Defining 'Conservative'

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  • #1
Zero

Main Question or Discussion Point

How do you define it?
 

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  • #2
Originally posted by Zero
How do you define it?
More easily then "Liberal" I suspect.
 
  • #3
Zero
Well, I wonder...being 'conservative' would mean ...no deficit spending, for instance?
 
  • #4
BoulderHead
It means different things to different people. I knew a successful businessman who saved old scraps of paper to use for notepad material because he thought that was one of the things conservatives where supposed to do. I knew of a woman from Albany NY who washed paper towels then hung them out to dry in order to reuse them later. She did this like the first gentleman, not because she was cheap but because she thought that was part of what being a conservative was all about.
I’m curious to see if we’ll find from these two topics you’ve started that, similar to religious views held, people will have different ideas when the surface is scratched, yet group together under these banners to form voting blocks.

I think there is some truth in my old sig quote concerning liberals and conservatives;

Conservative, n. A statesman who is enamored of existing evils, as distinguished from the liberal, who wishes to replace them with others.
-- Ambrose Bierce
 
  • #5
Bystander
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"Conservative?" "Liberal?" Really, a single thread --- in the U.S. both terms are used as perjoratives, both identify politically extreme positions, both conceal hidden agendas behind an "I'm only considering your best interests" smokescreen, both are invariably used to polarize discussions, and both terms are adopted by users who alter "definitions" to flatter themselves.

Liberal: a diehard dem. Conservative: a diehard repub.
 
  • #6
Thats sorta what I was Fishing for, the context you wanted the terms defined in, American, Canadian, British, French, etc.
 
  • #7
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Originally posted by Zero
Well, I wonder...being 'conservative' would mean ...no deficit spending, for instance?
Well..no deficit spending might make you a fiscal conservative but not neccesarily 'convservative'...
 
  • #8
Zero
blanket statements..
 
  • #9
Zero
Originally posted by Bystander
"Conservative?" "Liberal?" Really, a single thread --- in the U.S. both terms are used as perjoratives, both identify politically extreme positions, both conceal hidden agendas behind an "I'm only considering your best interests" smokescreen, both are invariably used to polarize discussions, and both terms are adopted by users who alter "definitions" to flatter themselves.

Liberal: a diehard dem. Conservative: a diehard repub.
Are any of those actually accurate, though?
 
  • #10
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Conservative is anyone who is both not getting enuff sex and thinks others shouldnot eathor

or a backward thinker who belives that it was better in olden days

or belivers in fairytales, who also wants the fairytales to be laws of the land
or that there is a GOD and HE is on their side ONLY


anyone who thinks moderates are commies or at least pinko's

anyone who thinks that liberal is a bad thing
 
  • #11
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Originally posted by Zero
Are any of those actually accurate, though?
Haven't actually counted evolutionary flip-flops over the past 300 years --- what used to be liberal is now conservative, and vice versa --- like I say, the flips could have flopped more times than once. "Accurate?" I really doubt if you're going to find an accurate definition --- to my mind one which sorts liberals and conservatives according to philosophies and corresponds to the names applied to the party platforms/movements of various periods of history. For example, Disraeli is which? And today, he would be the opposite with no change in his personal approaches to issues. Pitt? Hell, Ghengis Khan was a liberal; but, would he have been described as a liberal a century ago.
 
  • #12
Zero
Well, it is the same way that communism is often associated with 'liberalism', when in practice it is very 'conservative'. Certainly, the people in America who describe themselves as 'most conservative' strike me as being radicals...and can someone be a conservative radical, or shouldn't that be an oxymoron?
 
  • #13
schwarzchildradius
Conservative, n. A statesman who is enamored of existing evils, as distinguished from the liberal, who wishes to replace them with others.
That's a cute, old-timey quote. A conservative position is supposed to be centrist and wise, supportive of a free-market enterprising economy that's busy industrializeing and expanding. The word 'conservative' implies preserving resources for future use in a time of need. Environmentalists, factory workers, a good fraction of women and the poor are conservative. (not to mention anybody low on gas in the middle of Canada)
All of the McLaughlin group are conservative, except Tony. Some of the people who say they are conservative are liars. Why is that? (or is it so?)
 
  • #14
Zero
Originally posted by schwarzchildradius
That's a cute, old-timey quote. A conservative position is supposed to be centrist and wise, supportive of a free-market enterprising economy that's busy industrializeing and expanding. The word 'conservative' implies preserving resources for future use in a time of need. Environmentalists, factory workers, a good fraction of women and the poor are conservative. (not to mention anybody low on gas in the middle of Canada)
All of the McLaughlin group are conservative, except Tony. Some of the people who say they are conservative are liars. Why is that? (or is it so?)
Because it is popular with the powerful people to claim conservatism? Oh, and the religiosos love 'conservatives', even (or maybe especially) when they are being lied to.
 
  • #15
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Originally posted by Zero
Well, it is the same way that communism is often associated with 'liberalism', when in practice it is very 'conservative'.


"Transitions" from most monarchial, or other very centralized govts., to communist regimes in the 20th century have been "liberal" steps, or peddled to the public involved as "liberal" improvements to lifestyle and livelihood (Tsar to Lenin, Batista to Castro), but once in power, communists are extremely conservative regarding any sort of public initiative or participation in the "revolutions." Mao's grab in China was an old fashioned warlord/robber baron power grab from the beginnning, likewise Pol Pot --- Ho and Kim were probably the traditional oriental warlords as well.
Certainly, the people in America who describe themselves as 'most conservative' strike me as being radicals...and can someone be a conservative radical, or shouldn't that be an oxymoron?
"Reactionary?" rather than "radical?" And, since Roosevelt, T. not F., in which direction has this govt. evolved? Toward less private option in decision making or more? Individual freedoms increased in western civilization from the Magna Carta through the "USDoI;" the slavery issue, 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments aside, Lincoln was a very reactionary conservative regarding the constitution (slave/free was a pre-civil war set of rules for congressional power, and it turned post-war into southern democrat, violently reactionary conservatives vis a vis Dixie, vs. a buncha damned yankee liberal republicans, violently reactionary conservatives vis a vis saving the union).

You are trying to hit wildly moving targets trying to define today's politically "hot" words --- politicians are, as a group, psychopaths, megalomaniacs, and really very averse to being characterized by any sort of solid definition that they might be held to at a later date --- liberal and conservative are two different names for identical styles of "white hats" to be worn by frauds, thieves, cheats, phonies, crooks, shysters, child molesters, mopes, dopes, and other scum while they're working their scams.

Operationally, the two words are indistinguishable --- the result of any activity by either is the same, money is missing from my pocket, the roads are in worse shape, crime stats are up, jail times are down, and high school grads vocabularies continue to shrink.
 
  • #16
Originally posted by Bystander
(SNIP) You are trying to hit wildly moving targets trying to define today's politically "hot" words --- politicians are, as a group, psychopaths, megalomaniacs, and really very averse to being characterized by any sort of solid definition that they might be held to at a later date --- liberal and conservative are two different names for identical styles of "white hats" to be worn by frauds, thieves, cheats, phonies, crooks, shysters, child molesters, mopes, dopes, and other scum while they're working their scams.
Operationally, the two words are indistinguishable --- the result of any activity by either is the same, money is missing from my pocket, the roads are in worse shape, crime stats are up, jail times are down, and high school grads vocabularies continue to shrink. (SNoP)
Just a little/wee bit negative are we???
 
  • #17
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politicians are, as a group, psychopaths, megalomaniacs, and really very averse to being characterized by any sort of solid definition that they might be held to at a later date
...
Operationally, the two words are indistinguishable --- the result of any activity by either is the same, money is missing from my pocket, the roads are in worse shape, crime stats are up, jail times are down, and high school grads vocabularies continue to shrink.
Congratulations, I agree. :smile:

Still, can we believe naively that some of them are less horrific than the others?

And then again, whose fault is all this?
 
  • #18
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Liberals are progressives

Conservatives are regressives
 
  • #19
schwarzchildradius
well said, bystander, they are definitely white hats worn by frauders and fakes. I don't think that the true philosophies are fundamentally identical, though. Far from it - who would call an Environmentalist a "conservative" when that is clearly what they are (as well as park rangers, environmental lawyers etc). The "Conservatives" are the owners and managers of logging and oil companies who have designs on natural resources - they're actively draining such resources at a rate that will ruin the country in the span of one lifetime.
cheers.
 
  • #20
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OK, Zero's gonna have to specify whether he's interested in "liberal vs. conservative" politics, or "l vs. c" philosophies; methinks we're looking at two entirely different animals if we apply the words as modifiers to "politics" and "philosophy."
 
  • #21
Zero
Originally posted by Bystander
OK, Zero's gonna have to specify whether he's interested in "liberal vs. conservative" politics, or "l vs. c" philosophies; methinks we're looking at two entirely different animals if we apply the words as modifiers to "politics" and "philosophy."
Actually, I'm hoping this will kind of be a free-form jam on the subject. I'm wondering if anyone will state that they are a conservative, describe what it means to them, and we'll see if anyone sees it differently.
 
  • #22
Well I am sorta 'conservative', don't like wasting resources, but then again, I also like to be 'liberal' in sharing resources with friends.

Guess that makes me sort of a "Liberal" "Conservative", or is it a "Conservative" "Liberal"?

Here in Canada, we have the Progressive Conservative Party....see if you can figure that one out!
 
  • #23
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OK, this is PF, right? "Physics Forums." Is physics philosophically liberal, or conservative? The field depends upon a handful of established principles, and rigorous protocols for applications of those principles to elucidating information about the universe, solving problems, and testing hypotheses in efforts to expand the set of established principles and protocols --- strikes me as "conservative," and results oriented.

Let's compare this to threads that wind up in TD or M&PS --- Graham Hanquack kind of stuff --- "nothing is certain," therefore anything is as good an approach or explanation of natural phenomena as the dull, mundane, boring, stodgy, conservative establishment scientists can come up with. Overstated a bit?

In this context, science vs. nonsense, "conservative" means systematic, consistent, and effective, and the alternative approach is a lot of willy-nilly flailing around --- shall we call it a "liberal" philosophical approach to science?
 
  • #24
Zero
Originally posted by Bystander
OK, this is PF, right? "Physics Forums." Is physics philosophically liberal, or conservative? The field depends upon a handful of established principles, and rigorous protocols for applications of those principles to elucidating information about the universe, solving problems, and testing hypotheses in efforts to expand the set of established principles and protocols --- strikes me as "conservative," and results oriented.

Let's compare this to threads that wind up in TD or M&PS --- Graham Hanquack kind of stuff --- "nothing is certain," therefore anything is as good an approach or explanation of natural phenomena as the dull, mundane, boring, stodgy, conservative establishment scientists can come up with. Overstated a bit?

In this context, science vs. nonsense, "conservative" means systematic, consistent, and effective, and the alternative approach is a lot of willy-nilly flailing around --- shall we call it a "liberal" philosophical approach to science?
Actually, I think you bring up a good point. Conservatism can be a great thing...but it never progresses. Liberalism produces great new ideas, but can slip into undisciplined nonsense. Wouldn't that show that we need a bit of both, instead of one side trying to eradicate the other?
 
  • #25
Originally posted by schwarzchildradius
The word 'conservative' implies preserving resources for future use in a time of need. Environmentalists, factory workers, a good fraction of women and the poor are conservative. (not to mention anybody low on gas in the middle of Canada)
No, don't confuse "conservationist" with "conservative".
 

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