Difference between revisions of "Conservative"

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A '''conservative''' is one who adheres to principles of limited government, personal responsibility and moral virtue.  He or she may agree with the statement in George Washington's [[Farewell Address]] that "religion and morality are indispensable supports" to political prosperity.<ref>http://usinfo.state.gov/usa/infousa/facts/democrac/49.htm</ref> Conservatism arose in the 19th century as a response to [[liberalism]], particularly as manifested in the [[French Revolution]].
 
A '''conservative''' is one who adheres to principles of limited government, personal responsibility and moral virtue.  He or she may agree with the statement in George Washington's [[Farewell Address]] that "religion and morality are indispensable supports" to political prosperity.<ref>http://usinfo.state.gov/usa/infousa/facts/democrac/49.htm</ref> Conservatism arose in the 19th century as a response to [[liberalism]], particularly as manifested in the [[French Revolution]].
  
In the United States, conservatives are generally characterized by the following beliefs:
 
  
* National defense and high military spending
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== What is a Conservative? ==
* Return of prayer in school
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* Stronger protection of 2nd Amendment rights (weaker gun control laws)
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* Economic allocative efficiency (as opposed to popular equity)
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* Stronger law enforcement and anti-crime laws, including the death penalty
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* Prevention of teaching sexual education in public schools
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* Abandonment of public schools in favor of private, particularly using tuition vouchers
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* Private medical care and retirement plans
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* Strong, unilateral foreign policy
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* Weakening or cancellation of failed social support programs
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* Government restrictions on same-sex marriage and abortion
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* A penchant for hypocrisy (however, this extends to the Democrats as well
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* General ignorance about the world outside US borders
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* Failure to actually follow the principles of moral virtue
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* Complete disregard of the 1st Amendment
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Many conservatives hold a strong [[libertarian]] conviction in the belief that the state should not interfere with the [[economy]], [[gun control]], and the redistribution of wealth.
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Jonah Goldberg wrote a excellent piece on this in [[National Review]] Which is quoted, in part, below...
  
About every 20-60 years, a conservative has been elected president of the United States.  Examples include:
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"In the United States, conservatives are generally characterized by the following beliefs:
  
<br>[[James Monroe]]
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*1. A deep suspicion of the power of the state.
<br>[[James Polk]]
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<br>[[Abraham Lincoln]]
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<br>[[Grover Cleveland]]
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<br>[[William Hoard Taft]]
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<br>[[Warren G. Harding]]
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<br>[[Ronald Reagan]]
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<br>[[George W. Bush]]
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*2. A preference for liberty over equality.
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*3. Patriotism.
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*4. A belief in established institutions and hierarchies.
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*5. Skepticism about the idea of progress.
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*6. Elitism.
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Points 2, 4, 5, and 6 run obviously counter to the idea that things can ever be perfectly harmonious. Preferring liberty over equality means preferring inequalities in some circumstances. Acceptance of established institutions and hierarchies is obviously anathema to those seeking an organic balance where everyone fulfills their destiny equally and happily. Ditto acceptance of elitism, which is simply the belief that at the end of the day there are some people who are going to be better at a given thing than other people, and education, welfare, and other “interventions” by the state won’t change that. In other words, point 1. As for point 5, this runs against the grain of Hegel-based worldviews that assume that merely ripping pages off a calendar gets us closer to the eschatological kewpie doll at the End of Days.
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All that leaves is point 3, patriotism. Now, patriotism and nationalism are very different things and there are many people on the right and left who think nationalism is definitionally conservative or right-wing. This is nonsense on very tall stilts.  Patriotism, however is merely the devotion to a set of ideals, rooted in history, and attached to a specific place. And once again we are spun back to [[Hayek]]. To a certain extent patriotism is conservatism, in the same way that being a [[Christian]] involves some level of conservatism. It is a devotion to a set of principles set forth in the past and carried forward to today and, hopefully, tomorrow. (I wish it weren’t necessary to point out that this is a non-partisan point: Patriotic [[liberals]] are holding dear some aspects of our past as well.) What we call patriotism is often merely the content we use to fill-up the amoral conservatism discussed above. Axiomatically, if you are unwilling to conserve any of the institutions, customs, traditions, or principles inherent to this country you simply aren’t patriotic (and, as a side note, the more you think the U.N. is the savior of the world, the less patriotic you are."
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[http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=ZWMxNWNiNDJkY2JmNTExY2E1MzdkYWU3MWU1MTBiOGU=]
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Some Conservatives hold a strong [[libertarian]] conviction in the belief that the state should not interfere with the [[economy]], [[gun control]], and the redistribution of wealth.
  
 
In America, most conservatives tend to align with the [[Republican Party]] or the [[Libertarian Party]].
 
In America, most conservatives tend to align with the [[Republican Party]] or the [[Libertarian Party]].

Revision as of 20:35, 15 March 2007

A conservative is one who adheres to principles of limited government, personal responsibility and moral virtue. He or she may agree with the statement in George Washington's Farewell Address that "religion and morality are indispensable supports" to political prosperity.[1] Conservatism arose in the 19th century as a response to liberalism, particularly as manifested in the French Revolution.


What is a Conservative?

Jonah Goldberg wrote a excellent piece on this in National Review Which is quoted, in part, below...

"In the United States, conservatives are generally characterized by the following beliefs:

  • 1. A deep suspicion of the power of the state.
  • 2. A preference for liberty over equality.
  • 3. Patriotism.
  • 4. A belief in established institutions and hierarchies.
  • 5. Skepticism about the idea of progress.
  • 6. Elitism.

Points 2, 4, 5, and 6 run obviously counter to the idea that things can ever be perfectly harmonious. Preferring liberty over equality means preferring inequalities in some circumstances. Acceptance of established institutions and hierarchies is obviously anathema to those seeking an organic balance where everyone fulfills their destiny equally and happily. Ditto acceptance of elitism, which is simply the belief that at the end of the day there are some people who are going to be better at a given thing than other people, and education, welfare, and other “interventions” by the state won’t change that. In other words, point 1. As for point 5, this runs against the grain of Hegel-based worldviews that assume that merely ripping pages off a calendar gets us closer to the eschatological kewpie doll at the End of Days.

All that leaves is point 3, patriotism. Now, patriotism and nationalism are very different things and there are many people on the right and left who think nationalism is definitionally conservative or right-wing. This is nonsense on very tall stilts. Patriotism, however is merely the devotion to a set of ideals, rooted in history, and attached to a specific place. And once again we are spun back to Hayek. To a certain extent patriotism is conservatism, in the same way that being a Christian involves some level of conservatism. It is a devotion to a set of principles set forth in the past and carried forward to today and, hopefully, tomorrow. (I wish it weren’t necessary to point out that this is a non-partisan point: Patriotic liberals are holding dear some aspects of our past as well.) What we call patriotism is often merely the content we use to fill-up the amoral conservatism discussed above. Axiomatically, if you are unwilling to conserve any of the institutions, customs, traditions, or principles inherent to this country you simply aren’t patriotic (and, as a side note, the more you think the U.N. is the savior of the world, the less patriotic you are."

[1]

Some Conservatives hold a strong libertarian conviction in the belief that the state should not interfere with the economy, gun control, and the redistribution of wealth.

In America, most conservatives tend to align with the Republican Party or the Libertarian Party.

In the United Kingdom the present parliamentary opposition party is called the Conservative party [2]and as it's name suggests hold traditional conservative views. Its current leader is David Cameron.

References

Conservative party UK <http://www.conservatives.com/>
  1. http://usinfo.state.gov/usa/infousa/facts/democrac/49.htm