What is Conservatism?

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So your friend or neighbor is a "conservative. What are they trying to conserve? The word conserve means to preserve, save, or protect. What are they trying to protect and from whom or what?
First, a conservative is NOT a narrow or closed-minded person as is often portrayed by the media; the media which is controlled mainly by NON-conservatives. Nor is conservatism merely about politics. There are certainly political conservatives but there are also social and cultural conservatives. Again, to conserve is to preserve, save or protect. So, a political conservative desires to preserve, save, or protect the original political structure of a government whereas a social or cultural conservative desires to preserve, save, or protect the traditional heritage of a society or a culture.

PROTECTOR

As a protector of original or traditional structures, a conservative is NOT living in the past or holding back progress but rather they are attempting to stop corruption and degradation. It is the thinking that the original or traditional is based on tried and true process and therefore moving away from the original or traditional is actually a corruption or even destruction. So, while conservatism can and does allow for progress, it does so within the structure of the tried and true. Change just for the sake of change is not always a positive. For example, if an ecosystem is balanced and an untried/untested change is introduced it could be disastrous. Think of a fish tank where supposedly helpful chemicals or elements are being added without really knowing the effect it will have.


A conservative desires to protect and uphold the known, the tried, the tested, the successful model or structure; be it in government, economics, and society in general. It is conservatives that typically advocate for maintaining thousands of years of culture rather than introducing untested changes that could devastate society. However, when we talk about conservatism, it does NOT advocate for maintaining negative aspects within a system or structure. For example, it was Conservatives that sought to outlaw slavery because it is against the tried and true; tested principle that humans should be free. You will notice that the Conservatives are those often advocating for personal liberty and self-governance. It is bound in the traditional principle that each person is ultimately responsible for their own actions and course, regardless of the collective or society at large.

AMERICAN CONSERVATISM

While conservatism in the generic sense is the preservation, saving, or protecting of tested and traditional structures, American Conservatism is specifically for the preservation, saving, or protecting of the foundational American principles; especially as articulated in the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, and the entire United States Constitution. Indeed, at the forefront of American Conservatism is the preservation of individual liberty as enshrined in those founding documents. This is why you will most often find an American Conservative citing these documents and resistant to any manipulation or corruption of the original intent and interpretation of these documents.


The American Conservative believes that these documents do not merely represent the ideas of 18-19th century thinkers, but these documents are the crowning achievement of ALL of human expression throughout the ages. These documents represent the yearning of civilizations since the beginning of time. The move and desire of all people to be self-sufficient and self-reliant, with as little governmental intrusion as possible. Where the collective, or the State is limited to the preservation of the individual rights and ability to maintain those rights. So, to erode these documents and the importance of these documents as if they are merely ramblings of dead men of a bygone era, is tantamount to attacking the pinnacle of civilization itself. This is the reason so many American Conservatives seem willing to join another revolution if a mob called a "democracy" or a tyrant called a "president" attempts to infringe on the rights of the individual.


A true American Conservative is NOT interested in limiting the rights of individuals. A true American Conservative is NOT interested in imposing upon other people EXCEPT to maintain, conserve, preserve, save, or protect those founding principles that value the individual. This is the reason American Conservatives often fight diligently for the right of the individual even while in the womb. This is the reason American Conservatives often fight furiously for the right of the individual to believe or not believe in a God; and especially to believe in the God of the Bible from whence much of the notions of the individual come -- for example; Galatians 3:28 which reads:

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

This is the reason the American Conservative is so adamant to protect the right to bear arms because without the ability to resist those who would take away and "change" or "fundamentally transform" our nation, we will lose the Great Experiment that is Americanism. Lastly, American Conservatism is NOT the same as being Republican or part of the GOP. While it is true, the largest concentration of American Conservatives may have connection to the Republican Party because the Republican Party at one time also embraced the idea of preserving, saving, or protecting America as it was founded in 1776; this isn't necessarily the case today. Much of the Republican Party is just as opposed to American Conservatism as is the other domestic and foreign enemies of the United States.


The obvious opposite of conservatism is that which seems to uproot, remove, transform, change and otherwise destroy those things that have been tested and held in common by civilizations since time immemorial. Whether you are religious or believe humans evolved from apes, there is a reason humans have had the structure we have had all these years; be it in our clear gender distinctions, or our relatively unified concept of when adulthood begins, or our system of economics that seeks to allow buyer and seller to determine a "fair" deal (ie, free-enterprise capitalism) rather than have a third party (government) regulate and dictate thus introducing that potential killing "chemical" into the "fish tank" of society.


So, whether the opposite of conservatism is called by a party name, such as "The Democrat Party" or the "National Socialist German Workers' Party" (ie Nazis), or it is a slogan such as "Change we can believe in", that opposite is in direct conflict with Americanism. It is in FACT, anti-American because those opposite forces and ideas seek to remove, fundamentally transform, and even destroy the tried and true, the tested ideas that created America the idea and America the nation.