About Conservatism

March 2, 2018 Sociocultural Issues No Comments

Conservatism – as seen by many – likes freedom and responsibility, based on a view upon human beings as free and responsible entities.

According to a main viewpoint by ‘conservatives’ worldwide and which I adopt in this text, conservatism is generally about this one thing and then another:

Individuals should be allowed as much personal freedom as possible.

With this freedom comes responsibility.

This conservatism is against elaborate sets of regulations. For instance, if someone voluntarily chooses not to work, he should receive no state imbursement, plain and simple. Also, as little as possible blueprint should be imposed by government upon society. The free market is a conservative mainstay. Its invisible hand is supposed to right all wrongs, or almost. This hand is supposed to contain within itself strong norms and values – individual responsibility.

There is trust in the strength of the individual. Conservatism is weary of weakening the individual through providing too much of a safety net. In this way of thinking, the poor are poor because they don’t take responsibility for themselves. We help them by not supporting them in anything but the direst need.

Underlying this is a philosophy about human being. Is it a correct one? I don’t think so.

After all, ‘personal freedom’ and ‘responsibility’ are no clear-cut principles. It would be nice if they were, of course. Many things would be much simpler and easier to handle. For instance, just let free market do it for you. That sounds attractive. Unfortunately, it’s not realistic.

Conservatism likes clean principles. Reality is murky.

That doesn’t mean that everything should be overregulated. It’s good to value personal freedom as much as possible… with good insight in what it actually is. What is ‘personal’? What is ‘freedom’? Trying to avoid these questions, though attractive, is senseless. Building a political movement or party while doing so, is dangerous, especially in an ever more complex future.

A conservative may object that one avoids murkiness precisely by going forward in a clear way. People will adjust, be cleansed and become good citizens. This is a nice supposition. However, in such case much depends upon the lending of appropriate individual support. This demands a correct view on human being in the first place.

In-dividual, as in un-divided, taking into account the total person including the deeper, not so readily reachable thoughts, emotions, motivations etc.

And we’re back into murkiness.

A conservatism that denies this, as has been shown in the past – like for example Thatcherism – ends in the very messy straits it precisely wants to avoid. And that’s a pity.

Contrary to this, a conservatism that does not deny this, may well lead to a nice society in which overregulation will spontaneously show to be misplaced. In such a society, personal freedom will rightly be one of the highest principles, together with human respect, depth and openness. As to the conservatively dreamt utopia, people will generally be responsible and trustworthy enough to make a fairly free market a durable success, in which there is room for all to thrive and be happy.

Within a correct view upon human being, progressives and conservatives may find each other.

The world will be a better place indeed.

At present they fight each other over… eventually nothing realistic.

Please follow and like us:
Follow by Email

Related Posts


Disclaimer: this text is not for overly sensitive readers. The term ‘zombie’ probably comes from the West African nzambi, which means: a dead person who is made alive again, but who has no own free will. In the Afro-Caribbean culture this is an essential part of voodoo (originally from West Africa). So, we are in Read the full article…

Object-Science Versus Subject-Science

Science about objects: physics, chemistry… Science about subjects: psychology, history… Both sciences are different and important. Alpha, beta, positive etc. Let’s skip that and simply talk about object- versus subject-science. This is related to, respectively, closed-world versus open-world phenomena. Explanatory analogy: A cloud (‘open world’ with lots of possible influences in all directions) doesn’t fit Read the full article…

Why Death Penalty is Murder

Taking into account full human being, there is no relevant difference between the accused and the accuser. ‘Taking conscious human life’ This is a quite good definition of murder. In case of the death penalty, it’s murder with full premeditation. In ‘taking,’ one can see a relevant fuzziness which makes thinking about, for instance, euthanasia Read the full article…