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What Makes a Conservative?

Discussion in 'Conservative Only' started by Rival, Jul 22, 2021 at 6:37 AM.

  1. Rival

    Rival Inodj har-ek Horu
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    Conservatives Only

    What do you believe makes a conservative? Where would you draw the line/s?
     
    #1 Rival, Jul 22, 2021 at 6:37 AM
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2021 at 7:00 AM
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  2. Yazata

    Yazata Active Member

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    I'm not sure that the word 'conservative' has a precise meaning in our day and age. The same is true for 'liberal'. All I can do is describe how I use the word. To fully describe that will take several posts.

    What do I mean when I use the word 'conservative'? Why do I think of myself as a 'conservative'?

    To me a conservative is somebody who believes in freedom and liberty, in the right of individuals to decide on what they want from life and to shape the course of their own lives. That's contrasted with authoritarian regulatory statist technocracy where self-described 'experts' decide in top-down fashion what's best for everybody and what the people must do to achieve the vision of their rulers.

    I perceive China with its all-controlling Party and both the European Union and the Biden administration with their bureaucratic near-dictatorships as each very committed to that anti-democratic technocratic vision. It's perhaps one reason for the near deification of "Science" as the One True Faith that we see all around us today. (With those who fail to fall on their knees and believe as they are told to believe denounced as "deniers".) Science is what many these days hope will justify rule by technocratic elites that those people identify with.

    Ironically, what I described above is the historical meaning of 'liberal' as in 'classical liberal'. Except that in Europe, 'liberalism' typically extended primarily to powerful business interests who wanted freedom from governments dominated by monarchs and landed aristocracies. It was the genius of the American Founders to extend that idea to the people themselves, using classical Athens as their model.

    To me that's what the word 'democracy' means and I'm first and foremost an adherent of rule by the people. To the enemies of this classical liberal-conservative vision, it's denounced as "populism". I see 'populism' as a synonym for 'democracy' and I perceive the self-proclaimed enemies of populism as enemies of democracy itself.

    Ironically again, this tendency runs directly counter to a tendency in historical conservatism that sees conservatism as rule by natural aristocracies, whether landed aristocrats in early modern Europe, or the prep-school, ivy-league educated business management elites who for so long were the guiding force in the American Republican party.

    Moving the Republican party away from the business elites and the cadres of lobbyists that they control in the halls of congress towards a more direct appeal to the people themselves at the ballot box was the revolution that Donald Trump worked in the party in 2016. It's why people like the Bush dynasty, Mitt Romney, Bill Kristol and publications like the now-defunct Weekly Standard could never reconcile themselves to Trump's brand of populism. It was so... tacky, so... middle class, so... down-market. And it's precisely why the Republicans started to eat into the Democrats' traditional working-class base, the socially conservative lunch-bucket voters that represented so much of the Democratic vote in the Midwest.

    And once again ironically, the Democrats still continue to posture in post-60's fashion as if they are the 'anti-establishment' party. Except that today all of the establishment, from the 'woke' business bosses, the media, the government bureaucracy, the entertainment elites, education from K-12 through university, are all part of their coalition and in their pockets. Far from being free-thinkers who "tell truth to power", they are the establishment that they claim to oppose and they are the power.
     
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  3. Nakosis

    Nakosis crystal soldier
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    I guess the big issue for me is I prefer to give the government as little authority as possible.
    Most social issues, I feel the same way. I don't want the government legislating social issues.

    Liberals I feel want to give the government too much authority over everyone's lives.
    I also feel that liberals need to get a backbone. In the sense that you can't let the world offend you and one shouldn't seek to have the government protect you from being offended.
    Instead, people would be better served to learn how to not take offense.

    So for me, being a conservative has nothing to do with traditional values. It has to do with self-reliance.
     
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  4. Yazata

    Yazata Active Member

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    Another principle of conservatism, everywhere in the world, is an ideal of community.

    Communities are essential. If the "social scientists" are correct, many/most of our fundamental ideas, values and beliefs are what they call "socially constructed". Ethics certainly seems to be. So what happens when the world is shook up and homogenized in Globalist fashion, when everyone is reduced to a social atom that has little or nothing in common with their next door neighbor? (Perhaps doesn't even speak the same language.) What happens to community then?

    It's a recipe for anomie. What will create a common sense of right and wrong, what will instill respect for things like the rights of women, when there is no longer any community where those kind of basic assumptions are simply accepted? It's a recipe for social collapse.

    Today's Globalists are working with all their might to destroy nations, histories and traditions, insisting that people's identification with those things was responsible for Europe's two devastating World Wars that almost destroyed Western civilization. And perhaps their great hubris is that they just... assume... that their own beliefs and ideology, will become global and universal, accepted by everyone. Of course large parts of the world are unlikely to ever get on board with all of it. China will most likely move in its own direction. Islam has been showing tremendous resistance to Europeanization and the elimination their own traditions. How can our Globalists be so sure that their vision of women or gays will become default for the whole planet and not some version derived from Islamic Shariah?

    Perhaps the way to address this problem is to accept something that the left says that it values above everything else, while doing their level best to destroy: Embracing Diversity, not just for individuals but for the communities that do so much to shape the individuals. Losing the grand vision to make the world one. (As defined and imposed by the ruling elites, naturally.) Accept the idea that the world contains different ideas, beliefs and visions. And accepting the existence of a variety of different communities where these different visions can be put into practice as social experiments of a sort.

    That means that nations will have to continue to exist and that they will have to retain enough cohesiveness and shared identity that all the "social construction" functions can continue to take place. There will need to be communities where everyone is more or less on the same page when it comes to their basic assumptions. Where traditions exist that can be passed down from generation to generation.

    So what will protect minorities from the tyranny of the majority?

    Here in the United States we have a Constitution that outlines a few basic rights that everyone legally in the country should share. And besides that, we have diversity in states and localities, "protected" by the normally ignored 10th Amendment to the United States Constitution:

    The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

    So what I would favor here in the United States is basically a minimal federal government with all the departments not mentioned in the Constitution shut down and federal taxation dramatically reduced.

    Why is there a federal Department of Education? The federal government only operates a tiny number of highly specialized schools. The Department of Education basically exists to suck up huge amounts of tax dollars, then to redistribute that money to states and localities with all kinds of federal strings attached giving Washington the kind of central control over education that the Constitution expressly denies them.

    If any of the States miss any of the federal functions that this kind of minimal federal government vision denies them, they have their own taxation powers and the ability to duplicate the functions on the State level (provided only that they conform to the Constitution). So if we eliminate the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development, States would still have the opportunity to create their own housing and urban development bureaucracies tailored to local needs and desires.

    This way we might finally get some diversity as opposed to one-size-fits-all solutions tailored in Washington. A State like Wyoming might decide to add little to what the minimal federal government offers, adopting a laissez-faire cowboy philosophy. Meanwhile a place like California could become a copy of a European "social democratic" welfare state if it wished by adding countless additional state programs. And if certain California localities like Los Angeles want even more government, they could add to what Sacramento offers and make themselves into little socialist "people's republics" where every aspect of life is government regulated, provided only that basic Constitutional protections are retained.

    That kind of America would be far more diverse than the increasingly monolithic and authoritarian America of today. Different States and different localities might be very different in how much they tax, what government services they provide and in how many laws are on the books controlling people's behavior. And with that kind of diversity, we would be much closer to everyone getting the kind of government that they want. If somebody in the People's Republic of Los Angeles wanted more freedom, he or she could move to a nearby jurisdiction more to their liking. We would no longer face the spectacle of San Francisco trying to impose its vision on Oklahoma or Oklahoma trying to control San Francisco. Each would have some protection from the other.

    And that in turn would tone down the increasingly divisive tone of today's American politics. The opposing party taking power in Washington would no longer mean the devastation of everything one knows and loves at home.
     
    #4 Yazata, Jul 22, 2021 at 1:33 PM
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2021 at 2:00 PM
  5. Saint Frankenstein

    Saint Frankenstein On the funeral pyre of existence
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    • Reverence for/respect for traditional religion
    • Restrained sexual morality
    • Patriotism/love of country
    • Support for and love of higher culture
    • Respect for the military
    • Belief in rugged individualism
    • Defense of private property rights
    Those are the main traits I associate it with, although there are more that can be thought of. I think what a lot of people call "conservatism" these days is really just libertarianism with no conservatism in it.
     
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