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What Is a Conservative?

Updated on September 19, 2022
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Robin Olsen has lived for half a century. No experience is a bad experience unless we learn nothing from it.

What it was and where it started

This is another in the series of articles I am writing which try to explain the ‘bottom line’ of the various political systems we use today in our world. The first article dealt with socialism and its overall effect on our lives. This article will try to do the same for the opposite side of the political spectrum – ‘The right wing’.

This is not to say that the ‘right wing’ is actually right or wrong, there is no real right or wrong with these types of political systems as all of them, except Libertarianism, have the potential to cause massive damage within the target society if they are left to run amok unchecked.

‘Conservatism’ is a political and social philosophy that promotes the preservation of traditional social institutions and values and opposes modernism. Some conservatives like to keep things the way they are or to change things very slowly over time (they are also known as ‘progressive conservatives’), others see it as a means to return to ‘the way we were’, feeling that the changes we have already made are counter-productive or even destructive. The illusion that conservatism is the government of ‘free people’ is just that – an illusion. In the earliest days of conservatism, it was used to support a hierarchical social structure that saw the monarch as someone who ruled by ‘divine right’. Early conservatives opposed everything from sovereignty derived from the people to freedom of religion and even the authority of an elected parliament. Hardly conducive to a free society ruled by the people for the people is it?

Conservatives began life as royalists who opposed democracies
Conservatives began life as royalists who opposed democracies

Are conservative governments the ONLY way a free country can be governed?

See results

What is it today?

Today, I see conservatism as extremely dangerous to us as a people. I am not specifically referring to the corporate corruption we see in conservative societies as corruption happens in every political system and a corrupt system of any type will never work for long as the corruption will rot it away. So we need to ‘imagine’, if we can, what the system would look like if there was no corruption in it in order to get an accurate impression of what it is and what it does.

Typically, most conservative societies are, statistically speaking, more violent than socialist societies. The major cities in a conservative society tend to have higher crime rates and violent crime rates specifically are higher. I believe poverty, or rather how poverty is dealt with in a conservative society vs. a socialist one, is to blame for this increase of violent crime or crime in general. A socialist society ‘pacifies’ their poor by ensuring they have access to health care and housing/food regardless on if they actually have any money or not. This actually makes it ‘OK’ – in a sense, to be poor and the poor have no need to resort to drastic measures in order to feed and clothe themselves and their families. In a conservative society, there is far less consideration for the poor in general and therefore far less services available to those with little or no financial capabilities. This increases the need for the poor themselves to figure out how to survive in a society that values money (which they don’t have) over pretty much everything else there is. Since many poor are also uneducated as well as feeling desperate all the time, this approach usually leads to the poor committing crimes in order to feed themselves. They feel they have no other options available to them.

The conservative’s desire to change very slowly or to return to ‘the way things were’ is specifically dangerous to us as a human species and also to the society being governed. Change is what makes humanity strong. The challenge to constantly improve ourselves keeps us moving forward in life and makes life fulfilling in many respects. How many of you have a sense of pride every time you learn something new and implement it? How many of us dread the routine of doing the exact same thing day in and day out? Change is growth and when we do not change we stagnate and become decadent in our methods, our beliefs and our opinions. Eventually, societies incapable or not wanting to change, will rot away and be swept into history’s dustbin.

Conservatism tends to ignore, or distract the people from, problems in society which would require massive change to solve. Since conservatives dread change, especially change that would challenge their positions and power base within a society, they tend to downplay problems not resolve them. They use distraction to keep the focus of the people away from the serious issues that can only be solved by changing how the society is run. When change is finally forced upon them, they do it in the most inefficient ways imaginable which usually lead to even more complications down the road.

Do you know the individuals you are voting for or do you just vote for a party regardless on who is representing that party?

See results


Corruption is as probable in a conservative system as in a socialist one, but when we step outside of the corruption to examine the system itself in detail we see that conservatism is probably the worst form of government a people could possibly want for themselves and their society as it promotes stagnation and decadence.

The status quo is a unsavory position for humans to be in. We are creatures of change as change is how we grow. Without it we rot in decadence and stagnation.

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2012 Robin Olsen


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