With the political winds now blowing favorably for liberals, or “progressives” as they have more recently labeled themselves, another label (conservative) seems to have gained a negative connotation among some.
Actually, there’s really nothing negative about conservatism, at least compared to all other alternatives.
First, we should think about what conservatism actually is.
The first definition in Webster’s Online Dictionary, by Wordnet, defines conservatism as “A political or theological orientation advocating the preservation of the best in society and opposing radical changes.” The second definition, by Webster, defines the term as “The disposition and tendency to preserve what is established; opposition to change; the habit of mind; or conduct, of a conservative.”
Alright, I can already hear the static anti-establishment crowd now. Relax. If conservatism means the preservation of an establishment, what is that establishment?
It obviously can’t be any current establishment, or conservatives like myself would be silent and content with any political winds that blow through. The establishment that conservatives mean to preserve is that of our founding, including American first principles like contribution to society, independence from unnecessary assistance or control, common-sense in financial matters, honesty, free speech and religious practice, the pursuit of happiness, the protection of human life, and ultimately reliance on God as the giver of all rights and possessions and provider of all needs.
In this dictionary, definitions for the terms liberal or liberalism can’t be found…hmm. The term “progressivism”, however, can be found. As the first listed definition, Wordnet states,:”The political orientation of those who favor progress toward better conditions in government and society.” Well, that’s a vague no-brainer. It’s no secret that’s how those who follow this philosophy want the rest of us to perceive it. But don’t give up on me yet.
Moving down the list, there are more specific definitions of progressivism, such as for Economic Progressivism, defined as “…a political economic ideology that supports a progressive tax.” But wait, there’s more. It gets better.
Progressivism in the United States is defined as “…a cluster of political, activist, and media organizations ranging from left-liberal to democratic socialism.” Oh, it’s a cluster, alright.
Sold yet? Within the given definition for Social Progressivism, it is stated that this philosophy “…today generally supports same-sex marriage, birth control, and women’s right to choose an abortion.”
There are plenty of examples of progressive or liberal figures we could discuss. They’re plastered all over NBC, CNN, CBS, and ABC on a daily basis. If you occasionally check up on these figures from news and commentary on FoxNews or talk radio, then double-check the facts next to other sources (especially official public records and statistics such as with the CBO); you’ll likely see the hypocracy of these liberals.
I’m much more interested, though, in the figures who have stood for conservatism, as we now understand it. In modern history, Ronald Reagan comes to mind as the most influential figure for conservatism in our lifetimes. He is often praised, myself included, as a great leader in this regard. But what made him great?
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