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Describe Conservative philosophy.

Discussion in 'General Political Discussion' started by Alabaster, Dec 25, 2005.

  1. Alabaster

    Alabaster New Member

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    Since I asked about liberal attitudes, I suppose it should be important to see from where people are starting their analysis. This is intended to be for Conservatives only. I would like self-described conservatives to define Conservativism. Define the value systems you are operating from, from an ideological point of view. Please produce seminal thinkers and the philosophical underpinnings. What is the philosophical ideology you are operating under?

    This is intended for Conservatives only please, I cannot stress this enough. After a week or so it might be possible to open it up further, but I think it would be important to let Conservatives define themselves, and not have them defined by outside parties.
     
  2. Voegelin

    Voegelin Reactionary

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    No thanks. The Socratic Method was an annoying bore in college and I have no desire for more of it. Nor of playing "define it!".

    Have something to say, say it.

    [move]---30---[/move]
     
  3. Alabaster

    Alabaster New Member

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    Well first I would like to know what college uses the Socratic method. That would be unusual.

    Secondly I would return to the college in question and demand that they teach you what the Socratic method is, since the above question is not the Socratic method. There is more to the Socratic method that simply asking questions.

    How ironic. You have to ask what the definition of the Socratic method is because you think asking for definitions is part of the Socratic method.

    After that you can define Conservative philosophy.
     
  4. ChrisB803

    ChrisB803 New Member

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    OK, I'll take a stab at this. Of course defining anyone as "liberal" or "conservative" is subject to all kinds of conjecture. Someone can be a social conservative, but an ecological liberal (IE, someone who thinks abortion should be illegal, but spending money on alternative energy is a waste of time ... and energy). Another person might be socially liberal (what is more commonly thought of as a normal liberal), but espouse conservation of our natural resources.

    So here's where I see conservatives: They are most often for social responsibility. Smaller governmental powers, more emphasis on people taking care of each other. They advocate social reforms, such as restricting access to abortion, teaching abstinence as the only 100% safe from of safe sex, etc. Most conservatives also believe in fiscal responsibility. Cut government programs, encourage financial responsibility, cut taxes and increase the amount of money people have to put back into the economy. Encourage capitalistic enterprise and innovation.

    Some of the gray areas are in economic responsibility. The search for capitalistic enterprise has turned some conservatives from their traditionally economic roots. While there seems to be a resurgance in ecological responsibility amongst many conservatives, they are still not generally thought of as being "eco-friendly".

    While most conservatives are pro-life, the majority do advocate capital punishment, seeing it as a major deterant to crime in major cities, as well as a cheaper method of dealing with "chronic" criminals (or, they say, it would be cheaper if it was done right). They're also for God in schools, although most still don't advocate a state-mandated religion.

    Personally I'm conservative across the board: I believe people need to take responsibility for themselves and others, rather than the government trying to do it all for us. I believe lower taxes and smarter spending would make for a strong economy, and I believe that seeking solutions to envirnmental problems would help to CREATE new jobs, not the opposite. These new jobs would further help to strengthen the economy not just now, but in the future as they would be innovative and higher tech.

    As for conservative thinkers who've influenced the current generation... Abraham Lincoln certainly comes to mind, Winston Churchill of course, and more recently people like William F. Buckley Jr.
     
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  5. Lifesaver

    Lifesaver Fides et Ratio

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    I suppose I would be considered a conservative by most.

    My beliefs are that God created the whole universe with laws and an order which can be discerned by the rational intellect. This is no different with the laws that should guide human behaviour and the rights each man has. They are discoverable by reason and must be upheld.

    No-one may abolish such natural rights; to do so, even if the one doing is sure that he acts in the best interest of the one whose rights he disrespects, is the essence of slavery. (St. Thomas Aquinas, for instance, argued that Catholics shouldn't baptize by force the children of non-Catholics, for that is against the natural right of parents to raise their own children).

    Unsurprisingly, the disregard for other human beings' dignity rarely turns out to be in their best interest. Attempts to do the same thing on a social scale, for the good of the "people", or the "community", have even more disastrous results.
    The result of such actions, which are injurious to the dignity of each individual, is even worse than the situation they tried to fix.

    Authors who have been important for this line of thinking include Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas, Bernardino of Siena, Antonio of Florence, the Spanish Scholastic thinkers of the 16th century (Tomaz de Mercado, Juan de Mariana, Franciscus Suarez, and others), Hugo Grotius, John Locke, Jean Baptiste Say, Adam Smith, Pope Leo XIII, Lord Acton, Frédéric Bastiat, Carl Menger, Eugene Von Bohm-Bawerk, Ludwig Von Mises, Friedrich August von Hayek, Murray Rothbard, Pope John Paul II, among others.
     
  6. Lifesaver

    Lifesaver Fides et Ratio

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    Err... shouldn't there be some kind of response from the author after the initial description is made?
     
  7. Alabaster

    Alabaster New Member

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    I was waiting for more input. I decided a week was my metric.
     
  8. Lifesaver

    Lifesaver Fides et Ratio

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    Oh, okay then. Sorry.
     
  9. DieHappy

    DieHappy and I am A W E S O M E !!

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    I'm pretty conservative in most areas of life. I believe the more local a governmental control is, the more power the individual has to change things. I believe in property rights. The ability to own and use your property to your own benefit is one of the reasons this country sprang to prominence so quickly. I don't think any of your "rights" should result in injury to others. Health care is not a right, neither is abortion - both do harm to another person.

    I think the best conservative voice that comes to mind right now is Walter Williams.
     
  10. pantsman52

    pantsman52 Senior Veteran

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    Wow, um, any chance of you expanding on this?
     
  11. Verv

    Verv Senior Veteran

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    Conservatism is a large ideology and hard to define shortly, but it is generally found in the idea that:

    People should be free from government intervention because people are generally good, and do not require government intervention in their lives.

    Conservatism is for the minimalization of government influence based on the concept that the people can take care of themselves.

    This generally translates into fiscal conservatism, but also can translate even into social conservatism on the level that Conservatives have faith in a traditional culture and feel no necessity for a culture to change. Often, liberals feel a necessity of change in a culture where conservatives feel a sense of either staying th esame or even going back to a better day (this concept is sometimes called being a reactionary).

    That is my brief take.
     
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  12. Mongoose

    Mongoose So it goes.

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    Who wouldathunkit. I'm a conservative!

    Question. What the hell does the OP have to do with the Socratic Method?
     
  13. Law of Loud

    Law of Loud Apparently a Librul Moonbat <[wash my mouth][wa

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    Alabaster tends to be one heavily into the use of the Socratic Method, and from looks of it, he'll certainly be about that there.
     
  14. Alabaster

    Alabaster New Member

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    LofL, if you had bothered to read the thread, I never brought up the Socratic method. Mongoose was quoting someone else.

    Likewise I have never used the Socratic method here at all. I suspect you do not even know what the Socratic method is.

    Please define it and show how I used it anywhere, or please apologize for falsely accusing me. I would suspect dishonesty, but that would have to be based on the conclusion that you had appropriately read beforehand, and I do not think that is a possibility.

    So I’ll be waiting for that apology.
     
  15. DieHappy

    DieHappy and I am A W E S O M E !!

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    I was going to let this go unanswered for fear of derailing the thread but it seems like it's about to be derailed in favor of forced apologies and ancient biographies so hear goes:
    When you claim something is a right, then the provider of that right, if there is one, becomes beholdened to you. You have a right to pursue happiness. It's all on your shoulders. You have a right to life, I can't take it from you. But if you claim a right to health care, then I, as a health care provider, become your slave. If I am providing a service and can charge for it, then we both win because you choose the best health care option for you and I charge whatever the market will bear. If it becomes a right, then you have no barrier to making extraordinary claims on my time and my services and I have no recourse for proper renumeration. I'm stuck with whatever the will of the elected officials is as pay. That hurts me and my family.
     
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  16. Toboe

    Toboe New Member

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    Whats wrong with Socratic Method.
     
  17. vimto

    vimto New Member

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    Over this Christmas my children bought me 'The End of Time' Horowitz - himself an acknowledged agnostic conservative - but much influenced by the thinking of Pascal. In the book he reflects on death - and in so doing walks down many a less travelled pathway. It is a humble and in noway bellicose book that deserves to be read (half price now on Front Page).

    So here's the point he makes (I think).

    This is the life we have got. Love it or hate it. He means that literally.

    To love life is to embrace all that it involves - to look at ourselves and others and to acknowledge in them both the good and the bad, the angel and the darkest night, which are parts of the human condition.

    To hate life is to seek to control it and eradicate that which produces risk, inequality and other issues that are 'givens' in life. This can only be done through totalitarian dreams. The totalitarian dream is so valuable that right or left fascist thought will destroy anything and anyone who gets in the way. The idea is greater than the human being.

    A conservative is someone who loves life and seeks to face up to it with realism and integrity. The conservative seeks to enable this freedom to live to be available to all - and so must fight forces that seek to undermine the democratic nation state. Fight - with ideas and sometimes with force (eg Afghanistan).

    Neo-conservatives are sometimes called 'liberals who have been mugged by reality'. That about sums me up. We still have our dreams but we realize that to live them out and to bequeath them to our children we have to defend hard won freedoms and risk being misunderstood as we make the hard decisions. For instance it is not wise to allow unwed mothers to dictate social policy. Assist when needed, help to find a job, give tax breaks to married couples and make it clear society does not approve of this as 'lifestyle (being compassionate to divorcees, widows and the pregnant single woman for the first time) -but to give it a time limit. Hard love - better society.

    Locke is usually given as the philosophical founder of conservative underpinnings of a liberal society.

    I see these view as entirely consistent with God's word (I am an evangelical) for the betterment of society which includes Christians and non-Christians alike.

    Warmest Regards In Christ.
     
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  18. Alabaster

    Alabaster New Member

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    Why don't you pay for individual protection in the form of national or local security? Why is there no military competition or local police competition?
     
  19. kalel29

    kalel29 Guest

  20. Alarum

    Alarum New Member

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    If a conservative would chose to identify himself with another label besides conservative, it would be realist. To the more idealistic, they would prefer the term pessimist.

    Conservative philosophy centers around a very simple point - the majority of sudden change is for the worse. Ideas are simply that: ideas - neither correct because of logical consistancy, nor obvious, valid, or better without testing.

    As an engineer I can say that engineering is an inherintly conservative field (which is why many engineers are political conservatives). You would not like to drive something that was not vigorously tested - and indeed, designs that are actually revolutionary, introducing dozens of new concepts are most often miserable failures. One need only look at the Dolorian to realize that incorporating a dozen great ideas no one has ever done before into one design doesn't make for the best design - even if the ideas are good.

    What this translates to in politics is an innate distrust of change, and a tendancy to decentralize those units of change. A central government is inherintly untrustworthy, because if it fails it brings down everything around it. An individual cannot bring down much more then himself and a few people around him - therefore individuals should be granted the most power. This travels up the government line - town governments can only screw up one town, state governments can only screw up one state, etc. Since the governments are also more responsible directly to the individual at the local level, it is inherintly better.

    Another facet is a distrust of sweeping social changes. Society, in the condition it is in, has existed sucessfully up until now. Changing that is dangerous - there is no guarentee you will end up with a society that works better, and some changes are hard to undo once done. Therefore they tend to favor slow, grassroots-level changes, change initiated by the population. As the level of acceptance of the change reaches its maximum, the change becomes integrated into society (a good example is pants for women - it began with individuals, and has spread throughout society with barely a ripple).
     
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