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Is conservatism inherently bad?

waj287

1 month ago

This is a question I have thought about a lot, especially recently.

I am aware that most of this site's users are politically liberal, and I respect that. I do consider myself a general conservative, but at the same time, I do understand a lot of the positions that liberals have on some things and even agree with them on some, whether wholly or partially.

That said, however, the more I look at it, the more I seem to realize that the general viewpoint amongst liberal people is that conservatism is the scum of the earth and that they are all violent idiots. But is it?

I'd say no, personally. I do understand why this comes up. Our president's the most visible conservative on the planet right now, after all. But he and his supporters are just a small fraction of the Republican Party and American/world conservatism in general.

There are a number of conservatives--like myself--that still subscribe to general values of it and support those in power that agree, but aren't afraid to go against what they think. In addition, conservatism has given this country and the world a fair number of good things. They were the party that abolished slavery, gave the nation a powerful defense, has been the ruling party in difficult times of need, and much more.

I don't know. I just feel like it gets a bad rap. Discuss what you think, but please be civil, as is the norm for politics 'round these parts.

Comments

  • 1 month ago
  • 10 points

Conservatives, liberals or progressives, they're all good people if they actually care and have genuine empathy for others, if this is who they are, who they choose to be, then it doesn't matter what label they come under.

People get angry with those who defend and support Trump when they know what he is doing is wrong, but do it anyway just out of tribalism. He got elected because people were desperate and thought he was actually going to help them, yet besides the massive tax cut for millionaires and corporations what has he really done to make people's lives better? Has he stopped or even reduced mass shootings, made people feel happier, safer or proud of their government, improved social mobility, equality or people's life chances, improved the quality, affordability or coverage of healthcare, raised wages, improved education, reduced pollution, reduced corporate power or greed, has he done anything other than made his own, corporations and rich people's bank accounts grow?

Traditional conservatism reveres values such as upholding tradition, military service, hard work, self-reliance, the rule of law, good manners, treating women with respect and personal responsibility, these are values which help add to society making it a better place, now ask yourself how many of these values does Donald Trump exhibit?

I think if you want to support Donald Trump then you have to expect that people are likely to think you are naive to point of being an imbecile, think you are being dishonest in ignoring what you can clearly see is wrong, come from a mega wealthy family or just simply feel sorry for you that you've been so indoctrinated as to believe in this charlatan.

You can be a conservative that blindly supports Trump and all the cruel, mean, dangerous and idiotic things he has done that have hurt people and made their lives worse, or you can be your own person with your own ideas regarding making society better and people have happier healthier lives. Ultimately, you get to choose how other people will see you through your words & deeds, so if you don't like the way people see you, then change it.

  • 1 month ago
  • 1 point

So it appears to me that the general issue with a lot of anti-Trump people is just that. They aren't anti-conservative, they are just against the President himself. I understand that.

Though I do have a question about two of the statements you made, being this one:

has he done anything other than made his own, corporations and rich people's bank accounts grow?

And this one:

I think if you want to support Donald Trump then you have to expect that people are likely to think you come from a mega wealthy family

Does this mean I shouldn't aspire to be successful in life? Like you said, traditional conservatism upholds the idea of hard work, but if I become rich through that, do I have to support right-wing politics because they will allow me to reap the fruits of my labor? Or is your point that his actions concerning this are just done for himself and the rest of the wealthy?

Though on the other hand, with one of Mike Bloomberg's central campaign promises to raise taxes on the wealthy, does that mean no one can be rich? Should they be punished for their work, especially if they really did earn all their wealth on their own?

  • 1 month ago
  • 4 points

What's your definition of rich? Does hard work entitle you to be rich? Are taxes punishment?

I ask because I'm interested in your take on those questions and not because I have any particular agenda. But it kinda feels like your questions presuppose a position that isn't yet established here.

  • 1 month ago
  • 3 points

But it kinda feels like your questions presuppose a position that isn't yet established here.

I'm not quite trying to do that. I was more of asking if wealth is more of a bad thing and simply used the tax thing as an example.

Something I have just observed is, likely due to the President's wealthy background, that in addition to opposition against him, they oppose his financial status. This may be a presupposition, but with Bloomberg's campaign promise in combination of that I was just curious on the opinion of it.

Are taxes punishment?

I wouldn't say that, personally. The "punished" word wasn't meant to be taken literally. My main point was that if someone was a truly self-made man (and not with a small loan of a million dollars), then it should be a good thing. But if the current Republican policies have done nothing but increase that artificially, and the Democratic opposition is trying to undo that, then I was asking if that is fair, for lack of a better term.

As for the question itself, no, taxes are not a punishment. They are a requirement for living in this country and should be accepted. But with the raised taxes, it seems to me like that the main consensus amongst liberals is that no one can be rich. Not trying to presuppose here, just something I have observed.

What's your definition of rich?

Being financially stable enough and then some. There are people who are financially stable that are not part of the 1%, and the 1% is wealthier than that.

Does hard work entitle you to be rich?

Yes and no. Steve Jobs did hard work, but so did Pablo Escobar. And there are people who work hard every day that don't become rich. I don't think anyone is entitled to be rich, however. If you work hard you can flourish, but you also might not.

  • 1 month ago
  • 5 points

I'm just here to see how long it takes before the thread turns into ****.

  • 1 month ago
  • 2 points

I hope it doesn't go to that. I think I was civil about the question and I don't want the general discussion to go to that.

  • 1 month ago
  • 4 points

They were the party that abolished slavery,

During this time, the GOP (which is the party you were referring to) was actually left leaning classical liberalism before the party shift early in the 20th Century.

  • 1 month ago
  • 5 points

Yes important to distinguish the party from "conservatism", which is what this thread is about. That had nothing to do with modern day conservatism.

  • 1 month ago
  • 3 points

Well I guess I was mistaken about that. My fault.

[comment deleted]
  • 1 month ago
  • -1 points

Party Shift (Big Switch) = Possible Myth

Party votes, baby!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civil_Rights_Act_of_1964#

  • 1 month ago
  • 1 point

Our Political Parties have never been consistent since the day the US was formed. There are plenty of times where parties have shifted ideologies over time. Times change and so do people. The Republican party of the 1860s is not the same party as the Modern Republican party, their ideals in no way align.

If my understanding if the topic is correct the Southern Democrat-Republicans split late in the 19th Century and eventually became the Modern Republican Party and the Old GOP/Republican Party eventually became the Modern Democratic Party. Both Modern Parties have nothing to do with The Civil War anyway. That time is long over and things were different back then.

  • 1 month ago
  • 1 point

I think to really evaluate this claim we need to evaluate the majority ideologies of both the Republic and Democratic parties from the civil war era and compare them against those of today. I don't really believe as of now their ideologies switched, but the mode of enacting and promoting those policies. But, I'm all for being persuaded otherwise.

  • 1 month ago
  • 1 point

Actually its funny because Ill admit I have the parties mixed up, however they did gradually switch ideologies over time.

Both the Democratic Party and the Republican Party are from the same Party. The Democratic-Republican Party which split and became the Democrats and the Whigs and the short lived Free Soil Party in the early 19th Century. Eventually in 1854 the Whigs and the Free Soil Party became the Republican Party.

Now we know which side was what Party, however at the time of the Civil War the Democratic Party was Conservative, and the Republican Party was Liberal. Again eventually both Parties gradually swapped ideologies and in the 1930s the Democrats were the Big Government Social Liberal Party and the Republicans were the Small Government Conservative Party.

So yes my facts were mixed up because it is a but confusing and YES (cause I know someones gonna say it) the Republican Party DID abolish Slavery, as a Center to Left of Center platform party. They were far from Conservative at the time.

Also I got this all from the Wikipedia of both Parties, which each has sources in the References section.

  • 1 month ago
  • 1 point

They did also have a higher voting percentage than Democrats in favor of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, although that doesn't necessarily attest to their current ideologies.

[comment deleted]
  • 1 month ago
  • 2 points

There were 435 representatives in 1964. How many total party switches took place and by whom?

[comment deleted]
  • 1 month ago
  • 1 point

I'm not staying it did or didn't happen. I'd just like to see evidence supporting the claim you're making.

  • 1 month ago
  • 1 point

Just because the 'Southern Strategy' existed doesn't mean that there was a complete realignment of the two main political parties. I don't support Nixon whatsoever and while I do agree that he was probably willing to do anything to get votes (Such as implementing the Southern Strategy), I don't think that his actions should define an entire party. Plus I think that the support of segregation was based on geographical location, not political parties.

  • 1 month ago
  • 1 point

Its in the History books that The Democratic Party at the time of the civil war was Conservative, and The Republican Party at the same time was Liberal. Same parties as today but now its the other way around. Its in the history books. I even explained this to Tragik. They did eventually realign.

  • 1 month ago
  • 1 point

If Liberal means you prefer to relegate power to the individual rather than the state, then neither party is very liberal these days. Yeah, each is in some ways. But, neither are extensively.

And, while I don't necessarily agree with JeSerai.Guy, he was correct in pointing out an appeal to authority fallacy in reference to 'the history books.' I'm sure the history books in China aren't accurate, which isn't inherently unique to them.

  • 1 month ago
  • -2 points

"It's in the history books" is not substantial enough evidence. Also, the Republican Party has ALWAYS been pro-business, pro-Capitalist, pro-tariffs, etc. so how can you argue for a complete switch, let alone a switch at all?

[comment deleted]
  • 1 month ago
  • 3 points

Oh no, I'm not brave enough for politics.

(hopefully you guys saw that coming)

  • 1 month ago
  • 1 point

I was expecting it, just from tomtomj2.

  • 1 month ago
  • 3 points

The time has come, execute Order 66.

  • 1 month ago
  • 3 points

It will be done my lord.

  • 1 month ago
  • 1 point

Well then, you could say that this was a surprise to be sure, although I'm not sure that it was especially welcome, but I'm guessing it's not unwelcome either. Just somewhere in the middle.

  • 1 month ago
  • 3 points

I am conservative in many facets so I certainly hope not. Although, like others have mentioned, having one ideological leaning doesn't mean you can't still be a good person and treat others with respect. If you can't try to understand alternative points of views and opinions then you can't hope to change minds, or to possibly find out your mind should change.

  • 1 month ago
  • 3 points

I've been wanting to get around to this topic but I was out of town.

Based on your responses to others, it seems like you may be really wondering if being a Republican is inherently bad? Because there is a lot of conflating of "conservatism" and "being a Republican" by yourself and others in the comments. They're very much not the same. I think probably this topic would have been more effective if we had a common definition of conservatism (like if you had spelled one out in the topic), as it means different things to different people. It also means different things in different countries.

I don't think that conservatism is "inherently bad", but a lot of the things that are wrapped up by the word are. It's a BIG umbrella that a lot of things fit under. A big part of conservatism is appealing to tradition. Well, some traditions are fun and harmless! Traditions bring people and society together with a common ground. Traditions aren't all bad. Also, particularly in the past, conservatism had a big interest in conservation, that is, of the environment. This is hugely important! So there are at least a couple good aspects to conservatism.

Our president's the most visible conservative on the planet right now, after all. But he and his supporters are just a small fraction of the Republican Party and American/world conservatism in general.

I take a few issues with this:

-To start, it is again conflating the Republican Party and conservatism.

-For another, I don't really think Trump is a conservative; he's an opportunist, and an authoritarian. Power is more important to him than policy. That being said, he IS (due to the common conflation of conservative and Republican) damaging the conservative 'brand', so to speak, so I'll grant you that.

-Another problem I have with this is your claim that he and his supporters represent a small fraction of the GOP; an overwhelming majority of Republicans who voted, voted for Trump. He got ~46% of the votes. There's just no way to call it a small fraction. Even if one voted on a "lesser of two evils" mindset, sorry, they're still a supporter. They were willing to look at Trump and his campaign and say "it's good enough." Also The RNC has completely integrated into Trump's re-election campaign. They are one and the same; this is unprecedented. The Republican party, in so far as elections are concerned, has become synonymous with the Trump campaign.


I am aware that most of this site's users are politically liberal, and I respect that.

I think someone did a poll on this a couple years ago, and it came out pretty evenly split. I've also seen people make this same "disclaimer" but in the opposite direction; it really seems to be a perspective thing.

  • 1 month ago
  • 1 point

Based on other responses, I do agree that I probably should have provided a clearer definition of conservatism, because like you said, it's a very broad word. There's a lot that goes into it that can have a lot of effect on the political landscape. With Trump turning the American GOP into a more elitist group, I do understand what you meant by authoritarianism.

My comment on how Trump supporters represent a small part of the US Republicans was more in relation to how he's viewed today nearly three years into his presidency and less so on his voting numbers. I know this kinda sounds like a meek justification, but I honestly had no consideration of the national vote.

Anyway, thanks for your input.

  • 1 month ago
  • 1 point

I'd be interested to see that poll again to see if any trends have switched. Just curious about demographics, really.

  • 1 month ago
  • 1 point

The question is, how are you defining "conservative"? It's difficult to discuss now because it's all mixed up with the Trump personality cult. When I hear "conservative", I think "Barry Goldwater" -- and he would definitely reject what's going on in the Republican Party these days as cultism, not conservatism.

  • 1 month ago
  • 1 point

In general, anything from the Republican Party's viewpoint.

Though I do agree, with the cult-esque thing having arisen in the party, I do agree that it has become more distant from its original purpose.

  • 1 month ago
  • 3 points

Which Republican Party? The 60's party, the Reagan party, or the fundamentalist pseudo-Christian cult thing it seems to have turned into today? Years ago, they claimed to be the party of morals and principle. I'm not seeing any principle these days, fiscal or otherwise, except "agree with whatever Trump just said." Sorry, but that's the way it looks to me. I grew up in a staunch Republican family, voted Republican for most of my life, and none of us have voted Republican for about 8 years.

"Conservatism" implies conserving. What is today's Republican in government conserving? Not fiscal responsibility, that went out the window and we're on our way to the biggest deficits ever. Not conserving moral principle for sure. I don't accept that conserving white privilege is an allowable goal. What then?

  • 1 month ago
  • 2 points

I guess a better definition would be right-wing politics in general.

I do agree in that the Republican Party had shifted more from more actual conservatism to the more cult-like thing you mentioned.

  • 1 month ago
  • 3 points

Conservatism is a really broad political spectrum and covers basically everything from the Center to the Far Right.

You probably should’ve phrased your question as “Is Republicanism inherently bad” if thats what you’re going for.

When you say Conservatism, you could be talking about anyone, even Democrats. You could be talking about anything from Economics to Social standpoints.

  • 1 month ago
  • 1 point

The biggest thing for me about this discussion (and most things in general) is that i feel that alot of people have forgotten how to talk to eachother. Alot of these "misconceptions" as you will can be easily solved if people just talk to eachother. I see to many people not willing to talk to eachother just because they are more to left or more to the right or anything else. This division or sometimes even pure hate can't be good in the long term.

  • 1 month ago
  • 1 point

I seem to realize that the general viewpoint amongst liberal people is that conservatism is the scum of the earth and that they are all violent idiots.

Where have you gotten this idea?

  • 1 month ago
  • 1 point

I hate to call him out, but I think that the comment by nostalgia2302 kind of sums up what I was thinking, among other things.

I have observed that most liberals consider conservatives to be stuck in the past, living off of an outdated political system and just being ignorant to the issues of the world, hence why I have that idea.

  • 1 month ago
  • 1 point

When conservatism interferes with the lives of minorities such as LGBT marriage, yes. And not necessarily just minorities, but progressive social aspects that society adopts more and more.

Euthanasia, LGBT rights, Cannabis legalization, Drug decriminalization, Abortion, separation of church and state...all those things Conservatism is against, is a form of social repression and don't lead to social progression. Those views come from hundreds of years ago, and are heavily influenced by religion.

If it were for conservative parties, we would revert to archaic laws such as men-only voting, repression of females, racism, etc. The Conservatives have a mindset of the PAST. Liberals have a mindset towards progression, the future, and the liberalization of things, practices and behaviors that once were not socially accepted, or were taboos.

SOCIAL CONSERVATISM IS BAD.

Economic Conservatism is not bad, with the right policies and right moment. Sometimes conservative policies en up being good for the economy.

  • 1 month ago
  • 2 points

Euthanasia, LGBT rights, Cannabis legalization, Drug decriminalization, Abortion, separation of church and state...all those things Conservatism is against, is a form of social repression and don't lead to social progression. Those views come from hundreds of years ago, and are heavily influenced by religion. If it were for conservative parties, we would revert to archaic laws such as men-only voting, repression of females, racism, etc. The Conservatives have a mindset of the PAST. Liberals have a mindset towards progression, the future, and the liberalization of things, practices and behaviors that once were not socially accepted, or were taboos. SOCIAL CONSERVATISM IS BAD.

You are free to disagree, but to me this seems to be a really big generalization. Not all religious people are against all of these values completely.

Take abortion for example; the main point is that conservatives generally are pro-life, while liberals are pro-choice. The Bible does strongly point to the idea of life at conception, but it and pro-life are not required to go together. Even so, you can be religious and still identify as a conservative while allowing abortion in some cases. Even Billy Graham supported abortion in the cases of rape, incest, and the life of the mother, as can be read in this article.

I also don't believe that all conservatives are permanently stuck in the past about issues, such as some of the ones you mentioned. Many conservatives respect women as equals and are not racist. If they were against societal change, then the majority of conservatives would have renounced women's suffrage and equality, and today that's not very common.

There are certain values that they still cling on to, but there are other cases in which societal change is acceptable, just not in everything.

Furthermore, I think the growing acceptance of a lot of those taboos show that there is not a dominant force of people disagreeing with it. There are still people who are against them, yes, but because of how they are more accepted than ever before is just time. Political views evolve over time just as anything does, and calling out all conservatives for being stuck in the past is somewhat ignorant.

  • 1 month ago
  • 2 points

You said:

That said, however, the more I look at it, the more I seem to realize that the general viewpoint amongst liberal people is that conservatism is the scum of the earth and that they are all violent idiots.

That's a pretty big generalization to make about liberal people, no? To quote you also:

You are free to disagree, but to me this seems to be a really big generalization.

(And)

calling out all conservatives for being stuck in the past is somewhat ignorant.

I think making broad generalizations about anyones beliefs, or lumping together a diverse demographic into one label, whether it is conservative or liberal, is pretty ignorant.

  • 1 month ago
  • 1 point

No, but I’m not certain I like how it’s being played out today.

  • 1 month ago
  • 1 point

a. No.

b. No.

  • 1 month ago
  • 1 point

I've tried my best to eliminate biases from my life, even though I'm only 17 I feel like i'm a lot more logical than some people that are much older and smarter than me, I'm not trying to toot my own horn that's just how it seems. I left my church because i tried to eliminate the biases and look at its teachings. I don't like to take sides politically because that is saying i agree with them, i agree with some things from each side. typically I've found that i agree more with conservatives but there is also things i totally disagree with. I hate political labels. George Washington disliked political parties. I think he was right. a lot of time people dont do what they initially think they should do, rather they do what their parties say. i think people should act for themselves and not pay attention to political biases. vote for who you agree with, not the party you like. i guess thats more democrat and republican but its still sorta relevant

  • 1 month ago
  • 1 point

Depends what you're conserving.

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  • 1 month ago
  • 1 point

I'm deleting this portion of the comment thread - not to oppress or censor, but because I feel like it is not related to the original topic. And I don't want that getting derailed by something posted that is known to be controversial. Root_User, if you actually want to discuss what you posted above, feel free to make it a separate topic post.

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