Why the Conservatives can never win in the medium to long term
The top down model
It has been said that those of a conservative persuasion are those who uphold more traditional values. Those traditional values include a super-rich niche at the top, which in old days would have included kings and queens, emperors and empires, and their serving men (the aristocracy, and in more modern days, includes CEOs and shareholders with their millions and billions, presidents, prime ministers, sheiks, and highly successful entertainers. Take a step down, and you would have the middle classes. They would provide a buffer between the poor and the rich, instructing the plebeians of their duties while further impoverishing them, and, of course, lastly, the 'great unwashed masses.'
Along with model go certain perceptions and further traditions.
Conservative thinking believes that because kings have always been a 'good thing', it's not wise to move to another model.
Conservatives the world over believe that those who find themselves in poverty have no one else to blame but themselves. They believe that, in our modern world, they have been provided with the means to uplift themselves from their situation, and if they don't, then it's their own fault. Or so they would have you believe.
But do they really believe that? Repeated studies have shown that the poor do not have the same (or even similar) resources and opportunities. The way they are educated is sub-par, and, in any event, if all the world's poor were to 'pull themselves up by the boostraps,' then there would be no 'upper classes.' In order for there to be rich people (a comparative statement), there has to be poor people, and in order for there to be leaders, there have to be followers.
Conservatives know that those few who managed to find a doorway open to better opportunity did so more through luck than hard work or opportunity. But either they don't want to know that, or they don't want the poor to know that. It is convenient to conservatives to both believe and to insist that others believe, that poverty is of one's own causing.
They got away with that for a long time. However the research is now so conclusive that hard work, effort, the smarts, and/or talent have little to do with success. There are several factors for 'success,' including the mentoring or schooling that encourages a path that leads to wealth, plus the skills developed during one's formative years (ten years needed to develop expertise according to Gladwell in his book Outliers). In addition, knowing the right people and having the right accent, and going to the right school, etc. all play a relevant part.
One other factor that plays a large part is that high protein diets in one's formative years provide brain food and those whose parents have not had the money/resources to buy the right kind of food for growing children do not raise children who have as much brain activity as they would have had with a nutrient rich diet.
Conservatives also genuinely believe, at some level, that they are better human beings because they are doing things the 'traditional way,' have a job, aren't begging for money, and say and do all the right and polite things in public. What they do in private is quite another matter, and they have a very strict code that public/private school boys don't repeat anything of the inner workings.
Mitt Romney was an excellent example when he said he didn't care about the poor and so was Tony Blair when he recently said that membership of the EU was too important to we-the-people.
Conservatives respect authority and want a world in which there is an authority which should be obeyed. While conservatives believe that they should serve the community, they are selective about which communities they serve. Poor communities are not permitted the same resources as rich communities.
Different perspectives. Progressive and Conservative
Progressive belief systems
Progressives, the liberal left, call them what they will, have progressed, thanks to greater communication and education, to an understanding that there is nothing special about the 'elite' conservative persona. Indeed, they tend to be the scholars of humanity, and their research has revealed to them that any human being, given the same privileges originated by birth that the super rich have, would make them achieve much the same.
That's why when the super rich adopt a baby with unknown parents, regardless of whether that child had poor parents or not, the child still tends to land up prosperous. While intelligence and talent may well lie within the genes, success does not. Success predominantly is the result of opportunity and resources. So that's the fundamental belief system of progressives.
Progressive can also add and subtract. They know that the resources of the earth are limitied and that if 80% of the resources go to a thousand people, then only 20% is left for the other 7.5 billion. This makes them angry. It also, however, means that a lot of people don't have the opportunity to make the best of themselves, and so they become dependent on either jobs, their relatives and/or friends, or the state.
Goals and Agendas
The goals and agenda of both parties are very different. Conservatives, who mostly have sufficient food and party ingredients, aren't concerned so much with the basics of living. Instead they're concerned with the glory of empire. They are empire builders who wish to preserve empire status. Their constant threat to those who are weak-minded and easily influenced is "But our country's security is at stake. We cannot give up our military or our nuclear weapons or our 'forget-your-privacy' laws." They also are unwilling to remove money from the military budget (in fact they pile more in the kitty), but are keen to remove as much as they can for any money that will increase the well-being of the people.
Progressives believe that all people are entitled to nutritious food, clean water, safe shelter, street lights, a solid education, health care, and cheap communications and transport. In other words, progressives want each human being to have the basics.
The conflict in this is that conservatives cannot continue their empire building if the money is diverted to we-the-people for the people's well-being.
And that's the issue.
The rise of progressive politics
It's a matter of numbers
Throughout history there have been times when the conservatives were overthrown by the progressives. Sometimes those progressives have been pretty bloody thirsty - that was the degree of their anger. Think slave rebellion in Rome, beheading of the king and queen of France, the shooting of the Tsar in Russia. At a particular point, when the 'workers' have had their fill and their desperation has reached a peak, they explode. With it comes a repeat in the cycle of history of have-nots against the haves.
The methods might be different this time, though. With the proliferation of the Internet, many have access to the kind of information they never had previously. They are also able to reach out to others of like mind with great ease. Organisation is rapid, and it's difficult to keep things secret. Secrecy has always been a major player amongst conservatives. It is one of the wayss they protect their money, their power, and their privilege.
For the past decade, world wide, there have been a rise in the numbers of members of the 'Precariat.' Guy Standing, author of the book, 'The Precariat - a dangerous new class,' defines them as the once-upon-a-time middle class, educated people who are now jobless, moneyless, and very, very angry. They are the movers and the shakers behind the backlash against austerity, groups like Occupy and Anonymous, and the newly arisen SNP in Scotland. I don't think it's too far fetched to think that there will be new political parties arising in the near future that gives a voice to the fallen middle class and the desperate working class.
So, with a bit of deductive logic and a quick sneak back at history, conservatives have always built empires and progressives have always pulled them down. Conservatives always serve the few while progressives serve the many. In the end, I have to disagree with the Highlander (TV series and movie). There will not only be one: there will be many. And it is the interests of the many which must win out.
© 2015 Tessa Schlesinger