What is Conservative Political Philosophy?

Discussion in 'Politics' started by OldRegular, May 3, 2009.

  1. OldRegular

    OldRegular
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2004
    Messages:
    22,678
    Likes Received:
    53
    A lot of people on this Forum are throwing around the word Conservatism. the following article by columnist Holmes Alexander, which was published 30 or more years ago, represents the best summary of the Conservative political philosophy I have read. I welcome comments!

    OldRegular

    ‘The Bobbs-Merrill Company, book publishers of the American Heritage Series, have acted better late than never in recognizing the conservative movement that has been booming along for nearly two decades now. The Heritage Series has previously put out books on the New Left and Black Nationalism, agrarian revolt and civil disobedience, literary radicalism and the libertarian theory, and now "belatedly," as the editors admit, they have made William Buckley the collector and commentator of an anthology called "Did You Ever See a Dream Walking” which gives excerpts from the writings of 25 conservative authors.

    As might be expected, the best passages in the volume are those written by Bill Buckley himself. You won't find here any thumbnail definition of conservatism, but will be shown samples of what it is, and be warned away from what it is not. The samplings show that conservatism, among much else, is a form of non violent dissent against — well, materialism, statism, godlessness, immorality.

    Conservatism has a lot to do with free enterprise, little to do with Big Business. Conservatism is a discipline, and thus the enemy of permissiveness It is law-and-order, but not repression. It is good manners and social responsibility, but it has few rules — stops short of maudlin pity for the poor and the minorities. It regards Communism as an unmitigated evil, calls Fascism its “illegitimate” brother, and treats Socialism as an obnoxious poor relation of both.

    Conservatism is individualism, which is to say, personal freedom. The basic freedom, as Gary Wills writes in this book, is that of the human will. It cannot be killed unless the man himself is killed or reduced to a sub-human condition, as has been done in both ancient and modern times by tyrannous states.

    But the individual has an obligation to use his freedom. never to abuse it, as some of our demonstrators of today have abused and debased the freedom of speech.

    The ideal state, says the conservative, is one which recognizes that freedom is not given to anybody by his government, but is protected by the laws of the land, as well as by the policeman on the corner. The state, as the conservative sees it, ought to be the servant and the convenience of the free citizen.

    The state is not even a leader, or should not be because it always fails in such efforts except in time of war. Dr. Milton Friedman. for example, points out that when the government sets out to help the I poor by passing minimum wage laws, it ends up creating unemployment. The welfare laws have merely perpetuated the poverty and idleness of the supposed beneficiaries. While no conservative could be an anarchist, he would eternally be for a government that is as unobtrusive as possible.

    A good many conservatives — two or three in this volume — came to their present beliefs by way of Communism, the god that failed them. Not all of them embraced the Christian religion by way of reaction. As Buckley notes, it is possible for a conservative to disbelieve in a personal God, but it is impossible for a conservative to despise God. The surest synonym, — if there is any — for conservatism is morality. A man cannot be a materialist, or an egocentric, or utterly ruthless, or rudely arrogant and still qualify as a conservative.

    Thus in a famous review of "Atlas Shrugged” Whittaker Chambers, then associate editor of the National Review, read Miss Ayn Rand, the author, completely out of the conservative movement. "Out of a lifetime of reading," Chambers wrote, "I can recall no other book in which the tone of overriding arrogance was so implacably sustained." And the National Review itself publicly excommunicated Robert Welch first because the editors found his conspiratorial theories to be unsound, and second because to keep silent about Mr. Welch under the circumstances might seem to give consent to his unsound ideas.

    I said that conservatism is a dissent, and you will find in this book that it is a dissent against ideas and persons that attempt to enslave the individual.’
     
  2. OldRegular

    OldRegular
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2004
    Messages:
    22,678
    Likes Received:
    53
    What happened to all the constitutionalists and libertarians out there! Or even the Conservatives? Perhaps a leftist or two?
     
  3. LeBuick

    LeBuick
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2006
    Messages:
    11,537
    Likes Received:
    0
    I believe they are adding sensitivity to [email protected] rights to the agenda.
     
  4. Bro. Curtis

    Bro. Curtis
    Expand Collapse
    <img src =/curtis.gif>

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2001
    Messages:
    20,264
    Likes Received:
    4
    My philosophy about government is they should stay out of my life as much as possible, allow me to succeed, or fail, based on my own ambition & skill.

    We have not had conservatism in America for a great many years. Probably since Thomas Jefferson.
     
  5. BigBossman

    BigBossman
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2009
    Messages:
    1,008
    Likes Received:
    0
    I can honestly say that I'm guilty of throwing the word conservatism around a lot.

    I can also say that I'm guilty of wanting a small federal government with absolutely little or no intrusions in my daily life.

    _________________________________________________________________
    This might be a little off topic, but also I noticed another word commonly thrown around by our presidents, democracy. Did you know that word "democracy" was very rarely used by presidents prior to Franklin D. Roosevelt? Our nation is a republic, not a democracy.
     
  6. Berean

    Berean
    Expand Collapse
    Member

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2006
    Messages:
    817
    Likes Received:
    1
    Most people that I come in contact with associate the term "Pseudo Conservative" with conservative which is in my opinion entirely different.True conservatives believe in small government, limited spending and complete adherance to the Tenth Ammendment (10th) of the US Constitution. Ezra Taft Benson said it best when he said "Government was to do for the people collectively what they could not do for themselves as individuals".
    Pseudo conservatives do not adhere to these principals and actually believe in bigger government and massive spending on programs such as healthcare, housing and other massive give aways. Their claim to conservatism is their stand against social issues such as abortion and gay rights.
     
  7. saturneptune

    saturneptune
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2006
    Messages:
    13,977
    Likes Received:
    0
    That is probably true, but certainly not in my life time. The article above was good, and proves without a doubt, George Bush did not have one shread of conservatism in his fiber. How much more intrusive can a government get than his? This present one might, but that chapter is yet to be written.
     
  8. OldRegular

    OldRegular
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2004
    Messages:
    22,678
    Likes Received:
    53
    SN

    You and JC are in the same class when it comes to dumping on President Bush.
     
  9. Doubting Thomas

    Doubting Thomas
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2003
    Messages:
    2,616
    Likes Received:
    6
    I'd add that our foregin policy under Cheney/Bush was "pseudo-conservative" as well. (And so far I see little indication that Obama is going to significantly change things on that front for the better.)
     
  10. OldRegular

    OldRegular
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2004
    Messages:
    22,678
    Likes Received:
    53
    I thought the favorite liberal epithet for the Bush Administration was neo-conservative, you know just like the obama administration is neo-Fascist!
     
  11. Doubting Thomas

    Doubting Thomas
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2003
    Messages:
    2,616
    Likes Received:
    6
    I think neoconservatives ARE "pseudo-conservative". As for Obama, I simply call it 'Obamanism' after reading a bumper sticker on line which stated: "OBAMANISM--no quite Communism, but right next to it" (or WTTE :laugh: )
     

Share This Page

Loading...