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Defining 'Conservative'

  1. Aug 19, 2003 #1
    How do you define it?
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 19, 2003 #2
    More easily then "Liberal" I suspect.
  4. Aug 20, 2003 #3
    Well, I wonder...being 'conservative' would mean ...no deficit spending, for instance?
  5. Aug 20, 2003 #4
    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
  6. Aug 20, 2003 #5


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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.
  7. Aug 20, 2003 #6
    Thats sorta what I was Fishing for, the context you wanted the terms defined in, American, Canadian, British, French, etc.
  8. Aug 20, 2003 #7


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    Well..no deficit spending might make you a fiscal conservative but not neccesarily 'convservative'...
  9. Aug 20, 2003 #8
    blanket statements..
  10. Aug 20, 2003 #9
    Are any of those actually accurate, though?
  11. Aug 20, 2003 #10
    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
  12. Aug 20, 2003 #11


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    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.
  13. Aug 21, 2003 #12
    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?
  14. Aug 21, 2003 #13
    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?)
  15. Aug 21, 2003 #14
    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.
  16. Aug 21, 2003 #15


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    "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.
    "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.
  17. Aug 21, 2003 #16
    Just a little/wee bit negative are we???
  18. Aug 21, 2003 #17


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    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?
  19. Aug 21, 2003 #18
    Liberals are progressives

    Conservatives are regressives
  20. Aug 22, 2003 #19
    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.
  21. Aug 22, 2003 #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."
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