What does it mean to be Conservative?
(Are you conservative?)
I enjoy wordsmithing. That means I like to try to get to the origin of where a word came from.
So, let’s examine the word conservative.
According to the Online Etymology Dictionary we learn this about being conservative, “Strictly speaking, conservatism is not a political system, but rather a way of looking at the civil order. The conservative of Peru … will differ greatly from those of Australia, for though they may share a preference for things established, the institutions and customs which they desire to preserve are not identical. [Russell Kirk (1918-1994)]. Hmmm? Conservatism is preservationist in nature.
Getting back to the Latin of the matter we further learn that “serve” means to “keep, keep intact, guard”. Then “com” or “con” includes the meaning of being “with”.
Thus being conservative could well be defined as “preferring to exist in a manner that maintains and protects established norms.”
There, now was that so hard?
With that definition in mind what is it that Conservatives in America prefer.
- In the United State of America we are known for the tradition of an innovative work ethic. Not only do Americans (for this article, citizens of the United States of America) work hard to accomplish various achievements, but they also work smart. If a man or woman can discover a means of achieving more through better technology, methods, or designs they will be applauded.
- In the USA Americans are fiercely independent and self-sustaining. Pride keeps them from asking for hand-outs. Greater pride brings them to remove their head-cover and then cover their hearts when the flag goes past.
- In this country we are moved by compassion for the weak and downtrodden. Charity is not a word, but a national standard.
There is a great amount of culture tucked into those three preferences.
Conservatives are “up-in-arms” these days because there is a staunch effort by some to quell those preferences. Congress, media, political parties, squeamish businesses, and undereducated college professors and graduates are those that would trample the preferences of Conservatives under their feet.
These people would prefer to have a society of gifted citizens. That is not gifted in terms of having unique skills, knowledge, or talents. Rather it is gifted in terms of everyone gets something without working. No achievement is required in order to get a piece of the pie. Neither work nor invention of a new style of knife with which to cut the pie is expected.
Further, these modern aged social alchemists promote the concept that a group of people somehow functions effectively and efficiently without independent thought. They errantly presume the group can be self-sufficient, without the individual first being independent and self-sufficient. The way in which this idea actually works is for one member to master over the rest.
As individualist, success guru Paul J Meyer said once, in order to change the way you think you have to discover how you came to be thinking that way to begin with. When authority for your thinking is given to another it is impossible for you to either change how you came to be thinking that way or to achieve anything on your own. Conservatives prefer to that you “keep intact” your ability to succeed or fail…rather than to have no control over your personal or group liberty.
Lastly, the social engineers that would rid mankind of its failing as well as its ability to prosper, and would force equality of circumstances on all people. They would eradicate those that excel in society in order to raise those up that only subsist. The principle flaw in that theory is clear. In order for the master of thought, as described above, to have success in engineering equity one very relevant condition must exist. The master must excel in authority over all others. Thus, the principle of equity is inequitable on its face. The only rational basis of equity among mankind is free-will-giving, or the more transient phrase “charitable giving”. Any other premise creates winners and losers (the only ones that will deny it are those losers that would maintain control over you).
So, there it is. Conservatism, defended in America for over two centuries.