce your calculations as there is not enough data: You say that it is a fit, but you don't explain how you fitted it:

  1. How did you treat words like atheistic (1625-1635), deadweight loss (1930s) and design by committee (before 1958)
  2. Which kind of fit did you use? For me, Maximum-Likelihood would be an obvious choice.
  3. Which family of functions did you look at? Obviously a*2^x. Why not a*2^x+b?
  4. Did you use any weights? Which ones (or why not)?

All these choices result in different interpolating functions. So, which choices did you make and what was your result?

If you'd like to see another presentation of it, go ahead. I'm very happy to explain things - and to justify my choices! - to well-meaning editors with genuine questions Obviously I won't promise not to criticize your choices. Does this make me a not-well-meaning editor?

You seem to be on the wrong side of every argument around here I seem to be constantly on the other side than you are. Doesn't make my side always wrong!

@Aschlafly: Well put, Jcw. Do you condone the policy to share data only with those who you expect not to criticize it? When reading Conservapedia:Lenski_dialog and its talk page, I got quite another impression!

So August's date in his exponent appears wrong, but your graph is correct in show an intersection with the x-axis over a decade after 1600 Jcw's graph (the green line!) doesn't intersect the x-axis at ~1610. I doubt that it intersects the x-axis at all! The red line shows the empirical data, so of course it begins at 1612 with the first word found - though obambulate (1600) is the oldest word in the table, and seems to be always counted in the perfect counts. OTOH, the graph which I proposed intersects the x-axis at the turn of the 16th century, and crosses the empirical curve at the turn of each century (whether you shift the function by 1599 or 1600 is just a matter of taste...).


How about 'Americanadians'? I've observed many good Americans being influenced by the blatant propaganda of our socialist neighbors, and starting to espouse their flawed line of thought. What do others think? Let me know.


I suggest "claptrap." I'm surprised it's not on the list already. --AndyJ 00:20, 21 June 2011 (EDT)

Superb suggestion! I'll add it now.--Andy Schlafly 00:45, 21 June 2011 (EDT)
It was already on the list. I added an 1800s term instead.--Andy Schlafly 01:10, 21 June 2011 (EDT)

free speech

Perhaps I simply fail to understand the context you provided, but is free speech really a "conservative word?" Terms like "political correctness" and "obamacare" are undeniably conservative (to the point where liberals won't use them), but free speech is at best non-partisan, and at worst (I am attempting to write from a conservative viewpoint- I may fail miserably at this) a term co-opted by liberals to justify their perversions and excesses. </attempt to write from conservative viewpoint>--CamilleT 01:20, 21 June 2011 (EDT)

You raise a valid point. But isn't it the conservatives who protect, for example, corporate and many other types of expenditures in elections as "free speech"?--Andy Schlafly 01:28, 21 June 2011 (EDT)
Indeed, you are correct. But I think it's fair to say now that it is a word used by conservatives as well as liberals to represent their agendas. I do not know how this factors into this particular list--CamilleT 02:13, 21 June 2011 (EDT)
I'll continue to think about your valid criticism. Maybe I can search Supreme Court opinions and see who is using the term "free speech" most. I don't think liberals are using it as much as conservatives are today.--Andy Schlafly 22:30, 21 June 2011 (EDT)


I added a column for the decades (rather than for the centuries). I hope this will help to keep the count of the words up-to-date.

AugustO 09:05, 28 June 2011 (EDT)

I'm not sure how that will help - surely the decade is already contained in the 'year' column? If you'd like a more accurate count, I suggest doing what I do - use a perl script to parse the wikitext and print out whatever information you want. To me the decade column looks annoyingly redundant, but perhaps I've missed something... Jcw 10:27, 28 June 2011 (EDT)
I wanted to facilitate the count: as some of the dates are not purely numeric (1950s, before 1958, 1625-1635), it's hard to sort the table by the column date. If there is a purely numeric column, the table can be easily copied into a spreadsheet and recounted even by those who don't know anything about regular expressions.
If you have a script, please use it to keep an eye on the count: I'm surprised that you didn't spot the miscount earlier on.
I'll add the column for the decades again, this time at the last place. This should be more pleasing...
AugustO 12:07, 29 June 2011 (EDT)

I don't know how to upload a picture, so here is an ascii-graphic for the distribution by decades:

  • 1600: *
  • 1610: ****
  • 1620: *****
  • 1630: *
  • 1640: ******
  • 1650: ****
  • 1660: **
  • 1670:
  • 1680: **
  • 1690: *
  • 1700: *
  • 1710: ***
  • 1720: *****
  • 1730: ****
  • 1740: ****
  • 1750: *****
  • 1760: ******
  • 1770: ******
  • 1780: ********
  • 1790: *********
  • 1800: ********
  • 1810: *********
  • 1820: ***************
  • 1830: ***************
  • 1840: *********
  • 1850: **********
  • 1860: **********
  • 1870: *******
  • 1880: ************
  • 1890: **********
  • 1900: ***********************
  • 1910: ***********************
  • 1920: **********************
  • 1930: *******************
  • 1940: ***************************
  • 1950: **************************
  • 1960: *************************
  • 1970: ****************
  • 1980: **********************
  • 1990: ******
  • 2000: ***************
  • 2010: ***

1820/1830,1900/1910, and 1940/1950 seem to be decades in which significantly more conservative terms were created than one would have expected... AugustO 12:15, 29 June 2011 (EDT)

Suggested additions

Eurabia - what Europe will become if people don't stand up for themselves.

Islamofascism - repressive muslim shariah regimes/totalitarian islamism.

MeganH 01:01, 30 June 2011 (EDT)

Go ahead and add if you have some dates of origin, even if only approximate. I hadn't heard of the first one ("Eurabia") before.--Andy Schlafly 01:04, 30 June 2011 (EDT)

Dumpster diving

Was 'dumping diving' added because food is not going to waste, or am I misunderstanding why it's conservative? --MatthewQ 09:54, 15 July 2011 (EDT)

I'll take a stab at it. Conservative words can describe liberal actions. I am not saying dumpster divers are liberal, those poor folks maybe hungry. Dumpster Diving is not limited to food. It's also a method to get trade secrets from companies or dig up dirt against somebody. Most likely, Dumpster Diving is used for deceitful purposes for example gaining a social security number from discarded bills used for the creation of fraudulent IDs. --Jpatt 13:06, 15 July 2011 (EDT)
Great points. This is a list of conservative terms, often insightful, about activities that may be conservative or liberal, harmful or helpful, or none of the above. Evidently this term was developed by small businessmen to describe an unhelpful activity outside their restaurants and other stores. Dumpster diving may sometimes be the equivalent of recycling or getting a hungry person some food, but in any event the term is a perfect description of the activity. And once there is a good term for something, then the activity can be understood and addressed better.--Andy Schlafly 15:39, 15 July 2011 (EDT)
Good analysis. But is dumpster diving a conservative act? --GeorgeZ 15:53, 15 July 2011 (EDT)
Read Andy's post. He specifically says that that does not matter. It was created by conservatives. Therefore it is a conservative word. NickP 16:12, 15 July 2011 (EDT)
Right that it does not matter whether it is a conservative act. In the case of dumpster diving, whether it is ever conservative depends on what the purpose and effect are. It also doesn't matter if a conservative coined it; a liberal can sing a conservative song. The point is whether the insight is conservative. In this case, small businessmen (a conservative line of work) coined the term to criticize how homeless people were digging through their trash.--Andy Schlafly 16:19, 15 July 2011 (EDT)
I see Andy. Thanks for explaining. NickP 16:22, 15 July 2011 (EDT)
Indeed, one might suggest that liberals have indirectly contributed to the increase in conservative terms by constantly inventing new ways to avoid work and personal responsibility. Conservatives are then, naturally, obligated to develop terms for these behaviors. --Benp 17:18, 15 July 2011 (EDT)


It's fascinating how the new Conservative words and insights do seem to grow geometrically by century, but I'm curious as to why the 2000s seem to be pretty far behind. We're 11 years in, so you'd expect there to be roughly 40 new words so far, but we've got less than half that many. With the rise of the TEA Party, I'd expect to be much closer. --FergusE 15:06, 17 July 2011 (EDT)

Excellent point. Possible reasons could include that it is too soon to recognize new words in the most recent decade ... or maybe there has been a short-term decline in conservative intellectualism? At any rate, I've been meaning to add the term "Tea Party" itself with its etymology in the last decade!--Andy Schlafly 15:12, 17 July 2011 (EDT)
I have to agree with you, Andy. Even though we're in 2011 now, it might be too early to be able to fully appreciate all the new conservative words created last decade. I think "Tea Party" might just be one of the most important words to add and I think the movement itself will produce a lot of new, conservative words in its own right! BobSherman 19:58, 20 July 2011 (EDT)

Very perceptive, Andy. It takes time for the gatekeepers of knowledge to acknowledge the validity of new terms; therefore, while the public production of new conservative insights and terms may be quite rapid, the assimilation of those insights and terms into formal reference works is likely to be much slower. This is, I would suggest, exacerbated by reliance on archaic forms of knowledge dissemination such as print dictionaries.

An interesting side project might be to evaluate dictionaries (both online and print) to see how rapidly they accept and incorporate new conservative words versus new liberal words. In this way, it might be possible to determine which dictionaries are reliable and which are liberally biased. --Benp 12:19, 22 July 2011 (EDT)


I tried to archive the page - at least the parts which were from last year, but I totally botched it: my browser can't handle long pages, I have difficulties with the captchas & I created the wrong page for an archive Archive 3 instead of Talk:Essay:Best New Conservative Words/Archive 3 (Archive 3 should be moved there...)

So I give up... RonLar 11:58, 26 July 2011 (EDT)

I archived 2010... AugustO 14:44, 30 July 2011 (EDT)
Thank you - I had problems with the captchas! RonLar 15:26, 30 July 2011 (EDT)

Maybe these two

Here's two possibilities I found in Federal debt limit, "leveraged loss" and "debt spiral", but I'm not sure how to fit them in. Rob Smith 14:01, 30 July 2011 (EDT)

More possibilities...

Constructionist (1835-45) Inalienable (1635-45) Hubris (1880-1885) Scientism (1875-1880)

--Benp 14:11, 30 July 2011 (EDT)


As a descriptor for the trickle-down theory of economics, it dates to 1950-1955. --Benp 21:43, 31 July 2011 (EDT)

I think "trickle-down" is pejorative, and thus more a liberal term than a conservative one.--Andy Schlafly 18:47, 1 August 2011 (EDT)
If trickle-down is the pejorative would the standard, conservative, phrase be "supply-side"? MaxFletcher 18:53, 1 August 2011 (EDT)
Yes, it would - and "supply side" is already on the list.--Andy Schlafly 18:56, 1 August 2011 (EDT)
ah, excellent. my work here is done! MaxFletcher 19:00, 1 August 2011 (EDT)

Civil body politic

"Civil body politic" is an interesting bit of history but does not seem to have caught on as widely used term, and hence would not seem to warrant inclusion in this list. Does anyone disagree?--Andy Schlafly 09:43, 8 August 2011 (EDT)

Medal of Honor (and other proper names)

I'm not sure that a proper name given to an award is inherently conservative-- the Medal itself reflects conservative values of course, but would do so even if had been called, say, the Award of Bravery or the Citation of Courage. "Coolant," "transistor" and "greasy spoon" are all truly conservative both in terms of content and syntax. BrentH 19:50, 27 August 2011 (EDT)

Your point is valid. Perhaps it does not fit this particular list, but I'm reluctant to delete it. Isn't there something conservative about simply recognizing "honor", and calling the medal after the concept, rather than after, say, a liberal politician?--Andy Schlafly 20:15, 27 August 2011 (EDT)

alcoholism ?

Could you please explain how alcoholism is a conservative word ? Alcoholism is more of a liberal trait.--PhilipN 21:24, 17 November 2011 (EST)

"Alcoholism" is a criticism of excessive drinking, and thus is a conservative word. Words that end in "ism" are often pejoratives, as in "alarmism" and "collectivism" (which are also on the list).--Andy Schlafly 21:41, 17 November 2011 (EST)
And do you feel the same way about the word "liberalism"?--JeanB 21:49, 17 November 2011 (EST)
Word that end in -ism are not always pejorative, capitalism is good. And when the words socialism or communism were invented, they were meant to be good.--PhilipN 21:53, 17 November 2011 (EST)


1882, I wanted to add this to best new conservative words as it describes a liberal policy of government giveaways. But it also could be the conservative position of helping the poor through charity. Either way it is a conservative word but the proper way to describe alludes me. Op?--Jpatt 09:28, 25 November 2011 (EST)

That would a superb addition! It would also leave the list only two 20-century words shy of another perfect doubling by century.--Andy Schlafly 10:48, 25 November 2011 (EST)

Level Playing Field

I added the term "level playing field" for two main reasons: 1) It is an intuitive metaphor used in its first recorded use to describe how markets usually work best when they are fair for all participants and free of interference. 2) The term has since been used by liberals to describe policies such as affirmative action, progressive taxation, and government handouts, but it obvious to anyone who looks at these policies objectively that they actually distort the playing field.

I believe that is enough for the term to stand on its own merits, but it looks even more conservative if we compare it to other words on the list such as "motivation," "quantify," or "coolant."

Maybe I have overlooked something and the word does not belong on the list. Comments are welcome. --AaronT 21:03, 8 May 2012 (EDT)

As you point out, the term is often used by liberals, so that makes it a doubtful candidate for "best" new conservative words. The term seems to imply that government is needed to level the playing field. Level playing fields rarely occur in nature, for example. The term almost sounds like the famous "life's not fair" expression ... which is not conservative either.
"Motivation" is a far more conservative term - one can find motivation whether the playing field islevel or not. "Quantify" is logic, which is an essential difference between conservative and liberal approaches. "Coolant" is an essential part of nuclear energy -- which liberals loathe.--Andy Schlafly 21:51, 8 May 2012 (EDT)


This entry is an abbreviation for ante meridiem, which originates from 1563 [1]. I'm not clear on whether the abbreviation is being claimed as a new conservative word or the phrase for which it stands. Additionally, it is unclear where the given date of origin in the article of 1762 comes from. GregG 23:43, 11 June 2012 (EDT)

The online etymology dictionary gives a date of 1762. Perhaps it's referring to common usage.
While you're right that the "A" in A.M. is from a Latin word that is different from the "A" in A.D., the popularity of "A.D." could have led to the popularity of "A.M."--Andy Schlafly 00:37, 12 June 2012 (EDT)
Just seen this catch my attention on the mainpage. I highly doubt that the two could be related in any conservative sense. Of course "AD" refers to "In the year of our lord". But back in the 18th century, Latin was still being routinely taught in schools (especially in Britain), bring us many other Latin abbreviations, such as eg, etc, ie, RIP (from 'requiescat in pace', and later backronymed into 'rest in peace'). I highly doubt the link between any apparent 'popularity' of AD spurred the formation of AM, and personally I'd remove it. HumanGeographer 15:57, 12 June 2012 (EDT)
But what percentage of the overall British population learned Latin in school in the 1700s? Perhaps only 10%? Most Latin appreviations did not catch on with the general population the way that "A.M." did. The most plausible explanation is its proximity to "A.D."--Andy Schlafly 18:19, 12 June 2012 (EDT)
Nonetheless etymological creation power lies not with those who use the language the most. One must remember that our records of language from the 1700s (both Britain and America) are not vernacular English of the working classes but written English of those who were educated. This was before widespread adoption of clocks and timepieces, which came later with the industrial revolution and the railways. Again, I highly disagree that likeness to AM would be a significant contributor. Those that would have used the world in our written records would have been educated in Latin, and would therefore be aware of the etymological roots of both AM and AD. Since the A stands for anno and ante respectively, there is no etymological proximity at all between the two. HumanGeographer 18:35, 12 June 2012 (EDT)
But "A.D." did gain widespread currency with the masses, and then "A.M." became popular in a similar manner. Many other Latin abbreviations, like "Q.E.D.", did not follow in their footsteps.--Andy Schlafly 18:54, 12 June 2012 (EDT)
You mean, the masses had a choice whether to use "A.M" or something else? It wasn't determined by the use of that convention by those few who created, say, railroad timetables or other documents? Incidentally, do we know what that date of "1762" refers to? Refering to some "online etymology dictionary" seems a bit like relying on hearsay. --FrederickT3 02:44, 13 June 2012 (EDT)
I still maintain that Mr Schlafly is assuming correlation from causation. While of course nowadays we might view AD in a more conservative light since the introduction (especially amongst the humanities communities) of CE, then back in the case it certainly wasn't the case and due to the pervasiveness of the Christian terms I highly doubt that its religious connotations had any contributing factor over its use as a year marker. If it's another conservative word that's being looked for, I can have a think over the next few days for an alternative word that might not be as debatable. HumanGeographer 17:27, 13 June 2012 (EDT)

It Really Is Amazing...

It really is amazing that the pattern of perfect doubling by century is so strong that almost every "layer" is complete before the next layer starts, even though words are added to the list pretty much randomly whenever a user thinks of one. --AndreaM 17:47, 12 June 2012 (EDT)

Great discoveries are rarely random. In this case, it would not be possible to discover such a perfect geometric fit unless the underlying pattern existed.--Andy Schlafly 18:12, 12 June 2012 (EDT)
I don't actually believe in this theory, but I think it's interesting nonetheless to think about the etymologies of such words and why we might consider them conservative or not. Thus this essay has potential for insights, whether or not one believes in the underlying theory. HumanGeographer 17:33, 13 June 2012 (EDT)

You know this list is contrived.

As you can see, Andy Schlafly is actively trying to make it a perfect doubling by century. DavidCalman

It would be impossible to discover such a perfect doubling of conservative words by century unless it existed. If someone discovered oil, would anyone say, "well, that's no big deal, because you looked for it there!"--Andy Schlafly 23:00, 13 June 2012 (EDT)

Intelligent design

I'm not sure where your date of 1991 is coming from. I know that the Kitzmiller trial uncovered a 1987 draft of Of Pandas and People that used intelligent design in the origins context:

Intelligent design means that various forms of life began abruptly through an intelligent agency, with their distinctive features already intact. Fish with fins and scales, birds with feathers, beaks, wings, etc.

GregG 00:39, 16 June 2012 (EDT)


In a liberal society, true team work is impossible because nothing bets done without an overarching authority to control and monitor and meddle in activity. The ideas of equals respecting each other and working for the good of the country is a conservative value, and I think that teamwork should be made a Conservative Word. What do you think? JeffBron 15:15, 19 June 2012 (EDT)

In political usage, "teamwork" implies abandoning principles. It does not have a positive political connotation for conservatives.--Andy Schlafly 16:23, 30 August 2012 (EDT)


According to Merriam-Webster the first known use of this word is from 1854: [2]. Richman 15:49, 30 August 2012 (EDT)

And Doubting Thomas is at least from as early as 1848: [3]. These are just two words I checked. Which begs the question how accurate the other origin dates are. Richman 16:06, 30 August 2012 (EDT)

Merriam-Webster (10th Edition, hardbound) says that "anticompetitive" dates from only 1952. It also says that "Doubting Thomas" is from 1883. But I'll change the dates based on your citations.
It's not surprising that there are some minor disputes about when the first use of a word occurred. But the disputes are not substantial enough to alter the overall trend of doubling by century. In fact, these changes may conform the data more closely to the geometric growth rate.--Andy Schlafly 16:19, 30 August 2012 (EDT)
Superb remark! In the meantime, I have had a closer look at the list. Most of the terms don't seem inherently conservative to me. For instance, do you really think illiteracy is a conservative word of the highest quality just because "liberals seek to produce illiterate voters who lack independence, and many graduates of the public schools are illiterate today"? With explanations like that, any word can be labeled conservative or liberal.
As to the geometric growth rate, have you considered that the total number of words in the English language shows a similar growth rate? Richman 11:40, 2 September 2012 (EDT)

Understanding the theory

Hi. I'm having some difficulty with this argument:

Conservative terms, expressing conservative insights, originate at a faster rate, and with much higher quality, than liberal terms. Conservative triumph over liberalism is thus inevitable.

If we're running this study from the start of the 17th century, then that's 400+ years in which conservatism has been growing steadily stronger due to outperforming liberalism in the generation of high quality terms and insights.

With that in mind, I can't find any good explanation why conservatism hasn't yet triumphed, unless we wish to argue that the world was an exceptionally liberal place prior to 1600.

Apologies if I've overlooked some other obvious implicit premise.

--JohanZ 18:16, 30 August 2012 (EDT)

Conservatism has triumphed on many, many issues. But just as food production has triumphed and far surpassed the demand for food consumption, some pockets of starvation still exist, and thus the triumph of conservatism does not mean that all pockets of liberalism have vanished.--Andy Schlafly 18:31, 30 August 2012 (EDT)
Is it possible to quantify (roughly) where we started c.1600 and where we're at now, then, in terms of conservatism v. liberalism? Taking a 10 point scale of 1 (untrammelled liberalism) to 10 (complete triumph of conservatism), what approximate values would you ascribe to 1600 and 2012?
I don't suggest adding them to the essay as such; more as a guide for setting the theory in its proper historical context.
--JohanZ 19:03, 30 August 2012 (EDT)
Perhaps society's conservatism was only "2" in 1600, and today it is "7". Perhaps a logarithmic scale (as with earthquakes) would be better than a linear scale. In 1600, the wealthiest person lacked a standard of living that many poor Americans enjoy today. Moreover, today there is immense opportunity for upward mobility in America, which did not exist in 1600.--Andy Schlafly 20:36, 30 August 2012 (EDT)

I just have a question about the page that isn't clear to me- is this stating that these conservative words were created by conservatives on the origin date and then the meaning OR that these words were appropriated on those origin dates and the example of meaning is how it was adopted and used?

Could be either. It's the meaning and term that are conservative, not necessarily the person who uses it. Conservative words and insights are available to help everyone.--Andy Schlafly 18:34, 25 November 2012 (EST)


I'm surprised you didn't approve of this word Andy, as it's a conservative-leaning way of describing learning in that it places importance on literature and other forms of classical art. WilcoxD 21:34, 28 November 2012 (EST)

Conservative is not synonymous with traditional. Conservative is more forward-looking, although it respects concepts that are time-tested (a word recently added to the list).--Andy Schlafly 23:22, 28 November 2012 (EST)


Andy, I added this one when I discovered that it was a word created by conservatives. Seems like a good reason for it being on the list, however please let me know if you think otherwise. WilcoxD 23:24, 28 November 2012 (EST)


Not sure whether to add this one. I know there's been discussions about zero with respect to biblical scientific foreknowledge ... should it be included? WilcoxD 23:27, 28 November 2012 (EST) PS. Sorry for all the edits - just getting into this list ;)

I don't see why zero would be a particularly conservative word. This is not a list of any words.--Andy Schlafly 23:46, 28 November 2012 (EST)

"pertinence" not a high enough standard?

Andy, could you please explain the characteristics which distinguish "addictive", "aerobics", "ambulance chaser", "axiomatic" and so on and so forth as less run-of-the-mill and of a higher standard than the word "pertinence"? In my opinion "pertinence" is a very good word, alluding to logic and insight - both of which appear as conservative values in the Conservatism template. Perhaps I can be a more constructive contributer if this is clear WilcoxD 23:41, 28 November 2012 (EST)

Falsifiable vs. Falsifiability

Again I'm unclear as to how one is more or less conservative than the other, and also why the youngest word takes precedence in the list over the older one. WilcoxD 20:55, 29 November 2012 (EST)

A pertinent question

Andy, would it be safe to say that, in this entire list, there is only room for one more word and that word must be from the 1700s? I feel like I'm wasting my time making what I consider to be constructive contributions (which are arguably of higher quality than many, many other entries) to this "Best Conservative Words" project. WilcoxD 21:06, 29 November 2012 (EST)

How can there be "room" for a particular number of words from a particular time? There are as many "best conservative words" in circulation at a given time as were in circulation--the model has to fit the data; the data can't fit the model. MattyD 13:58, 30 November 2012 (EST)
The words proposed for addition were "facilitator" and "Quaker", both of which are liberal concepts and certainly not conservative. Quakers did not even fight in the American Revolution, and tended to support abortion!
Good additions from any of the centuries are welcome, but they need to fit the high quality standards of the list.--Andy Schlafly 14:30, 30 November 2012 (EST)
Listener? Falsifiable? Fatherland? Pertinent? Oh well, at least words like "coolant" and "correlate" - which are clearly conservative - remain. WilcoxD 17:48, 2 December 2012 (EST)
Don't forget "transistor." And "Philadelphia." MattyD 18:22, 2 December 2012 (EST)
Philadelphia was founded on conservative principles -- as was the U.S. Constitution that was drafted there.--Andy Schlafly 19:17, 2 December 2012 (EST)
I have to agree with MattyD that "Philadelphia" is a particularly poor choice for this list. Nevertheless, I updated the entry to reflect that the name originates from the 2nd century BC and cities in the Near East at the time of Jesus. GregG 20:29, 2 December 2012 (EST)
EDIT By the way, if you want to keep up your "pattern" of doubling by century, you are going to need to find a total 2,097,152 "new conservative words" from the 20th century. Better get to work :P. GregG 20:34, 2 December 2012 (EST)
That's witty about doubling from the 2nd century BC, but the reality is that the English city name "Philadelphia" is not nearly so old.--Andy Schlafly 21:17, 2 December 2012 (EST)

Seeing as Philadelphia was one of the principle slave ports of its time, and most of the slaves in the colony and state of Pennsylvania lived in or near the city, I guess your argument about its foundation on conservative principles is confirmed. MattyD 12:41, 5 December 2012 (EST)


The explanation for the word "Philadelphia"'s (dated on the main page to 1682) being conservative is

coined by William Penn and meaning "city of brotherly love," the concept captures the "best of the public" approach

I'm confused by the 1682 date because the ancient city of Philadelphia in Asia minor was established in the 2nd century BC and it was named for the Greek for "brotherly love." So it's clear that the name "Philadelphia" is over 2000 years old. Moreover, the explanation for why "brotherly love" is conservative (that it "captures the 'best of the public' approach") appears to apply equally to any city named Philadelphia. I simply don't know why 1688 is listed as the origin date for a word that has existed for much longer--perhaps you can clarify so that there aren't any further misunderstandings. Thanks, GregG 00:04, 3 December 2012 (EST)

Hmm... that's an interesting point you have there GregG. If Philidelphia is indeed a conservative word and it dates back to the second century BC... that means there should be over 4,194,304 conservative words by now. Obviously, the author of this article only intended to include words in the English language, in which case, Philly (along with other non-English entries) should be removed from he list. --DonnyC 21:11, 5 December 2012 (EST)

"welfare to work"


House Republicans believe that Welfare to Work empowers mothers and helps to strengthen families. In the years following the passage of Welfare to Work, poverty among all single mothers fell by 30 percent and employment and earnings among single mothers increased significantly.

Although I see that the term was used by Democrats, I've re-added the term to the list. The 1996 welfare reform was a major Republican victory, exemplified by the term. GregG 00:39, 29 January 2013 (EST)

Proposed changes

1. Boomerang - the word was not used as a verb until the 1880s. I don't think that there is anything particularly conservative about the noun version of the word.

2. Cesspool - according to the OED this word is from the 1680s and in other examples on this page the Oxford etymology is chosen in preference over Merriam-Webster.

3. Quackery is a word often used by conservatives to describe unproven liberal nonsense in a similar way that claptrap is used to describe other liberal nonsense.

I'd also like clarification on how to know whether a stem word should be used in place of its root. For example, the entry "scapegoating" is based on the 1943 adjective version of the noun "scapegoat", which is from the 1500s - why?

Disputes at the margin are to be expected in a list like this. You've identified two questionable entries, but their inclusion is adequately explained in the comment section. Your third word, "quackery", is namecalling that conservatives rarely use. It is a smear word that has no place in this quality list.--Andy Schlafly 10:48, 31 January 2013 (EST)
As to your second issue, when a word goes to a level higher than the root (as "scapegoating" does), then its new date and usage are more relevant.--Andy Schlafly 10:50, 31 January 2013 (EST)
Mightn't some consider "claptrap" to be just as much a smear/namecalling word as quackery?
Also, my only dispute with boomerang is its date. It was used as a verb in the 1880s and since the explanation is for the word indicates it's the action of boomeranging (as opposed to a crooked stick) I think that date should be used. WilcoxD 17:33, 31 January 2013 (EST)

Conservative Words hypothesis is errant

I believe that once America and Europe start tasting the bitter fruits of - liberal economic policies (Eurocrisis and French economy will get worse, etc,), an overregulated private sector, big government, failing public schools with leftist ideology, a heavily aging population due to abortion (and other liberal ideology) and growing competition from an increasingly Christianized Eastern World and developing world - then they will sober up and become more conservative. In addition, strongly religious people are having more kids than secularists plus the liberal media is losing market share while conservative media is growing.

However, the two time election of Barack Obama, a ballooning U.S. federal deficit over the last 12 years, a liberal U.S. Supreme Court since the 1960s that continues to uphold Roe vs. Wade (and other liberal policies such as upholding ObamaCare) and a very liberal UK does not give me confidence that the Anglosphere has become more conservative over time in general - especially post 1960s. It has become more liberal.

In addition, words such as "galvanize" are not conservative. You are engaging in confirmation bias and trying to shoehorn words into your "Conservative Words hypothesis". I don't like the Anglosphere becoming more liberal since the 1960s and the failed policies will bear their bitter fruits in heapfuls on the horizon so things could reverse, but that doesn't give me a license to construct a false reality in the meantime. Plus, constructing a false reality is counterproductive. In order to effectively cure a problem, you have to recognize the full scope of the problem and not claim victory where there is no victory.

Bottom line: The Conservative Words hypothesis fails. Conservative 08:10, 31 January 2013 (EST)

I would agree that galvanize isn't a conservative word, it isn't a liberal word either it is a science/engineering word. It is word derived from the name of Luigi Galvani who found the galvanic series. Of which bought about the discovery of galvanization. However it can be political in certain situations and us from the conservative side of politics tend to work better together than those on the liberal side of politics (ie labor tearing itself apart and us in the liberal party counting down the days till our win on the 14th of september !) Dvergne 11:09, 31 January 2013 (EST)
Though not strongly conservative, "galvanize" has usage with respect to the grassroots, as in "galvanize the grassroots." Also, liberals tend to be pessimistic about what man can achieve with God, denying progress, while "galvanize" suggests the progress advocated by conservatives.--Andy Schlafly 11:30, 31 January 2013 (EST)
Andy, you have some good articles in terms of their content and titles such as Essay:The Invisible Hand of Marriage and Professor values, but also need to cut your losses for the clunkers like Essay:Best New Conservative Words. For example, to say that "galvanize" is not a strongly conservative word is quite an understatement since it is not conservative word at all. Conservative 14:55, 31 January 2013 (EST)
I don't doubt that certain groups of society use words with different, even characteristic frequencies. Have a lawyer and a nurse retell Grimm's Snow White, and you can guess who told which version using only the word-count!
That said, I'm surprised tby claim that certain words indicate a conservative leaning for more than 300 years! Languages are always changing, and preferences for words, too! I cannot talk about the English language with confidence - unfortunately I'm not getting all the subtleties - but here are two examples in German:
  1. using the abbreviation "BRD" for "Bundesrepublik Deutschland" during 1960-1990 was a clear indicator of a left-wing weltanschauung, but it became politically neutral over the last years.
  2. nowadays, the term "Nachhaltigkeit" (sustainability) isn't missing from any speech of any economist or politician, whether from the right or from the left. In the 1980s, it was used by environmentalists exclusively.
So there may be conservative and liberal concepts, but the language describing them is always changing.
Another problem: Over the last year, I saw examples of "perfect doublings" announced a couple of times. That seems to be rather improbable, statistically speaking, and indicates a manipulation of the data (confirmation bias) - as User:Conservative stated above.
--AugustO 16:01, 31 January 2013 (EST)
The fact that a perfect doubling has occurred many times with different layers tends to support, rather than undermine, the hypothesis that a perfect doubling is inherent in the language. Otherwise it would be very difficult for each layer to display a perfect doubling too!
Many stumble on the issue of whether the selection of terms is perfectly random. The selection of terms need not be random to conclude that a doubling by century intrinsically exists. Think about why.--Andy Schlafly 16:51, 31 January 2013 (EST)
Think about why. Because you have invented a new kind of statistics?
Using your method, we could show that there are as many Germans as there are Americans, just by alternately listing Germans and Americans! That could go on for quite a while, without proving anything about the real ratio. (Browsing through the archives, I see I'm not the first to point this out: see here and here)
--AugustO 16:57, 31 January 2013 (EST)
May I expect an answer to my comment above? --AugustO 19:30, 2 February 2013 (EST)

My problems with making any statistical conclusions

I will provide my honest opinion.

If this essay is meant to be a personal project in learning new vocabulary, etymology, and use of language, then it's certainly worthwhile. However, if the intent of this essay was to draw statistical conclusions, the methodology is so egregiously flawed that there is really nothing one can take away from the data in the essay.

Several methodology problems are the following:

  • There is no objective definition as to what constitutes a word, or a conservative word, for that matter. For some reason, abbreviations, proper names, and multiple-word terms appear on the list. Very similar terms are alternative counted as conservative or not (contrast "welfare queen" and "welfare to work", for example). The fact that there are several arguments on this very page as to whether or not words are conservative indicate that the notion of a "conservative word" is not well-defined.
  • The arbiter of whether or not a term is conservative appears to a strong interest in ensuring that the data collected fit into a predetermined "doubling" pattern. (In fact, it seems to me that this approach to the subject demonstrates a lack of open-mindedness that the empirical data may suggest a different conclusion than the one anticipated.) It's not even single blind, much less double blind.
  • There is no consistency as to the date assigned to a term. It appears to be the date a term became conservative. There is no objective calculation of the date assigned to a term (like, for example, consulting the OED for the oldest extant print reference to a word).
  • No comparison is made to the growth in the number of English terms since 1600 nor the growth of liberal terms over time.
  • The words are not randomly sampled. They appear to be inserted in order to fit a predetermined pattern. A better method to solve the problem would be to randomly select words from the dictionary.

In all, if you want to keep this as a side project just for the educational value, be my guest. However, if you want to draw mathematical or statistical conclusions from this essay, I would advise you not to, as it only serves to make us conservatives at Conservapedia appear sophomoric in mathematics, statistics, and logic. Thanks, GregG 20:22, 1 February 2013 (EST)

Good points. Let's revisit this at the end of the 21st century when we have another data point. RSchlafly 19:54, 2 February 2013 (EST)
Why so modest? Lets wait for the year 2700: then we'll see more than one conservative word each day! --AugustO 20:02, 2 February 2013 (EST)

"Act of God" dates back to at least 1787

In the case before the court, if the lessee had covenanted for himself and his assigns, to deliver up the tenements in good order and repair, notwithstanding they should be destroyed by act of God or of an Enemy, then this action would certainly lie, because of the special express words; but when there are no such words, but only generally to repair &c. would it be reasonable to construe these words so as to extend to the cases put?

Pollard v. Shaaffer, 1 U.S. 210, 213 (1 Dall. 210) (1787). GregG 01:15, 9 February 2013 (EST)

Superb research! I'll update the entry (you can also). I also learned something: the U.S. Reports include Pennsylvania Supreme Court decisions before the US Supreme Court was created.--Andy Schlafly 09:09, 9 February 2013 (EST)

Mardi Gras

Just thought I should let you know that Mardi Gras is on this site as an example of a Conservative word and also a secularized word. If I use it am I a conservative or a liberal-homosexual-atheist-evolutionist-leftist attempting to remove the Christian origins of our language? (Ic 15:23, 14 February 2013 (EST))


I have read the essay and skimmed through the huge archives of this talk page, but I didn't find any reference to a reliable, objective, independent definition of "best new conservative word". By the way, this is interesting reliable information on the increase of the total number of words in the English language. Onestone 02:34, 15 February 2013 (EST)


The vast majority of so-called "Conservative" words shown here are just words without any sort of difference between a Conservative use and a Liberal use (e.g. activism, addictive, aerobics, accuracy, alarmism, alcoholism, etc.). And somehow the statistics at the top of the page claim that the usage of "Conservative" words are growing at an exponential rate compared to "Liberal" words! It is clear that this is just a blatant example of fact-twisting employed in order to further Conservative propaganda. RaymondZ 17:23, 4 March 2013 (EST)

Reply to the above

I think some conflate a conservative word/idea/concept with whether the person using the word is a conservative or a liberal. A similar objection was raised to Greatest Conservative Songs, when people insisted that a particular song was sung by a liberal group, and therefore could not be conservative.

A liberal can wish someone "Merry Christmas," and is welcome to use other conservative terms. But such use would not detract from the conservative nature of the terms.--Andy Schlafly 17:56, 4 March 2013 (EST)

May I suggest

Antidisestablishmentarianism: 18th Century, Against the separation of church and state. Tory: 17th Century. Protestant: 16th Century. Dreadnaught: 20th Century. A large all big gun battleship. Aircraft-Carrier: 20th Century. Machine-gun: 19th Century. I will try to thing of more later--Patmac 19:57, 6 May 2013 (EDT)


Could someone please check the numbers of words per century? My count is somewhat differing from the official one:

Century # official # AugustO
1600s 32 32
1700s 64 64
1800s 127 129
1900s 256 258
2000s 27 (preliminary) 27

I'd rather like to see someone checking these numbers, it's so easy to make an error. --AugustO 04:46, 10 May 2013 (EDT)

Excellent work! There were some recent additions that are not high quality enough to remain, and not worthy of inclusion in the count. I'll revert them now.--Andy Schlafly 08:59, 10 May 2013 (EDT)
  • Thank you for your praise! But I'd like to see someone double-checking the numbers!
  • You removed coolant, a term you had introduced into the list on Aug 7, 2010. This implies that every one of the nine perfect geometric fits since August 2010 was false - and it highlights the problematic approach of your statistics, which I already mentioned above in #Conservative Words hypothesis is errant. I see that you haven't answered to my comments in that section...
--AugustO 11:00, 10 May 2013 (EDT)
Not "false", but lacking in a perfect understanding - which is what all knowledge is.--Andy Schlafly 11:17, 10 May 2013 (EDT)
I share a critical view of the "Best New Conservative Words" with many on these talk-pages. Before you erased "coolant" from the list, I had the following working definition:
A conservative word is a term which Andrew Schlafly likes.
Now, I have refined this to:
A conservative word is a term which Andrew Schlafly likes today.
Please excuse this flippant approach, but I've yet to see an objective definition of the term "conservative word", something which would allow even me to decide whether a certain word (perhaps even a German one) is conservative or not.
--AugustO 12:21, 10 May 2013 (EDT)
It's an atheistic quality to think that stubbornness in a position is an admirable trait, as in someone who rejects God as a college student and then clings for decades to that mistaken belief without genuinely reconsidering it.--Andy Schlafly 13:47, 10 May 2013 (EDT)
Objections to "coolant" were made, and upon reflection the objections had validity. I don't see why anyone would criticize someone for making an improvement.--Andy Schlafly 13:47, 10 May 2013 (EDT)
It's always good to rethink one's position, but generally a change should be induced by new information. The last time someone criticized "coolant" (this was a year ago), you answered:
"Motivation" is a far more conservative term - one can find motivation whether the playing field islevel or not. "Quantify" is logic, which is an essential difference between conservative and liberal approaches. "Coolant" is an essential part of nuclear energy -- which liberals loathe.
What has changed your opinion? Why is "coolant" not longer conservative, but "motivation" or "quantify" are? Why is "transistor" a conservative word, but not "diode". Is an "ordered pair" more conservative than a "vector"? "Decrypt" more conservative than "encrypt" or "decode"? "Countability" is conservative, but what about "computability"? "Conservative field" is conservative, because it is in its name, duh?
You have given no systematic approach for the detection of conservative words, it is all very fuzzy (but that's no problem, because "fuzzy math" is a conservative word, other than "chaos theory").
It is very difficult to take this seemingly random list of words serious, and the statistics behind it are even shadier (see e.g., #Conservative Words hypothesis is errant. Could you please come up with a working definition for the term "conservative word"? --AugustO 15:20, 11 May 2013 (EDT)

Silver Lining

Actually the first mention of clouds having silver linings is in "Comus", a Masque by John Milton, first performed in 1632. A young lady, lost and alone in a forest with night approaching is encouraged by the phenomenon:
Was I deceived, or did a sable cloud
Turn forth her silver lining on the night?
I did not err; there does a sable cloud
Turn forth her silver lining on the night
And cast a gleam over this tufted grove.

Dickens played on the allusion in "Bleak House" in 1852 and the 1871 reference was, I assume, by Samuel Smiles. AlanE 03:47, 27 June 2013 (EDT)

That's fascinating. Perhaps Dickens (1852) should be created for first popularizing the figurative meaning?--Andy Schlafly 09:30, 27 June 2013 (EDT)
Morning all...Dickens wrote: "I turn my silver lining outward like Milton's cloud." I believe though that by the mid 19th century the phrase "Every cloud has a silver lining" had become recognised as a proverb.

And while we're sorta on Milton, try pandemonium and trip the light fantastic. AlanE 17:05, 27 June 2013 (EDT)


I'm struggling to see why it is so crucial that a perfect doubling is achieved. It doesn't prove anything, and looking down the page some words don't seem very conservative at all. Jacob Anderson 19:07, 29 June 2013 (EDT)

The ease of finding conservative words in a doubling pattern does prove something, just as easy discovery of gold in a stream would prove how valuable that stream is, and cause a gold rush. Surely no one denies the significance of correlations and probabilities.--Andy Schlafly 23:15, 29 June 2013 (EDT)
I'm assuming that Mr. Schlafly is compiling the list for his own edification (which is certainly a noble and worthwhile endeavor) and is not trying to use it as statistical evidence (because it has zero statistical value for all the reasons I've mentioned previously). GregG 23:20, 29 June 2013 (EDT)
The ease of finding new conservative words in a pattern that doubles by century is significant, just as easily finding some gold nuggets in a stream would be highly significant.--Andy Schlafly 23:42, 29 June 2013 (EDT)
As a mathematician, I can tell you that because of the problems with your methodology that I have already pointed out, there is zero statistical significance for what you have done. To make a helpful analogy, your methodology would be equivalent to someone who wants to show that the number of instances of the letter "E" in the Bible (KJV) doubles with each book and thus picks out one occurrence of the letter "E" in Genesis, two in Exodus, four in Leviticus, eight in Numbers, etc. If your methodology were correct, then Revelation should have an e-normous number of "E"'s (pun intended). As a second example, if your methodology is correct, why not trim examples from the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries to increase the rate of growth to tripling by century, quadrupling by century, or even more. The absurdity of these examples points out the fundamental flaw with your methodology: the words selected are not a random sample but appear to be selected in a calculated manner to fit your predetermined doubling pattern. GregG 00:01, 30 June 2013 (EDT)
Even if your methodology was correct, I fail to see how significant the "perfect doubling" is, or if it is even significant at all. Furthermore, how do you even define a word as being conservative. There are words like "competitive" and "veracity" to name a few, and while they are... words, I see no possibility of them having especially conservative roots.

I agree with you on many issues Mr. Schlafly, but I think we'll have to agree to disagree on this one, Jacob Anderson 08:07, 30 June 2013 (EDT)

The doubling pattern was not the initial expectation. Rather, the existence of that pattern quickly emerged and has been repeatedly confirmed, layer after layer, over 30 times.
The specific objections above are like arguing that a DNA match is meaningless if an investigator was looking for the match. Also, no one rebutted the analogy of the significance of easily finding gold nuggets in a stream.
As to the objection that the words are not conservative, I don't see how that can seriously doubted. And, indeed, one Conservapedia visitor ran an analysis of political speeches and confirmed that conservatives use these words more than liberals do.--Andy Schlafly 10:40, 30 June 2013 (EDT)
I think your critics might give you more credit if you provided a meaningful definition of what constitutes a conservative word. JZ 15:37, 30 June 2013 (EDT)
A conservative word is an expression of a conservative insight or value. E.g., "accountability" is a conservative word because it expresses the value of individual responsibility and not blaming others as liberals often do (e.g., Obama blaming Bush years later).--Andy Schlafly 17:24, 30 June 2013 (EDT)
Is there some way to program a computer or otherwise write objective standards for a panel to judge (1) whether a string of characters constitutes a "word" and (2) whether such a string qualifies as "conservative"? This would greatly enhance the project, as then a computer can comb through the entire dictionary to determine the prevalence of conservative words by century, rendering the random sampling problems (and they are big problems) moot. GregG 22:52, 30 June 2013 (EDT)
I think that would be nearly impossible to do - to write a computer program to recognize the political connotations of a word.--Andy Schlafly 23:53, 30 June 2013 (EDT)

Another thought ...

Does anyone want to count the words from 1650-1749, 1750-1849 and 1850-1949? if the doubling holds true then we should find the same pattern in these periods. WilcoxD 00:21, 1 July 2013 (EDT)

Vandal vs. Vandalism

Andy, would you please explain why "vandal" is not a Conservative word? Also, what difference is there that qualifies "vandalism" in its place? WilcoxD 19:56, 30 June 2013 (EDT)

"Vandal" is a pejorative name for an individual. Conservative words are about ideas and practices, not some bad apples.--Andy Schlafly 19:58, 30 June 2013 (EDT)
No worries. In that case we should change "idealist" to "idealism" and correct the date. Incidentally, the date listed was for philosophical idealism, ie. the believe that reality is made up of nothing more than ideas. Idealism in the sense of representing things in their "ideal" form came much later. WilcoxD 21:55, 30 June 2013 (EDT)

conservative word hypothesis falsified - the word "conservatism" appears to have dropped in usage since the 1960s

The word "conservatism" appears to have dropped in usage in books since the 1960s according to the massive database of 500 billion words in Google books: Google engram data - conservatism.

This would appear to falsify the conservative words hypothesis.

But given the massive debt run up by liberals, the swell of liberalism since the 1960s will likely dry up when severe fiscal austerity hits the Western World because the present economic system in the West is unsustainable. Conservative 18:31, 7 September 2013 (EDT)

"-ism" is usually a pejorative ending, as in "isolationism". Hence the decline in use of "conservatism" supports the thesis that conservative words are rapidly increasing.--Andy Schlafly 23:36, 8 September 2013 (EDT)
Since the mid 1960s use of the word "conservative" stopped growing percentage wise in usage and then post 2000 use of the word started to fall as can be seen HERE. The world "conservative" though can be used outside of politics. But there is some correlation to someone who is "conservative" in their spending habits (and other habits) and them being a political conservative though. Conservative 04:55, 9 September 2013 (EDT)
Check out the usage of the word "Schlafly" HERE. Is Schlafly a conservative word? :) Conservative 05:00, 9 September 2013 (EDT)

I'm not sure I'm following the logic here. According to Mr. Schlafly's hypothesis, the total number of conservative words are increasing over time, not necessarily the individual usage of a particular word. Also as the number of words that describe the same concept increase, odds that a particular word will be employed would be expected to decrease. It's possible that certain words fall in and out of favor regardless of the concept they embody. I think it's unwise to announce the falsification of a hypothesis based on the results of a Google analysis. After all, the same tool also shows a sharp decline in "heliocentrism". --DonnyC 09:55, 9 September 2013 (EDT)

Statistical approach

Perhaps we could find a number of English dictionaries compiled at various times in history and graph the total number of dictionary entries in comparison with the number of conservative words at those points in time. A better measure might be the ratio of conservative words/total number of dictionary entries rather than the absolute number of conservative words. One theory is that there were fewer words in the English language, and words had not yet entered the language to describe economic concepts which were still evident and accepted as fact. There is no reason to believe that society in the 1600s and 1700s were less conservative than today, but rather they did not have specialized words to discuss the issues of that day. Thanks, Wschact 09:33, 10 September 2013 (EDT)

The problem, as I see it, keeps returning to the same point: what is a conservative word? Despite repeated requests for clarification, no coherent definition of what constitutes a conservative word has been forthcoming. There appears to be no objective filter that can be readily applied. The only filtering agent seems to be Mr. Schlafly's imagination. To be fair, Schlafly could be applying a very rigorous methodology behind-the-scenes... but to date he has been somewhat reticent in sharing his criteria with the rest of us. --DonnyC 11:09, 10 September 2013 (EDT)
In response to Wschact, he presents a hypothesis, but I don't think it comports with the evidence. The English language does grow, but it doesn't double in size per century, as conservative terms have. It would not be possible to discover the geometric growth in conservative terms if there was not such a rapid expansion. And this growth is consistent with the growth in percentages of those who self-identify as conservative, and in amazing conservative victories on issues liberals expect to win (such as gun control).--Andy Schlafly 21:30, 10 September 2013 (EDT)
In response to DonnyC, choosing conservative words is not a precise science, but it is more scientific than most of what liberals consider to be science. The conservative nature of nearly every term on the list can hardly be disputed.--Andy Schlafly 21:33, 10 September 2013 (EDT)
Thank you for your thoughts. However, suppose there was a considerable increase in English word vocabulary from 1600 to 2010. As the leisure time expanded and the literature expanded, society became more refined in its thinking. Just as Eskimos developed 100 different words for snow, economic theory and social commentary grew more refined, and the number of words relevant to talking about conservatism grew. So, we need to control for the total number of English words in active use. For example, suppose someone developed a list of "liberal words" over time. It could be that the number of conservative words and the number of liberal words both grew between 1600 and 2010 because the total number of English words grew during that time. What would be more relevant was whether the ratio of conservative words/total words grew faster than the ratio of liberal words/total words. In response to DonnyC, one could use other measures of the growth in public acceptance of conservative thought instead of classifying words. For example, one could look a public opinion polling data, or election results where self-identified conservative candidate ran, or the enactment of key conservative policies over time. Thanks. Wschact 23:36, 10 September 2013 (EDT)
The English language as a whole does grow over time, but not at a geometric rate. Yet conservative terms do grow geometrically, which demonstrates that the ratio of conservative to non-conservative words is increasing.--Andy Schlafly 00:07, 12 September 2013 (EDT)
Mr. Schlafly stated "...choosing conservative words is not a precise science, but it is more scientific than most of what liberals consider to be science." For the sake of brevity, I'm only going to respond to the first part of this statement. I fully accept the fact that the identification of conservative words and phrases is not an "precise science". Frankly it doesn't appear to be much more than a unsubstantiated assertion at this point. If this phenomenon was so obvious and undisputed, dictionary entries would look like this:
  • charisma \kə-ˈriz-mə\ conservative noun - a personal magic of leadership arousing special popular loyalty or enthusiasm...
  • cheapskate \ˈchēp-ˌskāt\ liberal noun - a pejorative word to describe the thrifty spending habits of fiscally responsible conservatives...
But dictionaries don't look like that, do they? If this trend truly exists independent of Mr. Schlafly's own personal word selection talents, then there should be an objective standard for determining the political etymology of a word. What is that standard? --DonnyC 10:59, 12 September 2013 (EDT)
I agree with Mr. Schlafly that the English language probably grows arithmetically. The question is how to control for that fact. Let's assume that English grows at 5,000 words per century:
Century # Cons. Words # English Words Ratio
1600s 32 200,000 .00016
1700s 64 205,000 .000156
1800s 127 210,000 .000648
1900s 256 215,000 .00119
2000s 27 (preliminary) 215,500 .0001253

I am assuming that if 5,000 words are added each century, 500 would be added per decade in an arithmetic growth model. If conservative thought is taking over the hearts and minds of English speaking people, one would expect the ratio of conservative words/total English vocabulary to grow, not just the absolute number of conservative words to grow. (This is an illustration; I would need to have actual statistics on dictionary sizes through history to plot the two effects over time.) Thanks, Wschact 23:44, 12 September 2013 (EDT)

I welcome the criticism and doubts. But I think, upon reflection, that conservative terminology is expected to grow exponentially due to how conservatism is connected more closely to logic than liberalism is. How often are liberal terms of the 1960s used today? Not much, nor would one expect the self-centered liberal wording to grow over time, as selfless conservative terms do.--Andy Schlafly 13:37, 13 September 2013 (EDT)

Criteria for inclusion in the list

What determines when a new word becomes an accepted part of the English language? For example, someone today added the word "Barry-cades" to the list. While any Conservative can coin a new phrase to make a political point, there is no evidence that the word has wide-spread adoption. If this is just a collection of witty Conservative phrases, then the essay is making the point that people who are making up new words are doing so at an exponential rate, without regard to the public picking up on each new turn of phrase. However, if there is a serious criteria for adoption into English, then 1) we must police the list based on some criteria on "widespread use" and 2) we must have criteria for checking the date/decade of widespread adoption. Thanks, Wschact 02:47, 6 October 2013 (EDT)

Criteria should be is it in use. A quick Google search shows that it is. Second, is it listed in Merriam's. No it is not. --Jpatt 04:32, 6 October 2013 (EDT)

Uncertainty principle

The notion that the Heisenberg uncertainty principle says something about general "chaos", or the "running down" of the universe, or the lifetime of humans being nearly always under 120 years, or the impossibility of perpetual motion machines is a naive misperception that has gone on for too long.

Under the Copenhagen interpretation, the uncertainty is not revealed until the wave function collapses, which, in layman's terms, means until we open Schrödinger's box and look at the cat. Until then, the wave function is exact and eternal. It does not "run down". For example, the wave function of a Hydrogen atom in the ground state is

Forever. The Hydrogen atom really is a perpetual motion machine. (Except for issues involving GUT's, which are outside of Quantum mechanics per se.)

Furthermore, there are animals that commonly live to be much older than 120 years, and trees that live into the thousands. The matter in living things is controlled by the same quantum mechanics, no matter what the species. Finite lifetimes arise from biological issues that have nothing to do with the uncertainty principle.

SamHB 23:51, 10 January 2014 (EST)


Why is baseball a Conservative word?--JoeyJ 12:20, 28 May 2014 (EDT)

It's explained - the players and fans of baseball are overwhelmingly conservative, it's one of the few sports that is governed by rules rather than a clock, and it's an American original.--Andy Schlafly 14:22, 28 May 2014 (EDT)
What does "American original" mean? You know it's an old English game, right?--JoanneL 20:18, 29 May 2014 (EDT)
I'm skeptical that baseball has any meaningful British origin. Cricket, which is quite different, is the comparable sport there.--Andy Schlafly 20:32, 29 May 2014 (EDT)
Baseball was played in England in the 18th century. The pitch was a triangle but the rules were basically the same. The diamond pitch was adapted from rounders. That's another English game and baseball is a regional (Wales and north-west) variation of it.--JoanneL 21:42, 29 May 2014 (EDT)
This an interesting discussion, but the following authority recounts the history and concludes that "This is not enough to conclude that the game we know today as Baseball is a British game": [4]--Andy Schlafly 21:59, 29 May 2014 (EDT)
Hey thanks, that's a good source! OTOH it does make clear that baseball was played in England a long time ago. It wasn't exactly the same as modern baseball, but we always change the rules. Like how football is a US version of Rugby because we changed stuff.--JoanneL 23:01, 29 May 2014 (EDT)
Britain deserves credit for lots of things, but not everything, and there should be more discussion of why Britain has declined so much.--Andy Schlafly 23:48, 29 May 2014 (EDT)
I grew up on a USAF base in England but I've only been back like twice since I was a kid, so I don't know if it's declining, but it seems silly to argue that baseball didn't come from there. Yes, the modern rules developed in the US, but all games change over time.--JoanneL 00:22, 30 May 2014 (EDT)
But there are also liberal baseball-fans.--JoeyJ 15:09, 28 May 2014 (EDT)
There are liberal fans of conservative songs and movies, too. Indeed, liberals sometimes use conservative words, but that does not make the words any less conservative.--Andy Schlafly 19:57, 28 May 2014 (EDT)
Alexander Cartwright is often called the "father of baseball". He worked in the 1800s banking community which was very conservative. He later served as a merchant sea captain. Captains/bosses tend to be conservative (bosses tend to be Republicans [5]).
In addition, baseball is related to the bat, ball and running games of cricket and rounders which were pre-Charles Darwin English folk games. Unlike Darwinism, folk games are grassroots, popular activities and not imposed on the populace from liberal elitist "know-it-alls"! Pre-Darwinist England produced the King James Bible and the Christian classic Pilgrim's Progress which unlike Darwinism have stood the test of time in the quality of their workmanship.
Like conservatism, baseball is a very methodical, rules based, and slow moving game that honors tradition and resists radical innovations.
Furthermore, Pete Rose was stripped of his all time hits record after his gambling activities. Gambling is a most unconservative activity.
There you have it. Baseball is a conservative word! Conservative 16:08, 29 May 2014 (EDT)

A final note: Baseball bats are fairly sturdy/heavy wooden implements. If baseball were a liberal sport, the bats would be much lighter in order to accommodate effete, limp-wristed liberals! Conservative 16:44, 29 May 2014 (EDT)

Rolling Coal

I think this new form of protest (not actually a new thing) should be added to the list of conservative words. CraigF2 14:02, 16 July 2014 (EDT)

Interesting suggestion. "Rolling coal" is not in my dictionary, and I'm not familiar with the concept. Let's see if others have an opinion about this.--Andy Schlafly 14:12, 16 July 2014 (EDT)
I've heard about this before in automotive communities, with everyone HATING those who roll coal, and I myself was close to writing an article on it. It's basically a bunch of stupid people who feel that they're "so cool", so they attach huge pipes to their lifted trucks (almost always Big Three), and hurt their engines by blowing coal out the pipes. The EPA has called this practice illegal. However, I read on Autoblog or something that they're investigating whether rolling coal is as environmentally harmful as doing burnouts. I can find a lot of articles about rolling coal. Atum 17:15, 16 July 2014 (EDT)

Parochial Schools

Andy, you are century or two off with your “parochial schools” edit. At least as far back as the early 1600s Scotland was using a system, whereby all parishes were to operate parochial schools to teach basic literacy and Biblical knowledge to the children of the parish. As you know; “parochial” is the adjective of “parish”. This was a long time before the concept, let alone the reality, of ‘public schools” came into being. AlanE 23:22, 18 July 2014 (EDT)

Public schools started early in colonial Massachusetts, well before the United States was formed. I don't doubt your history about Scotland, but the term "parochial school" is in contrast with "public schools." Merriam-Webster says that the term "parochial school" started in 1755, and that seems about right.--Andy Schlafly 00:03, 19 July 2014 (EDT)
I bow to your superior ideology. Perhaps I may ask what the term "Public school" means within the context of the 17th/18th century compared to its current "liberal" concept. AlanE 02:12, 19 July 2014 (EDT)
I don't think it is a matter of ideology - Merriam-Webster gives the date or origin, and it is consistent with history. Public schools were not as liberal in the 17th and 18th centuries, but they were not parochial either, so a similar contrast between the two types of schools existed then, as now.--Andy Schlafly 21:00, 20 July 2014 (EDT)


"Typewriter" is a great addition, but Merriam-Webster gives a date of origin of 1868, not the date earlier in the 1800s just entered here. Does anyone have more info about this?--Andy Schlafly 21:00, 20 July 2014 (EDT)

Here is the citation from OED: "1868 C. L. Sholes et al. U.S. Patent 79,265 23 June 4 Thus made, the type-writer is the simplest, most perfectly adapted to its work." PeterKa 00:56, 21 July 2014 (EDT)
Excellent find!--Andy Schlafly 00:58, 21 July 2014 (EDT)
Here is an image of a page from the application. PeterKa 01:01, 21 July 2014 (EDT)

Act of God

I suggest we use the 1635 origin as recorded in Merriam-Webster. Saying that it originated in law is saying that a term used used to absolve somebody of responsibility is Conservative. This is most likely liberal misuse of the previously Conservative word. I will put it back again, but if you are still in doubt I suggest moving it to one of the other lists.

De Minimis

  • Andy, you overwrote deregulation: was this intentionally?
  • The edit-count jumped from 300 to 302. Seems to be time for a recount.
  • How on earth is this term conservative?

--AugustO 18:23, 13 June 2015 (EDT)

Great catch! I added deregulation back, which is surely conservative. The 302 is the correct count because I forgot to increment the total when I added "passive-aggressive".
"de minimis" is a conservative concept which facilitates focusing what is important (e.g., life, the Bible, church) against liberal attempts to confuse priorities. Jesus made violations of the Old Testament rules excusable when de minimis. for example.--Andy Schlafly 18:44, 13 June 2015 (EDT)
I would agree with you if this phrase had been around since the 17th or 18th century, introduced by theologians to make such a point. But you refer to the phrase as used since 1948: it was invented by lawyers, and is used in contexts like "Commission Notice on agreements of minor importance which do not appreciably restrict competition under Article 81(1) of the Treaty establishing the European Community (de minimis)"... --AugustO 19:11, 13 June 2015 (EDT)
I don't think the source of the word is dispositive. It is conservative to look beyond materialism to a greater truth. "Opportunity cost" is an example, which is also on the list.--Andy Schlafly 19:36, 13 June 2015 (EDT)
Sorry, for a short moment I took your concept of Best New Conservative Words serious again. Then I read Talk:Essay:Best New Conservative Words#Recount again, and the memory came back: not "false", but lacking in a perfect understanding must be the conservative version of fake, but accurate... --AugustO 14:39, 14 June 2015 (EDT)

Recount, again...

I copied the list into a spreadsheet and counted the lines: 592. The official count is 591. Four years ago I tried to add a fourth numeric column containing the decade of the creation (or perhaps just the century) to facilitate a count, as at the moment the column origin date isn't purely numeric. This was deleted. So I'm not inclined to put any work into a manual recount. --AugustO 09:36, 14 June 2015 (EDT)

Still one off... --AugustO 13:53, 22 June 2015 (EDT)
I get "301" for the 1900s, but the 1600s, 1700s, and 1800s are correct.--Andy Schlafly 15:28, 22 June 2015 (EDT)
Again, I'd advice you to add a fourth, purely numerical columns for the decade, just to facilitate recounts. BTW, take a look here --AugustO 18:05, 22 June 2015 (EDT)

I am confused

I am confused by this entry. Conservatism means defending the status quo, and so is against creating anything new. Radicalism means bringing about change. Ergo, bringing about new words is being radical, not conservative. Carltonio (talk) 11:48, 2 August 2020 (EDT)


Why is the word "algorithm" down here, and dated as originating in 1849? I thought the word "algorithm" was much older than that, and took its name from the Islamic scholar al-Kwarismi. Carltonio (talk) 02:11, 3 August 2020 (EDT)

Pelosi Pawn

I have no doubt that we will marvel about the Great Awakening in fifty years time. But somehow I cannot fathom talking about Pelosi pawns in a decade from now. Should such a short-lived expression really be seen as on of the best new conservative words? --AugustO (talk) 15:02, August 2, 2021 (EDT)