Seeing the Round Corners

September 12, 2016


   In a world that has become all too familiar with the words formed from “radical,” there are those that loudly broadcast how politically conservative they are. With as volatile as the 2016 Presidential campaign has been from before day one, a good question to ask those yelling so loudly what the term “politically conservative” means, and require a little self-examination.

   In the glitz and glamour of today's technology, this writer turned to that staid and old reliable Encyclopedia Britannica – a seldom quoted or admitted source,

   “Conservatism” is a “political doctrine that emphasizes the value of traditional institutions and practices,” and is said to be the “preference for historically inherited rather than abstract and ideal.”

   Inherent in the conservative philosophy is a belief in favoring “institutions and practices that have evolved gradually and are manifestations of continuity and stability.”

   This for those readers fed up with government and its dictates:  Inherent in the

conservative philosophy is that “government's responsibility is to be a servant, not the master, of existing ways of life, and politicians must therefore resist the temptations to transform society and politics.” (writer's emphasis)

   Now, acknowledging that large segments of the population are suspicious of government, Britannica states:  “This suspicion of government activism distinguishes conservatism not only from radical forms of political thought but also from liberalism, which is a modernizing anti-traditionalist movement dedicated to correcting the evils and abuses resulting from the misuse of social and political power.”

   There are so many ways to view the idea of conservatives and conservatism, and maybe that's the problem. In this 2016 Presidential election year, we have numerous candidates – Republican, Democrat, Green Party, Libertarian – and the two words frequently enter the political rhetoric. To those readers really paying attention should take the next opportunity to question a political candidate and see just what “conservative” and “conservatism” mean as they so carefully explain their political philosophy.

   This writer is not a gambling person, but will “bet” far too often your favorite candidate will use present day situations to justify their agenda or justify returning to a certain time as their reason for deserving your vote.


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