Conservative First

March 4, 2009

Just Conservatives

Filed under: Politics — Sofie @ 10:08 pm
Tags: , ,

Conservatism is a political philosophy based on the premises “that all men [and women] are . . . equal, that they are endowed . . . with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness [i.e., individual liberty], [and that] to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men [i.e., limited government], deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed” (Declaration of Independence).

A conservative is someone who accepts, adheres to, and argues from these premises.  A person who doesn’t believe in these principles, individual liberty and limited government, is not a conservative.

We don’t need labels like fiscal conservative, social conservative, paleoconservative, neoconservative, etc.  Either someone is a conservative, or he or she is not–period.

1 Comment

  1. When was it decided that these thoughts are the province of modern conservatives? I would say that almost the entire spectrum of current political thought can be traced back to these foundational principles. Certainly, it would be wrong for either group to hijack the intentions of the founding fathers for their own purposes.

    To cite just one example, many advocates of Obama-style healthcare reform would reference rights to life and pursuit of happiness as a justification for those reforms. But that is hardly “conservative” in any modern sense.

    Arthur Schlesinger wrote fantastic definitions of conservative and liberal, way back in 1956: “The liberal believes that society can and should be improved and that the way to improve it is to apply the human intelligence to social and economic problems. The conservative, on balance, opposes efforts at purposeful change because he believes that things are about as good as they can be reasonably expected to be, and that any change is more likely than not to be for the worse.” []

    I believe that remains a valid distinction right to this very day.

    Comment by The Center Square — March 4, 2009 @ 10:27 pm

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