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How do you define what a *true* conservative is?

radcen

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How do you define what a *true* conservative is?

Is it someone who accepts change cautiously? Is it a moderate thinker? Is it a whack job far-right-winger who never gives an inch? Is it defined by Goldwater and/or Regan? Is it something else, maybe a mix-and-match?

In your own words, please.
 

Glen Contrarian

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How do you define what a *true* conservative is?

Is it someone who accepts change cautiously? Is it a moderate thinker? Is it a whack job far-right-winger who never gives an inch? Is it defined by Goldwater and/or Regan? Is it something else, maybe a mix-and-match?

In your own words, please.

To me, a true conservative is not eager for change, but neither is he afraid of it, and so makes major decisions with great caution and discussion.

A true conservative abhors extremism of left or right.

A true conservative is not an appeaser, but neither does he refuse outright to negotiate in good faith even with those he opposes.

A true conservative acknowledges the necessities of duty and honor and dignity in service to the nation.

A true conservative is willing to use force in time of necessity, but is not willing to waste lives on military adventurism.

A true conservative is not a lemming blindly following a leader who tells him what to believe and what to reject.

We've had a few true conservatives...but not many.
 

a351

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A conservative is one who finds great merit in our historic and social institutions and sees great value in maintaining and strengthening them through measured change and not simply for the sake of change. The modern definition of a "true conservative" however has morphed into what could aptly be described as your dixiecrat of yesteryear.
 

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I would simply drop the code language and spell it out clearly. "A true conservative" is a far right wing extremist. Synonym: see T-Party.

:)
 

radcen

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To me, a true conservative is not eager for change, but neither is he afraid of it, and so makes major decisions with great caution and discussion.

A true conservative abhors extremism of left or right.

A true conservative is not an appeaser, but neither does he refuse outright to negotiate in good faith even with those he opposes.

A true conservative acknowledges the necessities of duty and honor and dignity in service to the nation.

A true conservative is willing to use force in time of necessity, but is not willing to waste lives on military adventurism.

A true conservative is not a lemming blindly following a leader who tells him what to believe and what to reject.

We've had a few true conservatives...but not many.
To me, the part in red is the epitome of a *true* conservative.
 

Beaudreaux

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To me, a true conservative is not eager for change, but neither is he afraid of it, and so makes major decisions with great caution and discussion.

A true conservative abhors extremism of left or right.

A true conservative is not an appeaser, but neither does he refuse outright to negotiate in good faith even with those he opposes.

A true conservative acknowledges the necessities of duty and honor and dignity in service to the nation.

A true conservative is willing to use force in time of necessity, but is not willing to waste lives on military adventurism.

A true conservative is not a lemming blindly following a leader who tells him what to believe and what to reject.

We've had a few true conservatives...but not many.

As difficult as it is for me to admit, not only is the above the very best post I've seen you author, but it's also one of the most well written posts I've seen on the subject in years.

Don't do that anymore. It messes with my general view of your on-line persona.
 

Exquisitor

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How do you define what a *true* conservative is?

Is it someone who accepts change cautiously? Is it a moderate thinker? Is it a whack job far-right-winger who never gives an inch? Is it defined by Goldwater and/or Regan? Is it something else, maybe a mix-and-match?

In your own words, please.

A Conservative thinks people are generally guilty whereas a Liberal behaves as if they were innocent.
 

Glen Contrarian

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As difficult as it is for me to admit, not only is the above the very best post I've seen you author, but it's also one of the most well written posts I've seen on the subject in years.

Don't do that anymore. It messes with my general view of your on-line persona.

And the truest of compliments is the one that comes from one's opponent, whether it be online or on the field. Thank you very much - I do appreciate it.

In all honesty, I empathize somewhat with Reagan - just as he said that he didn't leave the Democratic party, but the party left him, I feel much the same about the Republican party - between a combination of Iran-Contra, the rise of the Religious Right as power brokers within the GOP, and the increase of "white identity" politics, I felt the GOP left me. I voted for Reagan and for Bush 41, and I hold Bush 41 to be one of our most underrated presidents. By his refusal to march on Baghdad and by his decision to raise taxes even against the wishes of his party (and so set the stage for our mid-90's economic boom for which he - and not Clinton - should be credited), he showed more courage and wisdom than most presidents I can think of.
 

Paleocon

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How do you define what a *true* conservative is?

Is it someone who accepts change cautiously? Is it a moderate thinker? Is it a whack job far-right-winger who never gives an inch? Is it defined by Goldwater and/or Regan? Is it something else, maybe a mix-and-match?

In your own words, please.

An opponent of liberalism.

By which definition, there are no conservatives in the US.
 

radcen

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And the truest of compliments is the one that comes from one's opponent, whether it be online or on the field. Thank you very much - I do appreciate it.

In all honesty, I empathize somewhat with Reagan - just as he said that he didn't leave the Democratic party, but the party left him, I feel much the same about the Republican party - between a combination of Iran-Contra, the rise of the Religious Right as power brokers within the GOP, and the increase of "white identity" politics, I felt the GOP left me. I voted for Reagan and for Bush 41, and I hold Bush 41 to be one of our most underrated presidents. By his refusal to march on Baghdad and by his decision to raise taxes even against the wishes of his party (and so set the stage for our mid-90's economic boom for which he - and not Clinton - should be credited), he showed more courage and wisdom than most presidents I can think of.
You make good points re Bush I.

I do feel Clinton deserves some credit for the 90s boom, though. He was smart enough to leave it alone and let it do its thing. That may sound like a back-handed compliment but it's meant to be very sincere. For any politician, especially one with his sized ego, to leave something alone and not put "their mark" on it is admirable restraint.
 

OrphanSlug

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How do you define what a *true* conservative is?

Is it someone who accepts change cautiously? Is it a moderate thinker? Is it a whack job far-right-winger who never gives an inch? Is it defined by Goldwater and/or Regan? Is it something else, maybe a mix-and-match?

In your own words, please.

I've given this a fair amount of consideration... "True Conservative" - it is now entirely undefinable.

And I entirely blame politics as to why we can no longer define the term.

It used to be that you looked at Conservative in terms of a more practical definition. Something along the lines of someone who holds onto traditional attitudes of social and governmental ideologies while resistant to changes, or innovations, or evolution in those same areas probably most due to political and/or religious reasons.

You could say that "Social Conservative" gets roots in religious ideology, and by perception looks back to a time where things were more simple, more "moral," and more based on a notion of adherence to values as established by the church. And I say church in a general and probably more local community level sense. Our issue is that never actually existed in a more national context, it existed pocket to pocket across the nation with plenty of other areas on some other social guidance path or perhaps even without that level of guidance at all.

At the same time you get to talk about "Constitutional Conservative" that gets their roots in our founder's terms (and probably in Constitutional terms before a few key Amendments changing the nature of the Senate, and balance between Federal and State powers.) Our issue there is the nation back then *was absolutely not* some sunshine and roses period where everyone got along, everyone adhered to the law, economics was stable, and we had some sense of equality among the people.

So what you have left is "Conservative" in a general sense that entirely boils down to opposition to anything not deemed Conservative (i.e. Liberal, Democrat, Independent, Socialist, what have you.) Because today's Conservatives are effectively up against utopian thinkers from their political counterparts.

The bottom line is neither has ever existed, no matter if you are talking about utopian <insert anything left leaning as a title here> or "<insert any right leaning qualifier here> Conservative."

Thanks to politics there are no valid definitions for these terms, it all comes down to fantasy. Which is why I often say that Social Conservatism is entirely incompatible with Constitutional Conservatism causing much divide in right wing politics, and utopian views on Socialism has never been realized in terms of lasting and stable national existence causing left leaning politics to be nothing more than a dream.

What this nation should have done is applied being a Republic to equality among all here, then let the chips fall where they may on people being responsible for themselves as much as practical. But both right wing and left wing politics entirely ignored that. So all that is left is made up terms... like "True Conservative."
 

radcen

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I've given this a fair amount of consideration... "True Conservative" - it is now entirely undefinable.

And I entirely blame politics as to why we can no longer define the term.

It used to be that you looked at Conservative in terms of a more practical definition. Something along the lines of someone who holds onto traditional attitudes of social and governmental ideologies while resistant to changes, or innovations, or evolution in those same areas probably most due to political and/or religious reasons.

You could say that "Social Conservative" gets roots in religious ideology, and by perception looks back to a time where things were more simple, more "moral," and more based on a notion of adherence to values as established by the church. And I say church in a general and probably more local community level sense. Our issue is that never actually existed in a more national context, it existed pocket to pocket across the nation with plenty of other areas on some other social guidance path or perhaps even without that level of guidance at all.

At the same time you get to talk about "Constitutional Conservative" that gets their roots in our founder's terms (and probably in Constitutional terms before a few key Amendments changing the nature of the Senate, and balance between Federal and State powers.) Our issue there is the nation back then *was absolutely not* some sunshine and roses period where everyone got along, everyone adhered to the law, economics was stable, and we had some sense of equality among the people.

So what you have left is "Conservative" in a general sense that entirely boils down to opposition to anything not deemed Conservative (i.e. Liberal, Democrat, Independent, Socialist, what have you.) Because today's Conservatives are effectively up against utopian thinkers from their political counterparts.

The bottom line is neither has ever existed, no matter if you are talking about utopian <insert anything left leaning as a title here> or "<insert any right leaning qualifier here> Conservative."

Thanks to politics there are no valid definitions for these terms, it all comes down to fantasy. Which is why I often say that Social Conservatism is entirely incompatible with Constitutional Conservatism causing much divide in right wing politics, and utopian views on Socialism has never been realized in terms of lasting and stable national existence causing left leaning politics to be nothing more than a dream.

What this nation should have done is applied being a Republic to equality among all here, then let the chips fall where they may on people being responsible for themselves as much as practical. But both right wing and left wing politics entirely ignored that. So all that is left is made up terms... like "True Conservative."
Good post. Thanks.

It is not uncommon for far-right whack jobs to openly and loudly refer them themselves as the "only true conservatives", which I think is bunk, but ok, whatever. I used to describe myself as "a conservative in the dictionary definition of the term, not the current political definition", but I gave up even on that several years ago. To paraphrase a well-known sentiment, I didn't leave the Republican Party, it left me.
 

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Good post. Thanks.

It is not uncommon for far-right whack jobs to openly and loudly refer them themselves as the "only true conservatives", which I think is bunk, but ok, whatever. I used to describe myself as "a conservative in the dictionary definition of the term, not the current political definition", but I gave up even on that several years ago. To paraphrase a well-known sentiment, I didn't leave the Republican Party, it left me.
That would be a No True Scottsman Fallacy on their part anyways. They can't decide who is and isn't a "true" Conservative.
 

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I've given this a fair amount of consideration... "True Conservative" - it is now entirely undefinable.

And I entirely blame politics as to why we can no longer define the term.

I would blame time. The damn stuff just keeps on coming! Some people want to conserve (or restore) stuff from 50 years ago, some from 100 or 200 years ago. Some from even earlier, as Paleocon highlights.
 

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As difficult as it is for me to admit, not only is the above the very best post I've seen you author, but it's also one of the most well written posts I've seen on the subject in years.

Don't do that anymore. It messes with my general view of your on-line persona.
I second that thought.
 

Casper

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To me, a true conservative is not eager for change, but neither is he afraid of it, and so makes major decisions with great caution and discussion.

A true conservative abhors extremism of left or right.

A true conservative is not an appeaser, but neither does he refuse outright to negotiate in good faith even with those he opposes.

A true conservative acknowledges the necessities of duty and honor and dignity in service to the nation.

A true conservative is willing to use force in time of necessity, but is not willing to waste lives on military adventurism.

A true conservative is not a lemming blindly following a leader who tells him what to believe and what to reject.

We've had a few true conservatives...but not many.

Well Done, :applaud
 

OrphanSlug

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Good post. Thanks.

It is not uncommon for far-right whack jobs to openly and loudly refer them themselves as the "only true conservatives", which I think is bunk, but ok, whatever. I used to describe myself as "a conservative in the dictionary definition of the term, not the current political definition", but I gave up even on that several years ago. To paraphrase a well-known sentiment, I didn't leave the Republican Party, it left me.

What we may want to consider are the underline faults of why modern politics have destroyed the chance to define these things.

*If* we can agree that modern politics all boils down to division oriented goals, *and* we can agree that both of our front running political parties in existence today are both a gathering of sub-factions then it starts to make sense why the term "Liberal" and "Conservative" have become perverted (in the sense of no longer matching textbook like definitions.) And follow that I am using the term "faction" in a manner like our founders did in plenty of documentation and quotes from the period.

Along this line of thought that means that Liberal and Conservative both have too many moving parts from too many opposing factions to have singular definitions in the practical and political sense.

Conservative cannot just mean a link to something traditional, it means finding that point in time and there is no assurance that all Conservatives agree on what that is. Liberals actually face a more complicated problem than Conservatives do as the roots of Liberalism has nothing to do with socialism or government guarantees of results, it is government guarantees of freedom for the individual (as in individual rights and liberties as most defined by "Classical Liberalism.")

Looking at things in that context means that Modern Liberalism hijacked Classical Liberalism, and purposefully mashed in reliance on government guarantees of results and usage of government for economic and social justices (that inherently means someone else has the consequence.) But, it also means that Modern Conservatism has no singular meaning.

In conclusion it means that today's Republican Party no longer can appeal to *all* of it's factions at the same time but has to inherently mean adversarial to anything Progressive, and it also means that today's Democrat Party is entirely based on the idea of being adversarial to anything deemed Conservative no matter the flavor. Just concluding that way all of a sudden explains with almost perfection how Bill Clinton was elected, how Bush 43 was elected (and how his 2nd term election played out... FL,) how Obama was elected, and lastly how it appears Hillary will be elected. It also adds clarity as to why McCain lost in 2008, why Romney lost in 2012, and why the GOP is so disorganized fighting "anti-establishment" rhetoric will end up with Trump of all people. Moreover, in thinking about right leaning factions it also explains how Republicans can obtain control over Congress going back to Bill Clinton's time in office by appealing to demographics on a smaller localized level where the strategy is entirely different on a national level.

To really ultra **** up this conversation, this line of thinking also explains why Reagan would be unable to obtain a nomination with Republicans as they exist today and JFK would not be able to obtain a nomination with Democrats as they exist today. That is how fast we have politically and ideologically shifted around while various factions look for a home among an arguably two party dominated system of governance literally making up terms for themselves as they go.
 

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I would blame time. The damn stuff just keeps on coming! Some people want to conserve (or restore) stuff from 50 years ago, some from 100 or 200 years ago. Some from even earlier, as Paleocon highlights.

Time has context of course. The first you illustrate well, gathering "Conservatives" and asking them to identify that one period that was best that we should try to emulate. You may get some interesting answers.

The next thing to ask though is the distance in time from whatever point to now in combination with the social pulse of the nation overall. What you will be hinting at is the level of governance required to force opposition into living by that decision on what time period we adopt to be like. No matter the answer, the conclusion is the same and it comes down to degree... probably theocratic based fascism. We can be talking about the 1950's or we can be talking about pockets of this nation as they operated on a local government level when the nation had all of 13 States and you inherently talk about the relationship of governance to systems of belief to the people.

And even more strange than time, is what we were arguing about between that time picked and today. Do not forget that just 20 ('ish) years ago a Democrat (who's wife is running for President today) signed the Defense of Marriage Act. It would be unheard of for a Democrat to do that today, no matter what the pressure from an overwhelming veto-proof opposition controlled Congress. You do not even have to go 50 years ago to see that certain social issues did not have the support and impact on governance as they do today. We were not arguing about gay rights in the 1950's, we were arguing about civil rights for minorities. The social revolutions of the 1960's and 1970's had little to do with gay rights specifically, and was simply a rejection of social climate from the post WWII era and rejection of governance style (prone to war and conflict, and lying about it) of the period.

Our governmental and social pulse changes so rapidly, perhaps accelerated in the last 50-60 years, to the point that these definitions we are talking about are that much more complicated to lock down into something real. Political goals and establishments are literally forced to make up new conditions for these terms as they go from election cycle to the next election cycle.
 

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To me, a true conservative is not eager for change, but neither is he afraid of it, and so makes major decisions with great caution and discussion.

A true conservative abhors extremism of left or right.

A true conservative is not an appeaser, but neither does he refuse outright to negotiate in good faith even with those he opposes.

A true conservative acknowledges the necessities of duty and honor and dignity in service to the nation.

A true conservative is willing to use force in time of necessity, but is not willing to waste lives on military adventurism.

A true conservative is not a lemming blindly following a leader who tells him what to believe and what to reject.

We've had a few true conservatives...but not many.

not bad....not bad at all

but i like this one better

This reminds me of one of my all-time favorite meditations on conservatism from my friend Yuval Levin:

To my mind, conservatism is gratitude. Conservatives tend to begin from gratitude for what is good and what works in our society and then strive to build on it, while liberals tend to begin from outrage at what is bad and broken and seek to uproot it.

Gratitude captures so much of what conservatism is about because it highlights the philosophical difference between (American) conservatism and its foes on the left (and some of its friends among the libertarian camp). The yardstick against which human progress is measured shouldn’t be the sentiments and yearnings that define some unattainable utopian future, but the knowable and real facts of our common past.

Defining Conservatism -- No Easy Task | National Review
 

radcen

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not bad....not bad at all

but i like this one better

This reminds me of one of my all-time favorite meditations on conservatism from my friend Yuval Levin:

To my mind, conservatism is gratitude. Conservatives tend to begin from gratitude for what is good and what works in our society and then strive to build on it, while liberals tend to begin from outrage at what is bad and broken and seek to uproot it.

Gratitude captures so much of what conservatism is about because it highlights the philosophical difference between (American) conservatism and its foes on the left (and some of its friends among the libertarian camp). The yardstick against which human progress is measured shouldn’t be the sentiments and yearnings that define some unattainable utopian future, but the knowable and real facts of our common past.

Defining Conservatism -- No Easy Task | National Review
I like that.
 

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It would be easier for me to explain what a true conservative is not. A true conservative is not reactionary. A true conservative respects and studies the past, but does not long to restore it.

When Donald Trump promises to "Make America great again," He is promising to restore a past status quo. For most of his white, blue collar base that is probably the 1950's. Back then a white male with a high school degree could get a reasonably well paying job. I can't blame them for desiring a restoration of that. However, during the 1950's women and blacks were denied rights white men were granted.

Many jobs were closed to women, regardless of qualifications. Newspaper want adds had two sections: "Help wanted, men," and "Help wanted, women." Many jobs were closed to blacks, again regardless of qualifications. Now, I am opposed to affirmative action policies, but I do believe that all careers should be open to talent.

In much of the country blacks were not served in most restaurants, most hotels, most motels. They were not allowed to move into most apartments, etc.

I am sure that many of Donald Trump's white male blue collar base wants to restore all of this, and not only the bountiful economy of the 1950's.

A more affluent section of the Republican Party has never accepted the basic reforms of the New Deal. For them the "again" in Trump's slogan points back at least to the 1920's, if not the nineteenth century. Many of these would like to end Social Security, Medicare, minimum wage laws, laws to protect labor unions, and even the income tax.

A true conservative accepts the political and particularly the economic reforms of the twentieth century.

A true conservative also opposes untried economic experiments. In 1980 Ronald Reagan advanced the very unconservative theory that tax cuts generate more tax revenue than tax increases. Supply Side Economics was not even reactionary. It was right wing radicalism. Since 1981 this bizarre economic theory has been disproved again and again, but most Republicans continue to believe it.

Donald Trump promises to cut taxes for everyone at every income level, preserve popular middle class entitlements at current levels of financing, raise military spending, and pay off the national debt in eight years. Even Ronald Reagan was not that delusional.

The Republican Party cannot claim to represent true conservatism. Today the true conservatives are moderate Democrats.
 

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How do you define what a *true* conservative is?

Is it someone who accepts change cautiously? Is it a moderate thinker? Is it a whack job far-right-winger who never gives an inch? Is it defined by Goldwater and/or Regan? Is it something else, maybe a mix-and-match?

In your own words, please.

Dunno. Never met one
 

Glen Contrarian

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not bad....not bad at all

but i like this one better

This reminds me of one of my all-time favorite meditations on conservatism from my friend Yuval Levin:

To my mind, conservatism is gratitude. Conservatives tend to begin from gratitude for what is good and what works in our society and then strive to build on it, while liberals tend to begin from outrage at what is bad and broken and seek to uproot it.

Gratitude captures so much of what conservatism is about because it highlights the philosophical difference between (American) conservatism and its foes on the left (and some of its friends among the libertarian camp). The yardstick against which human progress is measured shouldn’t be the sentiments and yearnings that define some unattainable utopian future, but the knowable and real facts of our common past.

Defining Conservatism -- No Easy Task | National Review

The definition you listed is easily disproven. How? Look at the homicide and violent crime stats for blue states versus those of red states. If liberals - who make up the majority of people in blue states (which is why they're blue, remember) - "begin from outrage at what is bad and broken and seek to uproot it", then why are the most violent states generally red states? The inner cities are more violent, yes...but in case y'all haven't noticed, blue states are made up of far more than just "inner cities". If you'll check the stats, blue states are generally less violent, have higher educational attainment rates, have higher rates of health insurance coverage, have lower divorce rates, and have lower teenage pregnancy rates. If liberals are as bad as you claim, the above litany could not be true...but it is.

What's more, that definition is a great example of "projection". Think about it - what have conservatives been wanting to do for decades? Get rid of the EPA. Get rid of the DOE. Get rid of OSHA. The GOP has voted over sixty times to get rid of Obamacare - not fix it, but to get rid of it in toto.

That, sir, is a very short list (and there's LOTS more) of examples of "beginning from outrage at what (y'all think) is bad and broken and seeking to uproot it".
 
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