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TheOldBarn

What is your definition of Conservatism

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Earlier today I wrote a bit of dialogue entitled, "What is Conservatism, today and in the past", and the text below was populated by an earlier post I had made regarding the outcome of the vote for a senate seat in Alabama. I made some type of error, not sure how. I spent some time composing it, and then lost my thought... I'm sure I hit on some ideas that are hard to resurrect, we all know how that story goes.

 

But what is the true meaning of conservatism, was my question. I know we have threads discussing liberalism and the liberal mind. If we could be so sure of what we define of liberalism what would differentiate it from conservative values, and also what might be similar if we compare the two. 

 

Philosophically I waxed how in business school they might assert that capitalism and self interest motivates a person to create something grand that might not have ever been realized  - how capitalism's soul, or sole good is measured in this invisible way, a byproduct if you will creating a market for necessary goods, a new productivity that synthesizes common good for the many in someway. 

 

Originally, the word conservative, to me meant keeping things that are good, recognizing good strategy or framework that works, government and social fabrics, etc..., and maintaining while at the same time building upon this framework for the betterment of all. 

 

It wasn't the opposite of liberal, it did not mean to wipe out the word liberal or call it foolish. it was not bent on ideology, it wasn't bent on trying the same old thing that never worked in the past again and again. I thought it was different than that.

 

Mohammad Yunus, the guy who came up with the term microfinance preaches that entrepreneurs should not work towards their own self interest but instead only need to focus on solving problems. IN this way he says young people need to focus more on what is truly needed in any society. In economics there is the focus on elasticity or how one economic variable creates demand in another. And this whole thing goes down all the time in cyclic measurement. Part of the problem inherent in this type of system is waste of resource which to me is the end-all and be-all that does trickle down to all people, usually the poorest among us, first and foremost.

 

Conservatism, let me pen down these things, conservation of natural resources, freedom of speech, freedom from oligarchy, freedom of the press, freedom to hold firm on the bottom line.

 

I am not talking about the Republican Party as it is nowadays mind you. Anyway, I thought it might be good to start a thread on what you might define as conservatism, to possibly extol some of its positive virtues. 

 

Peace!

 

 

 

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Conservatism is basically a meaningless word - not that it's without meaning, but that it means whatever people decide it does.

 

Since it's a word, people flounder around to define it, but practically, what it now means is, pretty propaganda word for plutocracy - a mask for plutocracy.

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Well, I agree with the last part of what you say here.

4 hours ago, Craig234 said:

Conservatism is basically a meaningless word - not that it's without meaning, but that it means whatever people decide it does.

 

Since it's a word, people flounder around to define it, but practically, what it now means is, pretty propaganda word for plutocracy - a mask for plutocracy.

 

but if it is just a word, so too is liberalism. Just a word. And propaganda is a word as well. All depending on how you define words individually or might they have some meaning placed together and not simply in juxtaposition. It would be wise to save is not something a conservative mind thinks with the rationale we see by Republicans, one could easily say, and that would be true. But I couldn't put their actions into how they think because I couldn't read anyone's mind. 

 

The rationale behind destroying government by horrid governing is clearly nonsensical, yet it happens. But that's not the definition of conservatism. You might say that to you, conservatism holds no inherent ideals. Some libertarian might say that inherent ideals only come from the individual, or some type of self interest, something like the dogma of an Ayn Rand. But I see that as dogma, something that started with nativism a long time ago across the globe, a racism that tries to dignify itself with any type of propaganda that might stick.

 

The Tea Party, brought out all sort of characterizations and symbolized how government taxes people too much with no returns. It was government that stole from the people, government that lied and created secular stagnation. Where oligarchies had nothing to do with it. People were lazy living off the government dime. 

 

But that's not conservatism. I am not preaching that conservatism is misunderstood here. Like a lot of young people say they are liberal when it comes to allowing people to be free, yet they maintain that fiscally they are conservative. They maintain that the government must save and not waste, or create huge deficits. 

 

I don't agree with that way of thinking, I think it is factually incorrect, but a lot of young people say this. 

 

 

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Conservatism means to keep or preserve something.  Politically it is about preserving traditions, maintaining order, and stability.

 

What does this mean in real terms ?  

 

The economy works best when government stays out of it allowing the market resolve problems and create prosperity.

 

Problems like poverty or racism should be dealt with by individuals, families, religious, or civic institutions not government.

 

Trying to change older notions of sex, gender roles, sexuality, and gender identity to give certain people more freedom or equality is harmful.

 

For conservatives these are traditions that used to guide society and still should. They are part of a natural or divine order that is good and functional. It allows people to temper freedom's passions with moral virtue especially self control. If government does anything it should reinforce this.

 

In some ways conservatism by raising moral questions and respecting religious faith keeps us rooted and grounded. It helps us answer questions about purposeful and meaningful living. But there is a downside when it is politicized and socialized. It can stifle the individual at the expense of the community or collective. A person's thoughts, feelings, desires, and will are often secondary or denied for the sake of the group or institutions. It doesn't think about how individuals are often misused simply for the wellbeing of others. It can be blind to the abuse and harm done by authority especially the state when power is not checked or accountable. It enables all manner of injustice and repressive tyranny when government acts without consent of the governed and is arbitrary. Moreover conservatism is skeptical of the idea that equal worth and dignity of all people translates into equal rights and opportunities. It is comfortable with a few particular people ruling and controlling others because such people are virtuous, competent, and part of a long established hierarchy. 

 

While I don't think conservatives are wrong about everything liberals and the left are right to oppose them in politics and public policy.

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kfbvoice, the thing is, that's a nonsensical definition in terms of what the word conservatism is actually used for today. It's some fantasyland definition.

 

And what does it imply -  liberals are for destroying traditions, creating disorder, and removing prosperity?

 

There's a term, "retail politics". It means, the things parties say to get voters to support them that are for that purpose, not what they actually do. You're simply providing such a retail definition of the word, and it's irrelevant to what 'conservatives' actually do.

 

A person who decides they're a conservative because they 'like tradition' is a sucker. It makes them for for a 'conservative', and today, that means a trump, a Ryan, a Cruz, a McConnell - people whose agenda isn't about 'preserving tradition' or 'creating prosperity' for more than a very few people, at the expense of the rest of society.

 

It doesn't help to discuss the topic as the fantasyland definition - that simply is like talking about what the sheep looks like, instead of it being a sheep costume being worn by a wolf.

 

I agree with one thing you said - people who think they're 'conservatives' aren't wrong about everything, and liberals should recognize that.

 

That's how to try to find some common ground with them.


Of course those who want their votes try to do the opposite with wedge issues -divide the people so they don't unite against them against plutocracy.

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2 hours ago, Craig234 said:

kfbvoice, the thing is, that's a nonsensical definition in terms of what the word conservatism is actually used for today. It's some fantasyland definition.

 

And what does it imply -  liberals are for destroying traditions, creating disorder, and removing prosperity?

 

There's a term, "retail politics". It means, the things parties say to get voters to support them that are for that purpose, not what they actually do. You're simply providing such a retail definition of the word, and it's irrelevant to what 'conservatives' actually do.

 

A person who decides they're a conservative because they 'like tradition' is a sucker. It makes them for for a 'conservative', and today, that means a trump, a Ryan, a Cruz, a McConnell - people whose agenda isn't about 'preserving tradition' or 'creating prosperity' for more than a very few people, at the expense of the rest of society.

 

It doesn't help to discuss the topic as the fantasyland definition - that simply is like talking about what the sheep looks like, instead of it being a sheep costume being worn by a wolf.

 

I agree with one thing you said - people who think they're 'conservatives' aren't wrong about everything, and liberals should recognize that.

 

That's how to try to find some common ground with them.


Of course those who want their votes try to do the opposite with wedge issues -divide the people so they don't unite against them against plutocracy.

 

While I do think conservatives enable plutocracy it's important to listen to them and take seriously what they claim to believe about themselves and society. To say conservatism means nothing anymore and dismiss their claims in favor our own means we will lose in the battle of ideas. It allows them to frame debates and put us on the defensive. I urge you to read the following articles by Damon Linker and Russell Kirk because they do matter. Linker's goes a long way putting conservatism in real world terms for ordinary people. Yet Kirk explains the deep  worldview underneath it all. As a liberal I think both of them are wrong about liberals, the left, the problems with people, and society. However I take them seriously. 

 

http://theweek.com/articles/585165/what-defines-conservatism-todayhttps://www.google.com/search?

https://www.google.com/search?q=define+conservatism&ei=WFVRWsebDcfBmwG7sozgDA&start=10&sa=N&biw=1366&bih=618#

 

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My definition: you root for the GOP, like you would for the Cowboys or the Raiders. 

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kfbvoice, you badly misunderstood my post. You're confusing the retail politics and the real politics. You're still talking about the sales pitch used to get people to be conservative. Try noticing the billionaires actually paying for the candidates and setting the agenda.

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You cling to old values.

 

Favour small government.

 

Favour authoritarianism.

 

Would rather society go back to the 1940's.

 

That's basically the gist of Conservatism in my opinion.

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my definition of a conservative? One who advocates preservation, save, keep. Something that people who call theselves conservative are no good at. (wars, giving to corporations, etc)

 

 

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On ‎1‎/‎5‎/‎2018 at 8:40 PM, TheOldBarn said:

Earlier today I wrote a bit of dialogue entitled, "What is Conservatism, today and in the past", and the text below was populated by an earlier post I had made regarding the outcome of the vote for a senate seat in Alabama. I made some type of error, not sure how. I spent some time composing it, and then lost my thought... I'm sure I hit on some ideas that are hard to resurrect, we all know how that story goes.

 

But what is the true meaning of conservatism, was my question. I know we have threads discussing liberalism and the liberal mind. If we could be so sure of what we define of liberalism what would differentiate it from conservative values, and also what might be similar if we compare the two. 

 

Philosophically I waxed how in business school they might assert that capitalism and self interest motivates a person to create something grand that might not have ever been realized  - how capitalism's soul, or sole good is measured in this invisible way, a byproduct if you will creating a market for necessary goods, a new productivity that synthesizes common good for the many in someway. 

 

Originally, the word conservative, to me meant keeping things that are good, recognizing good strategy or framework that works, government and social fabrics, etc..., and maintaining while at the same time building upon this framework for the betterment of all. 

 

It wasn't the opposite of liberal, it did not mean to wipe out the word liberal or call it foolish. it was not bent on ideology, it wasn't bent on trying the same old thing that never worked in the past again and again. I thought it was different than that.

 

Mohammad Yunus, the guy who came up with the term microfinance preaches that entrepreneurs should not work towards their own self interest but instead only need to focus on solving problems. IN this way he says young people need to focus more on what is truly needed in any society. In economics there is the focus on elasticity or how one economic variable creates demand in another. And this whole thing goes down all the time in cyclic measurement. Part of the problem inherent in this type of system is waste of resource which to me is the end-all and be-all that does trickle down to all people, usually the poorest among us, first and foremost.

 

Conservatism, let me pen down these things, conservation of natural resources, freedom of speech, freedom from oligarchy, freedom of the press, freedom to hold firm on the bottom line.

 

I am not talking about the Republican Party as it is nowadays mind you. Anyway, I thought it might be good to start a thread on what you might define as conservatism, to possibly extol some of its positive virtues. 

 

Peace!

 

 

 

To me the only thing one needs to be conservative about is pollution, hate, prejudice and greed and a lot of people do a lot of all four and then some.   We must evolve in our thinking as having the grand ability to do so ~but without being grandiose about it.  Thinking has given us the ability to do great things if we choose wisely and intelligently now, without fear.  Also, practice equanimity to do the most good in all things!  This is my interpretation (healthy meaning) of conservative. it should always have kept being with everyone in this country after the civil war.(conservation/conversation ;).

 

It's a common thought that a rich conservative may also be a war hawk too.  The =Only good thing came out of any war was Victory Gardens.  But we don't need to establish this kind of relationship with our communities because of war, we need to establish it to keep peace and become the true shepherds of this planet we are destined to be if given the chance.

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4 hours ago, desertloner said:

my definition of a conservative? One who advocates preservation, save, keep

 

On 1/8/2018 at 1:32 PM, MichaelLorne said:

You cling to old values.

Favour small government.

Favour authoritarianism.

 

On 1/6/2018 at 1:09 PM, kfbvoice said:

Conservatism means to keep or preserve something.  Politically it is about preserving traditions, maintaining order, and stability.

 

All these descriptions have been true in the past.  However, Conservatives tend to apply their ideology to one issue.  The issue of the day.  And Conservative issues are not limited to preservation.  They include regression to earlier times.

 

Today, that issue comes down to:

On 1/6/2018 at 12:08 AM, Craig234 said:

what it now means is, pretty propaganda word for plutocracy - a mask for plutocracy.

 

And the support of Plutocracy is probably the MOST  Conservative cause right wingers advocate.  It takes people back to the times of monarchs and serfs.  After the first few generations, Plutocracy turns into Aristocracy.

 

Once the Ordinary People (the Demand Side) become so impoverished that they they are lucky to be able to buy the bare necessities of life, the factories and Industry (Supply Side) shuts down.  So what happens to the owners ...  Those Captains of Industry? ...  Most all of them have stupendous fortunes stashed in foreign banks which were deposited there because 1 -  No one or their family can spend as much as the top 1% of Plutocrats are making now.  And 2 - To illegally avoid taxes.

 

With these fortunes the former Plutocrats will then be able to purchase protection for themselves, whether fortified living areas and their own armies.  They will still be in control of government, as they are now.   But by that time, their control of government should have become complete. 

 

Plutocracy will have become Aristocracy and Ordinary People will be at their mercy.  This is the ultimate version of Conservatism ...   A return to earlier times which prevailed throughout most of the history of human civilization.

 

I hope this scenario never comes to pass, but this is the way things are going now.  There is still plenty of time avoid such a future.  But the political will must be there.

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12 minutes ago, bludog said:

 

This is the ultimate version of Conservatism ...   A return to earlier times which prevailed throughout most of the history of human civilization.

 

 

That is as anti-American as it gets. The United States is about the democracy and revolution against that aristocracy and empowering the people. The right is the enemy of the US.

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1 hour ago, bludog said:

 

 

 

All these descriptions have been true in the past.  However, Conservatives tend to apply their ideology to one issue.  The issue of the day.  And Conservative issues are not limited to preservation.  They include regression to earlier times.

 

Today, that issue comes down to:

 

And the support of Plutocracy is probably the MOST  Conservative causes right wingers advocate.  It takes people back to the times of monarchs and serfs.  After the first few generations, Plutocracy turns into Aristocracy.

 

Once the Ordinary People (the Demand Side) become so impoverished that they they are lucky to be able to buy the bare necessities of life, the factories and Industry (Supply Side) shuts down.  So what happens to the owners of those Captains of Industry? ...  Most all of them have stupendous fortunes stashed in foreign banks which were deposited there because 1 -  No one or their family can spend as much as the top 1% of Plutocrats are making now.  And 2 - To illegally avoid taxes.

 

With these fortunes the former Plutocrats will then be able to purchase protection for themselves, whether fortified living areas and their own armies.  They will still be in control of government, as they are now.   But by that time, their control of government should have become complete. 

 

Plutocracy will have become Aristocracy and Ordinary People will be at their mercy.  This is the ultimate version of Conservatism ...   A return to earlier times which prevailed throughout most of the history of human civilization.

 

I hope this scenario never comes to pass, but this is the way things are going now.  There is still plenty of time avoid such a future.  But the political will must be there.

the poster did ask for a definition though. I was just saying today's "conservatives" don't hold up to the definition or etymology

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