What is the meaning of the word “CONSERVATIVE?”
What do we mean when we say that a person or an entity claims to adhere to Conservative principles?
Is there a uniform definition that most people could embrace?
There is a quote that was attributed to the great British philosopher utilitarian Jeremy Bentham: “Error is never so difficult to be destroyed as when it has its roots in language.”
Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary defines the word Conservative as an adjective with the following definitions –
*Believing in the value of established and traditional practices in politics and society: relating to or supporting political conservatism
*Conservative: of or relating to the conservative party in countries like the United Kingdom and Canada
*Not liking or accepting changes or new ideas
Conservatism as a political philosophy took root in Europe and in America with the publication of Edmund Burke’s classic book entitled “Reflections on the Revolution in France (Oxford University Press, Oxford, England, 1790).”
Mr. Burke was a Statesman and political actor in Great Britain in the middle to the late 1700s. Edmund Burke was an early British supporter of the Revolutionary War in the American colonies (1776-1783).
Burke saw that the American colonists were not attempting to form a new government as much as they were revolting against what they saw as a radical change in the existing order that had governed them from the early colonial founding – 1607 to 1650.
The American statesmen were used to a tremendous degree of economic and cultural independence; as a matter of fact, it was quite possible for thousands of colonists to live their whole lives without ever seeing a British (Red Coat) soldier!
When the British Government under the leadership of King George III found itself in an economic quandary after the French and Indian War (1756-1763), they looked to the colonists as a means of raising revenue to cover their war debts.
The colonists did not object to paying higher taxes: they objected to the heavy handedness in which His Majesty’s government carried out the economic edicts.
The colonists wished to “conserve” their long-standing relationship with the British Crown by appealing to British government’s sense of prudence, reason, goodwill, and noblesse-oblige (nobility obligates).
Today those of us who adhere to a “conservative philosophy” – that is the belief or worldview which enunciates that the chief role of society (please note that I did not say a “national government” – Smile!) is to *preserve the value of established and traditional practices in politics and society…” must ask ourselves what is the best way to go about accomplishing this goal?
Do we seek to use the levers of government at the local, state, and federal levels to push a conservative agenda (this has been going on since the late William F. Buckley, Jr. founded his magazine “National Review” 60 years ago in 1955)?
Do we take a time-out and attempt to influence the areas of the Arts and Entertainment; the Media; Educational institutions and Non-Profit organizations?
Do we go back to our places of Worship and attempt to affect primary change in the lives of the faithful?
Or will it take a collaborative endeavor in all of the aforementioned areas?
Please consider these questions with all earnestness.
This is not an Academic Exercise!!!
The very life, nature and health of our “republican form of government” – or if you prefer our “indirect democracy” is at stake.
Next week I would like to begin by looking at Conservatism as a philosophy and how we would use this philosophy as a mean to evaluate the candidates of both political parties.
GOD Bless You!!!