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Who are the 'REAL' conservatives?

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  • Who are the 'REAL' conservatives?

    I'm an observer of US politics but obviously not an expert. I have a reasonable understanding of the English language too. I think I understand what the words 'liberal' and conservative' mean. IMO I think some Americans have very idiosyncratic definitions of those words.

    In a recent thread, someone mentioned something about how 'liberal' the US was (with negative connotation). I replied that that was hard to see given the great success of the Republicans at the mid terms. I was told Republicans aren't really conservative. This kind of boggled my mind.

    Could posters from the US educate me in what a real Conservative politician looks like? Is there a truly conservative US party in your opinion? Could a truly conservative politician or party (as you define them) ever gain electoral support in the US (or anywhere)? Are there conservative politicians in other countries you admire? Are there conservative governments elsewhere in the world?

  • #2
    In my opinion, it's all relative.
    Everyone exists on a spectrum, and each individual issue has its own spectrum.

    Americans call the opposite ends of that spectrum "liberal" and "conservative".

    In my experience, a politician basically puts up an illusion during campaign season in order to convince self-identifying Conservatives AND Liberals that he/she is "conservative enough" and "liberal enough," respectively, that they will consider him/her a kindred spirit, and thus vote for him/her.

    Once in office, all bets are off.

    At least in the cosmically vast majority of cases.


    In my opinion, no sane person is 100% "liberal" or "conservative" across the board, mainly because I personally consider the extremes of the spectrum to be Communism and Fascism, respectively, which of course are much closer to one another than either side would admit.
    “In many ways the evidence of our faith is found in our ability to control our tongue (or our keyboard)."
    -Adam Hamilton, Seeing Gray in a World of Black and White

    Comment


    • #3
      Yeah, sometimes it seems there are as many concepts of conservatism as there are conservatives.

      In the US, conservatives come in at least two flavors - fiscal and social. Of these, the social conservatives are far more numerous and powerful. For some time now, the Republican party has been splitting into these camps.

      There is little visible difference (to me) between social conservatives and religious conservatives, because religious notions tend to inform and drive the social conservatives. These people are willing to see as large, expensive, and powerful a central government as it takes to enforce their religious convictions - that is, to outlaw same-sex marriage, to outlaw abortion, and to get Jesus inserted back into public life (and schools) where it has always belonged.

      The fiscal conservatives tend to be much more libertarian in the sense that they want smaller and less intrusive government. They often express a desire for government to get entirely out of the marriage business (I'm not sure about the death or divorce business), though they stop at trying to get government out of our personal lives in some ways. I know of no conservatives, though I am sure there are some, who think abortion is none of government's business.

      Then there are peripheral issues. Conservatives tend to think global warming is a hoax, that minorities are somehow granted special rights and privileges, that a strong national defense is necessary even if it means fighting multiple (incredibly expensive) wars simultaneously with no particular purpose for any of them.

      Liberals, on the other hand, believe that minorities should have identical rights as anyone else, even if identical rights are somehow special privileges. Liberals tend to think larger government is better government, that government is the default most appropriate solution to nearly any problem, and that policemen sometimes make mistakes.

      What confuses all this is that the philosophies often conflict with the politics. For example, in the US the Affordable Care Act is a rallying point unifying conservative opposition across the board even though nearly all the provisions of the ACA were put forth by Republicans and conservative think tanks. I'm quite sure that opposition to everything Obama proposes is so unified and orchestrated that Obama could propose eliminating abortion and putting prayer back into schools, and Republicans would vote against it unanimously! Imagine the ignominy of giving one of, you know, them, so much credit for anything.

      So a real conservative politician is anyone who despises Obama and votes against him regardless. A real conservative individual traditionally was more concerned with maintaining cultural values, reducing crime, supporting families, and keeping political control as local as possible. But Orwell has once again crept in the back door, so if you see an organization called (for example) Society for the Advancement of Marriage, you can know that they oppose marriage (except for those like themselves, of course). Society for Responsible (fill in the blank) is dedicated to irresponsible opposition to whatever fills in the blank. This is true for both liberals and conservatives.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by pancreasman View Post
        I'm an observer of US politics but obviously not an expert. I have a reasonable understanding of the English language too. I think I understand what the words 'liberal' and conservative' mean. IMO I think some Americans have very idiosyncratic definitions of those words.

        In a recent thread, someone mentioned something about how 'liberal' the US was (with negative connotation). I replied that that was hard to see given the great success of the Republicans at the mid terms. I was told Republicans aren't really conservative. This kind of boggled my mind.

        Could posters from the US educate me in what a real Conservative politician looks like? Is there a truly conservative US party in your opinion? Could a truly conservative politician or party (as you define them) ever gain electoral support in the US (or anywhere)? Are there conservative politicians in other countries you admire? Are there conservative governments elsewhere in the world?
        Republicans today are for the most part like Democrats of the early 1960s. In spite of how the media seeks to portray it they are considerably more liberal (or if you prefer less conservative) than they used to be.

        I'm always still in trouble again

        "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
        "Of course, human life begins at fertilization that’s not the argument." --Tassman

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        • #5
          Just to add some data to the mix:

          con graph.jpg

          from here

          Is this a realistic summary?

          Liberal and conservative values in conflict
          If you listen to liberal or conservative commentators exclusively, you may think there’s only one correct point of view, and the other end of the political spectrum is populated by wackos, evil schemers, and fools. It’s comfortable to think that truth resides exclusively on your side of the divide—but let’s try a mental experiment. Let’s assume that most people, whatever their politics, sincerely believe in their ideals, and that those ideals aren’t all misguided. Let’s look across the chasm and try to see what those other people are thinking.
          2011-VALUES0014.png

          Are US values skewed compared to the rest of the West? see here

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          • #6
            The major differences, which I called social conservatism, are down toward the the bottom of your article. Look at the overwhelming majority of self-described conservatives who believe that faith in THEIR god is required to be moral at all. Compare this with a small minority (about 1/4) of liberals who believe this.

            The related chart, about whether people see themselves as Americans or as Christians, is also an eye-opener. As this and other threads pound away relentlessly, Americans tend to see the world through religious filters. In America, you can't fire an insubordinate employee, you can only fire a CHRISTIAN employee, who was insubordinate for Christian reasons and therefore should be immune from the normal course of an organization's administration. The surveys show how deep this runs.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by phank View Post
              In the US, conservatives come in at least two flavors - fiscal and social. Of these, the social conservatives are far more numerous and powerful. For some time now, the Republican party has been splitting into these camps.
              There's no split, most social conservatives are also fiscal conservatives. The astounding ignorance in this paragraph alone means the rest of your post (which I can't be bothered to read) can be safely ignored.
              "As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths." Isaiah 3:12

              There is no such thing as innocence, only degrees of guilt.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Darth Executor View Post
                There's no split, most social conservatives are also fiscal conservatives. The astounding ignorance in this paragraph alone means the rest of your post (which I can't be bothered to read) can be safely ignored.
                You do realize how immature this makes you appear, right?


                And social conservatives tend to only be fiscally conservative regarding the government programs which fit an ethnocentric, nationalistic, and militaristic mindset.
                You almost never see social conservatives campaigning for a downsized military, or demanding that religious organizations be taxed in order to balance the budget.

                Fiscal conservatives have done both.
                “In many ways the evidence of our faith is found in our ability to control our tongue (or our keyboard)."
                -Adam Hamilton, Seeing Gray in a World of Black and White

                Comment


                • #9
                  FYI: in any political science paper the first thing the author does is define what he means by 'liberal' and 'conservative'. The terms carry a variety of meanings and are about as exact as a dog shaking water - and only somewhat less messy.

                  "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose." - Jim Elliot


                  "Forgiveness is the way of love." Gary Chapman

                  My Personal Blog

                  My Novella blog (Current Novella Begins on 7/25/14)

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Teallaura View Post
                    FYI: in any political science paper the first thing the author does is define what he means by 'liberal' and 'conservative'. The terms carry a variety of meanings and are about as exact as a dog shaking water - and only somewhat less messy.
                    I found this doing my minimal research on line. I do maintain that the US is 'more' conservative generally than most other developed nations and I think some of you guys' heads would explode if you had to live here in OZ or NZ for example.

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                    • #11
                      I remember one incident on another website where a staunch Australian conservative was attacked for supporting gun control, but he stated that this stance was simply normal for conservatives in his country.
                      "I am not angered that the Moral Majority boys campaign against abortion. I am angry when the same men who say, "Save OUR children" bellow "Build more and bigger bombers." That's right! Blast the children in other nations into eternity, or limbless misery as they lay crippled from "OUR" bombers! This does not jell." - Leonard Ravenhill

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Buzzword View Post
                        You do realize how immature this makes you appear, right?
                        Mature is pretty much synonymous with coward and slave these days, so that's fine with me.

                        And social conservatives tend to only be fiscally conservative regarding the government programs which fit an ethnocentric, nationalistic, and militaristic mindset.
                        If only.

                        You almost never see social conservatives campaigning for a downsized military,
                        Fiscal conservatives think the military is one of the few rightful functions of the state so... yeah?

                        or demanding that religious organizations be taxed in order to balance the budget.
                        Yeah fiscal conservatives are well known for demanding more taxes. Especially on non-profits.
                        "As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths." Isaiah 3:12

                        There is no such thing as innocence, only degrees of guilt.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          This is what conservatives actually trying to conserve something act like:

                          B62gdcWIYAAXKCB.jpg

                          Though not even Pat Buchanan has gone as far as to call for this...yet.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by pancreasman View Post
                            Just to add some data to the mix:
                            pooper of the party!
                            "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Buzzword View Post
                              You do realize how immature this makes you appear, right?


                              And social conservatives tend to only be fiscally conservative regarding the government programs which fit an ethnocentric, nationalistic, and militaristic mindset.
                              You almost never see social conservatives campaigning for a downsized military, or demanding that religious organizations be taxed in order to balance the budget.

                              Fiscal conservatives have done both.
                              Maybe we could say that most conservatives are fiscal conservatives, but not all of them are social conservatives. Pure fiscal conservatives want a smaller, less intrusive, far less expensive government. If this means government should stay out of such personal affairs as abortion and marriage, so be it. If this means maintaining only enough defense for actual defense (rather than running overseas to start wars halfway around the world), so be it. If it means legalizing drugs and stopping the prohibitively expensive, totally ineffective drug war, so be it. Fiscal conservatives favor toll roads, so that only those who drive on a road should be paying for it. And so on.

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