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What is a "conservative"?

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posted on Nov, 12 2005 @ 08:02 PM
I listened to a radio show a few nights ago, and the host brought up this question.
It was very interesting indeed. Over the span of three hours, not ONE caller came up with anything that the Democrats wouldnt want.

Not one.

Please do not base your answers based on anything you find in the dictionary.

WHAT do you want that the Democrats/liberals dont want?

What is a conservative?

posted on Nov, 12 2005 @ 09:26 PM
No nibbles?

I do not think there are any conservatives, nor does the word mean anything in todays society.

Why not, you ask?

Well, i think the word "conservative" went the way of the dinasaur. Those who pound their chests and say they are conservatives want:

Smaller government: Not the ideal for this present Republican government we have.

Less taxes: Like the Liberals want MORE taxes...

I am sure somebody can tell me what else a conservative wants.

OOps, wait, did i leave out religion? Liberals want religion in their lives.

I am puzzled at this.


[edit on 12-11-2005 by dgtempe]

posted on Nov, 12 2005 @ 10:03 PM
DJ you are not going to get many answers because many conservatives the only reason the differentiate themselves from liberals is by name calling.

Both parties hold the same issues is just that one make is look like more closes to God.

posted on Nov, 12 2005 @ 11:38 PM
honestly, I don't think anyone bothers to post because they don't expect a fair debate. I haven't posted on PTS in a month and a half now. Because any time I made cogent arguments, a mod inserted him/herself into the discussion to "help" the left side of the debate.

With that kind of lop-sided "refereeing," it sort of takes the fun out of debate.

So, I guess liberals can win all their debates (at least on PTS) by default that way, through stiffling dissent.


How about this one for starters.

Libralism focuses on guaranteeing equal outcomes. For example, a law school is racist until and unless the racial make-up of the school reflects the surrounding population. Students' admission scores are "tweaked" until a slightly higher number of minorities are accepted.

Conservatism focuses on guaranteeing reward based solely on merit. In the above example, a law school is racist until and unless each student is measured by the exact same criteria. In other words, the top 100 applicants get accepted, regardless of their skin color; even if that means 100 whites, or 100 asians, or whatever.

posted on Nov, 13 2005 @ 12:40 AM
Im a "little" right of center and this is what being a conservative means to me.

A person who Love's his country and takes pride in his countries accomplishments and history.

A person who beleaves that their borders should be protected.

A person who beleaves in the Death penelty.

A person who likes his Big Ford F-250 with V-10 power.

A person who supports their military...thru the good times and the bad.

A person who thinks the abortion of a little baby, who has not even had its chance to breathe murder.

A person who goes to church and Thanks God for all they have and prays for the safety of the soldiers overseas.

A person who says prayer at the dinner table with their family.

A person who would'nt be caught dead in StarBucks drinking a Latte.

Its kinda late and I been working on the yard all day, so this is all that came to mind.


posted on Nov, 13 2005 @ 02:01 AM
Forgot one........A person who owns more than one gun.

posted on Nov, 13 2005 @ 06:59 AM
Not that you're wrong LA_Max. (I wouldn't be caught dead in a Starbuck's drinking a latte---I go for a Capucinno Grande, myself!)

I think DGTempe was looking for the philosophical underpinnings of conservatism, rather than a diagnostic tool showing how to recognize one.

One way to think of Conservatism and Liberalism is to see them as psychological stances, or maybe competing worldviews, that tend to be fairly stable through time. I think an individual, and certainly society as a whole, veers in one direction or another based on what people see as the problems that aren't being fixed by the institutions of society.

Cicero, in De Inventione, in the section on rhetoric, puts it this way: Some people are more focused on making sure the guilty are punished; others are more concerned that the innocent are not. His question is something along the lines of "which is the worse error? For the innocent to be punished, or to allow the guilty to go free?"

I'm not saying one is superior to the other, merely that the two ideologies strive to solve different problems, and become more or less popular depending on the problems that government is powerless to resolve at a given time.

For instance.

At the American Revolution, the British crown was punishing Americans with great ferocity, with little regard for the innocent who suffered along with the guilty. So the Bill of Rights was written with an eye to guaranteeing the rights of the accused, because that was the leading evil of the day, punishing the innocent.

In the late 1980's, many US states returned to capital punishment; many did so after having banned it for 50 years or more. The reason was that American jurisprudence was widely seen as failing to punish the guilty.

See, in my view, people oscilate between the two poles, in response to the evils of the day.

A lot of todays older "conservatives" were actually rooting for the civil rights movement 40 years ago, which was an admittedly "liberal" cause, and remains so today. But the "evils of the day" have changed, and so a lot of people seem much more conservative now than they were.

Many Americans voted "conservative" in the last election; I believe less from an ideological stance than from the belief that conservative attitudes would be better able to "fix things" at the current moment.

I think (rightly or not), liberalism has been "tagged" as being anti-religion. And a lot of voters have felt recently that America's problems were not that it had too much religion, but too little. Not too many calls to personal morality and responsibility, but too few.

When America's "unsolved problems" change again, I sure that the voting patterns will, too.

posted on Nov, 13 2005 @ 08:09 AM
Thank you for the replys.

While LA Maximus' responses i think apply to anyone, Liberal as well as Conservative, I appreciate and respect your answers.

Dr. Strangecraft, thank you. I never heard it put so eloquently before. I agree, i think its more a fixit for the here and now and can change.

posted on Nov, 13 2005 @ 11:00 AM
Well said dr_strangecraft.

Being a conservative is (this is hard for me to format) all about "values"

What means most to me, besides family, church, work and friends..AND what I will hammer into my boys heads to set them on the path that I think is the correct one.

One "value" I see as a the ability to keep things simple.

Black and white....Good and Evil. There is no Grey area for us.

Anyhow dgtemp, I hope Im not wasting your thread here, but Im doing the best I can to spill my conservative guts and let you know what makes me tick...and what drives me.

Its those same values that me sign away (4) years of my life in the US Army and than (2) years active reserves, because I feel action is stronger than words (another conservative value) I could boast about Americas military...or I could earn the right to wear that uniform and see for myself.


posted on Nov, 13 2005 @ 12:24 PM
Conservatives are... conservative. That's the complete original definition.

If you're using "conservative" in the modern American political sense-- that is, as a synonym for "Republican," then a conservative is simply a person who roots for the Republican team instead of the Democrat team.

If you're using it in the traditional sense, then a conservative is one who:

Tends to support the status quo and to oppose change,
Tends to favor simple and time-tested approaches over new and untested ones,
Tends to support traditional institutions over new ones,
Tends to support strict societal controls over individual freedom,
and so on.

Oddly enough, by that definition, modern American Democrats are largely conservative, since their focus has become resisting change rather than implementing it. The clearest example of this is Social Security, about which the only remaining debate is exactly when it will collapse. In response to the certainty that it will indeed go broke, and in the not terribly distant future, the Democrats' plan (so far) is to do exactly nothing and to leave the established program exactly as it is rather than run the risk of changing it. This it entirely a conservative viewpoint.

In short, a conservative is one who, regardless of nominal party affiliation, resists change.

posted on Nov, 13 2005 @ 05:20 PM
While it may seem more visceral than philosphical, LA_max hit on a point made about conservative's "love of action over words."

Looking at the 2 major parties' candidates, each one infuriated the followers of the other party, and the reasons are quite telling psychologically.

Bush comes off as laconic at best, mispoken at worst. Yet in the conservative universe, this is actually an appeal. He isn't "slick," he isn't as rehearsed, and he says what he's thinking, with out being overly concerned about how his words may sound to his opponents. For liberals, this looked like the model of the southern idiot; brash, incoherent, and focused on a "Git 'r Done" mentality that is uneducated and lacks self-reflection.

Kerry's presentation appealed to liberal viewers because he was serious, careful in his choice of words, and took the time to go "beyond sound-bites" and admit when mitigating factors impacted his views, or when his opponents had a genuine point. To liberals, Kerry did an honorable job of appearing thoughtful and deep, two important liberal values. To conservatives, he seemed like a professional "suit," a talking head who lacked the courage of his convictions, and who could never give a simple "yes" or "no" answer.

I honestly believe that Kerry was headed for a win until the final debate. Talking about use of American force overseas, Bush asked whether Kerry believed we should have an "international litmus test" before we acted unilaterally with force. Kerry meant that he didn't agree with the idea of a litmus test. But he couldn't ever say "no." He rambled on and on about America's image around the world, and why it should be rare for us to act, etc, and etc.

Bush said, "was that a "no?" and the audience roared. In my opinion, Kerry lost the election in that moment.

Did the US electorate suddenly become conservative in that instant? No. But they felt, on the eve of that debate, that the threats to peace and security required decisive actions, and not more words. Bush succeeded in reminding the American voter of that underlying sense, and capitalized on it.

People didn't suddenly change political stripes; and they haven't changed back from conservatism either. They saw a need; Bush articulated that need with a question better than Kerry had with his 2-minute answer.

On the other hand, it has gone the opposite way in US history. Personally, I have NEVER believed that Nixon lost the 1960 debates against Kennedy because he had bad makeup. I believe Nixon lost because Americans distrusted his "action-oriented" worldview

That same worldview got him elected 8 years later, when the people wanted out of vietnam, and the democrats seemed to talk endlessly without offering a solution. Nixon's "I have a secret plan" was all it took to beat McGovern soundly.

I think Carter won in 1976 because he could articulate the concept of Detente with the USSR, and Ford couldn't find a word for it.

As a final thought, I think the reason Reagan held such appeal was that he could reach both crowds effectively. His response would be to blend a "liberal" and a "conservative answer: "Yes. And here's why. . . ." His short yes/no response appealed to conservatives, while liberals had to admit that he had a consistent and articulated policy, even when they disagreed with it.

[edit on 13-11-2005 by dr_strangecraft]

posted on Nov, 13 2005 @ 09:04 PM

A person who owns more than one gun.

Well I own quite a few, I don't know anyone that would consider me a "conservative" - then again I am not really much of a "liberal" either...

I am extremely cynical about labels - in the classical sense a "liberal" is supposed to be someone who supports individual rights. And modern liberals tend to see individual rights as secondary to the "rights of the community".

"Conservatives" are supposed to believe in limited government, yet modern "conservatives" unfailingly seem to support the expansion of government size and power.

Perhaps that's one reason our political scene in the US is so screwed up: the "liberals" aren't liberal and the "conservatives" aren't conservative. Instead we have two statist parties pushing government as a substitute parent, the right wants the State to be your daddy and the left wants it to be your mommy. No wonder people are fed up, isn't one set of parents sufficient?

posted on Nov, 13 2005 @ 10:08 PM
This is a very simple explanation and its not meant as a joke.

I always thought a conservative was someone who wanted to stick closer to the original constitution (keep things the way they were) and a Liberal was out to change things (for the better). I may be wrong, please let me know.

posted on Dec, 16 2005 @ 10:08 AM
The reason it's confusing is that "conservative" has two legitimate meanings and at least one twisted one.

One legitimate meaning is a tratitionalist, someone who wants to preserve (or "conserve") the traditions of society against innovation. Liberals (or "progressives") champion change (or "progress") instead.

The second legitimate meaning is the advocacy of the interests of the privileged and wealthy against the common people. Liberals champion the common people instead.

In practical politics as it translates into government policy, conservative administrations all seem to follow the second definition. But many people who call themselves conservatives follow the first one, and are merely used by those who follow the second.

The twisted definition involves the military, war and peace, and involvement abroad. "Conservatives" on these issues tend to be in favor of foreign intervention and a huge military, and less wary of getting into wars than "liberals." Yet if you look over our country's history prior to World War II, the opposite should be the case, because traditionally the U.S. has always maintained a very small military, avoided foreign entanglements, and avoided major wars. When we didn't avoid them, e.g. the War of 1812 and the Mexican War, they were very controversial.

I believe it was the Cold War that engineered this looking-glass view. Before World War II, when the Soviet Union was not yet a superpower, conservatives were strongly anti-Communist for reasons based in both of the legitimate definitions. Communism was atheistic and thus threatened American cultural traditions; Communism also championed the working class and was connected with the labor union movement. After World War II, these two things interacted with the new reality of the Soviet Union being a great power to promote a more militaristic stance (which they hadn't before World War II because the threat of Communism was not seen in military terms). Although the Cold War is over, we're still keeping with these attitudes out of sheer momentum, or maybe because it's profitable for our corporations.

Edit: It should be, but is not, unnecessary to add that "conservative" does not equal "Republican" and "liberal" does not equal "Democrat." Richard Nixon's administration was, by all three of the above definitions, very liberal indeed, while Bill Clinton's was fairly conservative. Also, with the victory of the DLC (hopefully temporary), the Democrats have become conservative by the second definition -- the one that counts -- and remain liberal only by the first, and only in trivial ways.

[edit on 16-12-2005 by Two Steps Forward]

posted on Dec, 16 2005 @ 02:12 PM
I know this an oversimpilfication but this my observation.

Conservatives worship authority because they would like to be authority figures themselves, so they could wield power over others.
Liberals question authority because they know that power corrupts.

posted on Dec, 29 2005 @ 07:28 PM
Both parties work generally toward the same goal, they just have a different map and path to get there.

A conservative would not look first to the government to solve the problem of poverty, but to the individual. It isn't a joke but a maxim, "If you teach a man to fish, he eats for life. If you give a man a fish he eats for a day."

A conservative would ask first why the man hadn't taken a fishing class, while the liberal would ask why the government doesn't provide fishing classes to those who might be indigent. Same goal, different path.

The conservative might answer, "I worked myself through fishing school, and am better for the individual struggle..."

The liberal might anser him, "But fishing school doesn't provide enough to keep him fed while attending class..."

The conservative keeps a belief that the individual is the place where the battle must be waged, not the whole of society. The liberal a belief that since all of society are to be concerned they should also wage the battle at that level. (An example, centralized healthcare).

Those are my ideas of what draws the line between liberal and conservative in the current political climate of the US.

posted on Dec, 30 2005 @ 06:08 PM
Well, at least for me, there isn’t any straight forward answer. I myself don't think I belong to any label because I dont think I fit any mold, and because in my opinion Republican doesn't always mean Conservative and Democrat doesn't always mean Liberal. Now many people on here don't like to reveal what their specific views are, but here’s a sample of what I believe in.

I don’t entirely agree with the concept of limited government.
I’m an atheist.
I don't agree on Affirmative Action.
I believe in a strict immigrating policy.
I don’t think lowering every single tax is a good idea, but I don't also don't think over taxation is good either.
I believe in supporting and maintaining a strong military.
In always placing our laws and regulations before those of any world organization or charter.
And I also don’t agree with people who use Separation of Church and State to oppress people of faith.

I don’t think many people adhere to the stick classic definition to conservative. Someone already pointed out that there is the traditional definition and the new definition of what it means to be a conservative.
At least that's how view things

[edit on 30-12-2005 by WestPoint23]

posted on Dec, 30 2005 @ 08:01 PM

Originally posted by whaaa
I know this an oversimpilfication but this my observation.

Conservatives worship authority because they would like to be authority figures themselves, so they could wield power over others.
Liberals question authority because they know that power corrupts.

Um... Not sure what you base your observations off. But, I would consider myself a conservative and I can't stand authority. I consider myself a Conservative mainly because...

I believe in conscientious spending.
I believe in "less" government and therefore "less" authority figures.
I believe that with less government there will also be a decline in taxation.
I am pro life.
I support the 5th Amendment.
I believe that you need to speak softly and carry a big stick. In other words I support a large well funded military.
I believe that we should use our military to help those that can't help themselves.
I believe we should not be influenced in our decision making by other countries.
And finally...

I hate lawyers.

There are more, but its getting late.

Oh... I do understand that voting Republican doesn't always mean I will get all these things.

*edited for one more*

I can't stand people that think they are smarter then everyone else. Not saying there are no Conservatives that think this way, but in my experiences a majority of Liberals have this mind set.

[edit on 30-12-2005 by LostSailor]

posted on Apr, 2 2006 @ 03:35 PM
I'll bite. I'll state my positions and you decide if I'm conservative, neo-con, neo-liberal, or whatever:

Anti-abortion, no exceptions
Pro-death penalty
For smaller government
Isolationist (no foreign entanglements)
I believe that if it can be made in America, it should be.
For limited immigration (legal immigration)
Against ILLEGAL immigration
Traditionalist--dad works, mom raises kids (my family is like that--I stay home)

I'm also against picking fights with other countries and sticking our nose in other nations' business, which fits under Isolationist.

posted on Apr, 3 2006 @ 09:56 PM
Conservative: I have my standards and they apply to everyone.

Liberal: I have my standards and since I am smart enough to figure out what they are, I think you are smart enough to figure out what yours are.

That's from my observations, anyway.

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