Portal:Conservatism

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Introduction

Conservatism is a cultural, social, and political philosophy that seeks to promote and to preserve traditional social institutions and practices. The central tenets of conservatism may vary in relation to the status quo of the culture and civilization in which it appears. In Western culture, conservatives seek to preserve a range of institutions such as organized religion, parliamentary government, and property rights. Conservatives tend to favor institutions and practices that guarantee stability and evolved gradually. Adherents of conservatism often oppose progressivism and seek a return to traditional values, though different groups of conservatives may choose different traditional values to preserve.

The first established use of the term in a political context originated in 1818 with François-René de Chateaubriand during the period of Bourbon Restoration that sought to roll back the policies of the French Revolution. Historically associated with right-wing politics, the term has since been used to describe a wide range of views. There is no single set of policies regarded as conservative because the meaning of conservatism depends on what is considered traditional in a given place and time. Conservative thought has varied considerably as it has adapted itself to existing traditions and national cultures. For example, some conservatives advocate for greater economic intervention, while others advocate for a more laissez faire free-market economic system. Thus, conservatives from different parts of the world—each upholding their respective traditions—may disagree on a wide range of issues. Edmund Burke, an 18th-century politician who opposed the French Revolution but supported the American Revolution, is credited as one of the main theorists of conservatism in the 1790s. (Full article...)

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In politics, Right, right-wing and rightist generally refer to support for a hierarchical society justified on the basis of an appeal to natural law or tradition. To varying degrees, the Right rejects attempts to mandate egalitarian policies through legislation by left-wing politics. Conservatives prefer to endorse the belief in equality of birth rather than equality of outcome. This belief is based on the viewpoint that equality of outcome, or forcing equality through statute and quota, is inherently detrimental to the human spirit; that people are best left to rise to their own natural success based on talent and hard work. Equality of birth refers to the conservative doctrine, adopted since the civil rights movement, that all persons are born equal, wherein equality of outcome is opposed by conservatives because of is inherent punishment of hard work and talent. This concept is closely related to the dichotomy of negative vs. positive liberty with conservative preferring negative liberty. The terms Right and Left were coined during the French Revolution, referring to seating arrangements in parliament; those who sat on the right supported preserving the institutions of the Ancien Régime (the monarchy, the aristocracy and the established church). Use of the term "Right" became more prominent after the second restoration of the French monarchy in 1815 with the Ultra-royalists. Right-wing politics is a more loosely defined term than left-wing politics, because it largely developed as a response to its leftist counterpart. Historically, the right-wing was mostly made up of traditionalist conservatives and reactionaries, but it now includes liberal conservatives, classical liberals and Christian democrats as well as some nationalists.

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Reversing Britain’s economic decline was such a huge and painful undertaking that, at least until the later years, the economy had to come first.

In fact, though flawed in some respects, the speech with its emphasis on remoralising society and on strengthening the family, deserves re-reading.

It does not though, reveal much about his essential philosophy, which with Keith — as with most professional politicians — remained below the surface.

The kind of Conservatism which he and I — though coming from very different backgrounds — favoured would be best described as "liberal", in the old-fashioned sense. And I mean the liberalism of Mr Gladstone not of the latter day collectivists.

That is to say, we placed far greater confidence in individuals, families, businesses and neighbourhoods than in the State.

— Margaret Thatcher, Keith Joseph Memorial Lecture ("Liberty and Limited Government"), 11 January 1996

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Canadian Prime Minister John A. Macdonald called an election for 5 March 1891. The Liberals were heavily financed by American interests; the Conservatives drew much financial support from the CPR. The 76-year-old Prime Minister collapsed during the campaign, and conducted political activities from his brother-in-law's house in Kingston. The Conservatives gained slightly in the popular vote, but their majority was trimmed to 27. The parties broke even in the central part of the country but the Conservatives dominated in the Maritimes and Western Canada, leading Liberal MP Richard John Cartwright to claim that Macdonald's majority was dependent on "the shreds and patches of Confederation". After the election, Laurier and his Liberals grudgingly accepted the National Policy, and when Laurier himself later became Prime Minister, he adopted it with only minor changes.

Credit: Jkelly

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