Conservative

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See also: Liberal | Politics | Economic | Religion

Conservatives generally prefer tradition in their values. While not afraid of change, American conservatives are more originalist in their interpretation of the Constitution and believe that traditional morality is important in decision making. Conservatives are not quick to change values that they believe to be historically proven - ideas such as capitalism, small government, and free religious expression. Liberals may share some of these beliefs, but generally prefer to change laws in order to keep up with societal evolution, and typically believe that morality evolves along with society.

Some liberals believe conservatism enshrines laws which are draconian. Conservatives often put less importance on being politically incorrect. They may see political correctness as being overly sensitive, and unnecessary.

Conservative is also often used (incorrectly) to refer to the political "right."

Although conservatives and liberals vary strongly, most are usually acting with good intentions. Neither party is completely anti-environment, pro-abortion, or pro-crime. Generally the goals are the same but the methods and motivation to effect change differ.

Conservatives generally advocate:

  • Laissez-faire (hands-off / free trade) economics
  • Religious moralism (often in the form of the Christian religious ideals in the United States)
  • Gun rights
  • Anti-Abortion / Pro-Life
  • Anti-pornography/obscenity
  • Strict, harsh punishment for crime
  • Nationalism (war may be seen as necessary to defend national interests - a necessity disputed by many)
  • Small goverment
  • High defense spending
  • Anti-pacifism (sometimes known as Hawkish)

Conservatives are not interested in big government, and see it as a threat to individual freedom. They see liberal social programs as being against the American system of values, and feel that it threatens to undermine our country's prosperity. Liberal thinkers obviously disagree, and believe they are only trying to help alleviate problems the nation is facing.

Conservative people tend to put high importance on traditional beliefs and values. Conservatives are often described as being behind the times - racist, sexist, homophobic, or otherwise bigoted and discrinimatory. In reality this is simply the semantic definition of a conservative - one who does not immediately support new opinions and ideals.

Often conservatives are older people and liberals are younger people - this occurs as people get older and less interested in breaking new ground, exploring new ideas or thinking about concepts in an objective manner. This is significant, because it means that conservatives often hold a disproportionate amount of wealth and influence in society. As a result, some belive many television and radio media have a conservative spin (i.e. Faux News) while others belive media is Liberally biased.

Conservatives are critisized as not being independent thinkers, following an unchanging pre-established doctrine (such the religious right never accepting homosexuals) so they prefer to follow tradition when it comes to solving problems. This puts them at odds with those that disagree with traditional values, sometimes leading to heated and emotional debates on both sides of the fence. Liberals see conservatives as being intillectually weak and unable to think in new ways, while conservatives view liberals as being the weak minded ones by promoting socialistic values that aren't results-oriented. Conservatism can be entertaining to those opposed to what they call "Liberal Guilt" activites of encouraging social programs for the poor by emotionally shaming the public. Conservative celebrities are usually bold, unapologetic, and stubborn figures as its stars.

Conservatives and Liberals are almost always at odds, as shown in the example below:

Liberal viewpoint: Conservative rhetoric, continues in a predictable fashion and is often repeated to help allay the many unanswered questions which conservative thought creates. Repeated listening to such conservative propaganda can help to reaffirm such opinion is true, strong and worthy. In fact, it is often the perceived power and strength of conservatives that draw people to such a viewpoint, for instance the former conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh "Ditto Heads"

Conservative viewpoint: Liberal rhetoric is largely propaganda, feeding on people's emotions rather than arguing in a sensible manner. Liberal media (consisting of most major networks, for example CNN, MSNBC, CBS, NBC) has had more competition in recent years with more conservative news outposts such as Fox News, which many liberals criticize for being biased to the right. Conservatives are quick to respond that Fox News is no more biased than its liberal counterparts, and that its high ratings mean that a significant portion of the nation do not embrace the viewpoint of liberal media.

Related Article

This article is based on a report that concluded the following about conservatives. At the core of political conservatism is the resistance to change and a tolerance for inequality, and that some of the common psychological factors linked to political conservatism include:
  • Fear and aggression (Reactionism)
  • Dogmatism and intolerance of ambiguity
  • Uncertainty avoidance
  • Need for cognitive closure and the avoidance of thought with creates cognitive dissonance
  • Terror management

Examples:

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