It doesn’t take a genius to see that people consider different words to have different meanings. In some cases, the differences are a simple matter of misunderstanding, in some, an “intentional skewing” of a give word or expression with the intent to derive some sort of benefit as a result.
There are other reasons differences of perceived definition may occur (for example, that different life experiences may lead to a difference of perception about a given thing), but I find far and away, that the above two are the more likely, or, if nothing else, the most important.
That having been said, I want to take the time to make clear here, a few things about a word with which I most generally identify reasonably strongly. That word is Conservative (in the political and social sense).
Because the word has become somewhat polluted in what other people appear to believe it means, I wanted to take the time to explain some things I do not count Conservatism to support, and in which I believe those in the Conservative “school of thought” choose to NOT be participants or believers.
Having clarified that, let me proceed to enumerate that “list.”
Where conservatives are prone to be for limited government, that does not imply they are for the most limited of governments, anarchy.
Conservatives will generally acknowledge (typically while holding their noses), that some amount of government is not just reasonable, but a necessity. As such, the concept of anarchy is not in line with the conservative perspective.
Who should be in charge of that government is a matter of some debate even among conservatives. That government should exist typically is not.
People generally appear to misunderstand Communism. “Real” Communism tends to be toward anarchy rather than toward totalitarianism.
Reading the works of those who are considered “experts” in the communist ideal, it appears the end is, more or less, the doing away with government and large organizations on the basis that they are unneeded.
Most such “experts” though, maintain that a period of totalitarianism (or “Big S” Socialism or similar) is necessary to “get the people’s minds right.”
There are couple of pretty obvious problems with this idea. The first being that if you have to “force” people to get their minds right, you’re probably going to find a good many people “standing up on the inside.” A thing that will only really become obvious when (or more correctly if) you ever work to implement “full on” Communism.
The other problem is that the people who come to be “in charge” in the beginning phases, decide they like their lot in life and don’t want to give it up. And since they’re the ones wearing the jackboots, it becomes awfully difficult to get them to give up the power they now own. The “better” an authoritarian/dictator they are, the less likely you are to get past their reign without them dying or being overthrown.
What makes this even better? The fact that, when they die or are overthrown, there will invariably be another waiting in the wings to take their place. Don’t believe me? I suggest you take a good hard look at the history of North Korea.
The issue with Communism (which I used to say “looks good on paper”) can be summed up far more simply as human nature.
The truth is, it’s possible, to some extent, for Conservatism and Oligarchy to coexist. The reality is, though, that oligarchies—much like monarchies—rarely allow for the transfer of power to anything outside of their supposed ideals. As such, if an oligarchy begins to move in directions that are unacceptable to the conservative, the most likely way to “change” the government is revolution, a messy business at best, and not guaranteed to result in the desire outcome.
This makes it so that most true conservatives do not support oligarchy, since they realize, yet again, that human nature will creep in and take over, and that without the ability to periodically change the government, it is likely to result in either big S Socialism or totalitarianism.
- Totalitarianism Totalitarianism is virtually antithetical to what most true Conservatives hold dear. The idea of limited government is virtually unheard of under totalitarian regimes. As such, most conservatives are vehemently (and often violently) opposed to totalitarian and dictatorial government. In reality, I could almost stop here, for most forms of government fall pretty directly under Totalitarianism. Nonetheless, I will proceed in order to talk about minor differences.
Truth being told, anybody having thought about the concept of monarchy, realizes that it is just “oligarchy with a figurehead.” Put another way, monarchs are seldom (if ever) able to rule without a supporting oligarchy. As this is the case, it’s barely worth discussing monarchy as a “separate entity.” In truth, without the support of an underlying oligarchy, as a rule, a monarchy cannot exist.
There are but two worthy considerations when looking at monarchies. The first is that, if the monarch is truly respected their mental health and well being is what drives the direction of the region over which they are monarch.
The other is that monarchs are often not respected, most particularly by the oligarchical entity that underlies them. The result is that, where technically the monarch “reigns,” in truth, the oligarchy largely sets policies.
In either case, it is the oligarchy to which the people at larger are generally beholden, not the monarch.
Were it not for entities like North Korea and the former Soviet Union, I would have said that dynasties existed only in monarchistic societies. Regardless that, it is virtually impossible to make dynasties a palatable thing to true Conservatives.
This is because one of the tendencies of true conservatism is an “out with the old, in with the new” perspective. In fact, I would say most conservatives are so much for the periodic “changing of the guard,” that they mostly all consider term limits an entirely reasonable thing (and that is really just the tip of the iceberg, most conservatives are likely for the abolishment of lifetime appointment offices for bureaucrats, judges and the like).
Since dynasties tend to cause ceding to successors (often members of the dynasty head’s family), Conservatives tend to be strongly against them.
In order to implement Fascism, it is largely necessary to have a strong, very powerful government. Since most Conservatives are against strong, vast governments at any level—choosing to do work at the lowest possible level, but even to limit the lowest level to the minimum possible size—the idea that true conservatives support Fascism almost could not be more ridiculous.
Though most conservatives (particularly if they are what is referred to as “social conservatives”) believe in a strong society with expectations of “normative behavior” as a rule, few support the upholding of any but the most basic “norms” via the government, choosing instead to “lead by example.”
To make this even clearer, pretty much all conservatives are painfully aware that they have their own failings. As such, most have a very hard time supporting the upbraiding of their fellows in society by government. Further, most Conservatives largely wish to be left alone, a thing they count as a reasonable request when made by others in most cases.
None of this means conservatives disavow the need for strong mores in society. It is just assumed that society itself must be responsible for maintaining them.
Put another way, attempting to force others to live within your rules (except in situations where certain kinds of harm occur if folks don’t follow the rules) is pretty much a non-starter for conservatives, since it doesn’t allow or account for either human nature, or free will.
- “Big S” Socialism
It has for some time been my contention, that government is born out of Socialism. That is to say, were it not seen as needed for government to exist, and in some wise, control those under it, it would have no reason to be at all.
This idea seems like common sense. What maybe is not quite so easy to grasp is, this is also the very basis of Socialism
What I refer to here as “Big S” Socialism, is the idea the government should be a vast entity, responsible for cradle-to-grave care for the folks under it. This idea is entirely incompatible (in my view at least) with conservatism. Why? Because conservatism is based partially on the idea that the smallest possible government is the best. It is further based on the idea that, where possible, if you just leave folks alone, you are doing the best thing you can for them.
In almost every instance, governments with even Socialist tendencies, tend to grow until they have engulfed all private entities.
Since government in general is based on Socialism, this means it must constantly be “kept in check.” If this does not occur, we end up with what we presently have in the United States or worse.
Part of this process, is educating others, so they are aware of the role government ought to have in the lives of those governed. In this, the vast majority of citizens of the U.S. Have largely, obviously failed.
It’s almost embarrassing to the that I have to include this in this list. Why? Because the “expansion of” the word Nazi is Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei. In case you hadn’t figured it out (the German being so very similar to the English), Nazism is Socialism.
As such, if Conservatives do not (in fact, real Conservatives can not) support Socialism, they cannot support Nazism either.
So there you have it, a list of things Conservatism is not, and does not support. Thanks for reading.