The Nature of Conservativism

What do conservatives stand for—and where are they?

Posted Aug 10, 2018

The word "conservative" comes from the word, “conserve.”  Conserve is defined as protecting something from harm or destruction or keeping things you value in a safe or sound state.  Conservatives consider themselves to be “stewards” who are committed to leaving society and the world in an improved condition.  The definition of stewardship is the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one's care.  For a conservative, society is entrusted to one’s care and it must be carefully and responsibly managed so that it is left in an improved state.    

To ensure a better future for society and the world, conservatives have at least four vital concerns.  The first vital concern for conservatives is the wellbeing of all children in society. Children are defined as individuals from the moment of conception till at least the age of 22 when they finish their university degree.  

1.  Conservatives wish to establish universal health care for all children.  Free, universal, and comprehensive health care not only needs to be provided for every pregnant woman and newborn baby, it also needs to be provided for children, adolescents, and young adults until the age of 22 (when they finish their post-secondary education).  

2.  Conservatives wish to ensure all children have adequate and healthy food.  Good nutrition is not negotiable.  It is an essential for healthy physical, cognitive, and social growth and development.  No child should go hungry in a society run by conservatives.  

3.  Conservatives wish to create for all children the best possible educational system from preschool through the University.  This means that schools and universities should be free or at least easily affordable.  Conservatives believe that all children should finish high school (zero drop-out rate) and go on to post-secondary education in one form or other.  The members of the Young Presidents Organization (YPO) (Presidents of small to mid-size manufacturing firms) made this point in the 1980s, when they noted that for people involved in manufacturing, school begins at age 6 but does not end until the age of 65.  Manufacturing workers have to be retrained all their working lives. The same is true for most members of our society.  

4.  Conservatives wish to ensure all children should have adequate housing.  Ideally, housing for poor children should be interspersed with housing for middle class and upper middle class children so that all children have a constructive peer group in a safe and nonviolent neighborhood.  

A second vital concern for all conservatives is the environment.  Conservatives are not only stewards of the children in their society, they are stewards of the earth.  Conservatives believe that they are responsible for leaving the earth in better shape than it was when they were born.  Conservatives protect the environment and repair any damage inflicted by previous generations.  Global warming is an example of an environmental problem that true conservatives would attempt to solve.  National Parks would be strengthened, National Forests protected, and all parks will be kept in an improved shape.  Solar, wind, and other alternative fuels should be promoted.  The combustion engine should be phased out.  And the many other actions needed to protect our environment should be taken.  

A third vital concern is the improvement of the infrastructure.  Not only does the infrastructure need to be maintained, but it needs to be improved to ensure the economic growth and wellbeing of the country. Thus, considerable attention will be focused on improving our highways, airports, power grids, the availability and speed of the internet, water and sewage systems, and so forth.  

A fourth vital concern for conservatives is the political stability of our democracy.  To ensure the world is better off each year, conservatives should support our democratic government and ensure it acts to conserve the wellbeing of all the citizens of our country.  To ensure that special interests and wealthy donors do not gain undue influence in a government, conservative members of congress should voluntarily step down after two terms in office.  Having career politicians tends not to be healthy for our democracy. Every citizen should take their turn serving in Congress or the State Legislature sometime during their lifetime. In addition, every citizen has the responsibility to participate in elections and vote for the candidate they consider to be best for the country as a whole.  Each new generation of citizens needs to be trained in the obligations and privileges of citizenship.  

There are other concerns for committed conservatives, but these four must be on the list.  There are no more important issues for a conservative than the wellbeing of children, the environment, our infrastructure, and our democracy.  You may wish to add to this list.