OK. I have been asking myself why I write. Primarily, it helps me focus my thoughts and sort what I believe and why I believe it. I tend to be quite conservative, but though I hate the term, I try to be a rational conservative. I am not sure what camp I fall in to, to be honest, as conservatives come in many flavors. I’m not inclined to go into depth on Burkean, for instance, conservatism, but rather lay out why I think I am a conservative here.
To start, let me define conservativism. Conservatism is the philosophy that seeks to retain the norms and ideals of society that are rational and that work. Conservatism is not opposed to change, if it finds an area that needs changing. Conservatism is supports itself through rational argument, identifiable and real situations, and simple recognition in human nature and that some things just will never change. Conservatism is not, then, emotional, irrational, or prone to engage in social experimentation to change perceived faults in humanity. In many ways, conservatism today follows yester years classical liberalism.
Why, then, am I a conservative? The answer to that is that I find this mode of thinking is more honest and open to address the needs of society. Conservative, by definition, is more honest in its assessment of the world around us. It is not opposed to change, but is careful in following it.
The true conservative recognizes that there are things in society that have been created that work, and until it is proven not to work, those things should carry on. These things will shift through time, yes, and that is part of the puzzle, really. What ideas or practices are worthy of being carried through time?
To name one: true equality under the law and a recognition that we are all different and are Ok with the differences. Interestingly, these are two things that present day liberals love to emphasize. However, liberals define equal differently and I am not sure they are OK with the differences. They certainly emphasize them, but anyone who points out the differences is often chastised. This is not a recognition or celebration of differences at all, but rather a silencing of anyone who dares talk about them. In other words, while conservatives are able to talk about and recognize differences, liberals are not, and to the contrary, liberals seek a sterilization of society that is neither diverse or open.
This does run contrary to what most are told about conservatives, and that is another reason why I write: to show that conservatives are not some mythical, evil creature that exists only under liberal children’s beds. To be fair, there is a growing movement of people, often labeled as conservative, who are going over the edge and abandon the elements I laid out above. They react and discard cogent argument in favor of shouting down the opposition, just like their liberal counterparts. This does not help the conservative movement.
Which brings me to my final point regarding conservatism today: today, there seem to be a lot more people who are willing to engage in rational discussions who consider themselves conservatives than there are those who would label themselves liberal. This is an interesting trend, and I am not sure what to make of it entirely, although it certainly signals to me that conservatism is indeed the more honest of the two main categories of political thought in the United States.