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What is conservatism?

What is conservatism?
March 30, 2014, 05:30:55 PM
Russell Kirk described six basic "canons" or principles of conservatism:

A divine intent, as well as personal conscience, rules society;
Traditional life is filled with variety and mystery while most radical systems are characterized by a narrowing uniformity;
Civilized society requires orders and classes;
Property and freedom are inseparably connected;
Man must control his will and his appetite, knowing that he is governed more by emotion than by reason;
and Society must alter slowly.


I can't imagine any of this being seen as somehow in error. Yet somehow it is. To many.

Re: What is conservatism?
March 30, 2014, 05:54:55 PM
The largest stumbling block for moderns is probably point 2:

But if there's social standards, that means I can't get wasted and run through the street naked. That's not variety!

No graffiti? But that's my artistic expression man! Don't you like diversity?

You're against democracy? Then how will I vote for a transgendered-homosexual-feminist-walrus? Don't you be restrictive!

What we gain by losing all that garbage:

1. A more aesthetically pleasing civilization

2. Individuality is strengthened by allowing each to reach their heights of glory within a civilized structure. I'm sure drug slum individuals are very "unique"; but if you pack 1,000 unique characters into a city and let them run wild, you don't output a very attractive civilization. And all end up looking the same.

Re: What is conservatism?
March 30, 2014, 11:11:59 PM
You're a bigot. Admit it. Then move on.


Re: What is conservatism?
March 30, 2014, 11:22:25 PM
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A divine intent, as well as personal conscience, rules society

This is a religious claim. Shouldn't we restrict our definition of conservatism to the political realm?

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Traditional life is filled with variety and mystery while most radical systems are characterized by a narrowing uniformity.

This isn't obvious to me. As far as I can tell, traditional life has significantly less room for variation, as it is dictated by preexisting structures and a predetermined role within them.

We can see this in the difference between having a career and being a freelancer. The latter is becoming increasingly more viable, while the former continues to be defended by the previous generation. Why? It's a social norm, and conservatism is all about the preservation of social norms.

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Civilized society requires orders and classes

This seems to be addressing a different dimension of political alignment, that between authoritarians and libertarians. Conservatives can be found on either side of this chart, so I don't think this is all that helpful of a distinction.

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Property and freedom are inseparably connected

True, and true of American conservatism. American conservatism is pro-capitalist, but that's only because capitalism is the preexisting principle of resource distribution.

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Man must control his will and his appetite, knowing that he is governed more by emotion than by reason

This is a statement about human nature, which doesn't offer much to clarify the boundaries of what we mean by conservatism.

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Society must alter slowly.

This is the only definition that captures the essence of conservatism — social inertia. Everything else seems like a misguided attempt to turn it into something it's not.

The best definition I've found by Kirk is something like the true conservative's dream is "to walk in the footsteps of his father". Continuity, tradition, inertia. All the same basic principle.

Re: What is conservatism?
March 30, 2014, 11:29:12 PM
'Divine intent' has nothing religious about it. Religions impose a human order. Divine intent is its own order, by definition. It translates to: reverence for the Divine. i.e: Reality.

"Everything else seems like a misguided attempt to turn it into something it's not."
It has been turned into something it is not, by the left. Now everyone thinks they know what conservatism is. And most of what they think it is, has nothing to do with conservatism.

Kirk says it best. It may not be perfect, but it's damned close.

Re: What is conservatism?
March 31, 2014, 08:51:38 PM
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True, and true of American conservatism. American conservatism is pro-capitalist, but that's only because capitalism is the preexisting principle of resource distribution.

This is only true of American Pseudo Conservatism which has only been around for less than a century since the end of the Second World War.

Re: What is conservatism?
March 31, 2014, 11:39:51 PM
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A divine intent, as well as personal conscience, rules society

This is a religious claim. Shouldn't we restrict our definition of conservatism to the political realm?

Divine intent doesn't necessarily have to mean will of the god of the bible. Why not understand it as the intangible informational plane ordering the material plane into its best state? People without divine conscious will muck up their material state into third world living.

Re: What is conservatism?
April 01, 2014, 02:33:42 AM
Divine, to all intents and purposes, is nothing more mystical than a mindfulness of where one comes from, what sustains one's life, and what one is, in relation to that.
It is a relationship. A hierarchy. That preceded me. Therefore that has seniority. Therefore that carries more weight than I do. Therefore it may have things to teach me that I do not yet know.
It is, however, a very special relationship, in that I can join with It, by giving myself up to It.

Greater love hath no man, than he who lays down his life for...

Fill in the blanks.

Re: What is conservatism?
April 01, 2014, 02:33:16 PM
"It has been turned into something it is not, by the left. Now everyone thinks they know what conservatism is. And most of what they think it is, has nothing to do with conservatism."

Am I the only one that finds the fact that what is now considered conservatism is actually a shining example of liberalism? Free trade, Imperialism, Military Buildup and tax policy/immigration favoring the industrial class (Reaganomics). The liberal mantra was that anything which helps the managerial classes helps the nation. Funny how this rhetoric is almost unanimously used by contemporary conservatives, at least those Americans who self identify as such.

NHA

Re: What is conservatism?
April 01, 2014, 03:00:28 PM
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A divine intent, as well as personal conscience, rules society;
In all practical situations, it's human intent that uses the divine to bolster it's authority, regardless of whatever the ideal claims it should be. Effectively, this comment is describing nothing that isn't already omnipresent. You can use whatever iconography you want to describe it, but all societies contain a symbolic order - i.e. the "authority" in the "appeal to authority".


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Traditional life is filled with variety and mystery while most radical systems are characterized by a narrowing uniformity;

"Conservatives" love to pretend that their values have some long lineage, yet you don't have to turn the clock back more than a few hundred years to contradict them. Modern conservatism seems to be characterized by angst and fetishization over recently lost values, say from 50-100 years ago. Conservative women, in particular, tend to get amusingly hysterical  about a perceived loss of values in the present. I suppose it makes sense, for women, promiscuity is linked to negative status in these systems. If you've sublimated all your desires in the name of status farming you are effectively ego invested in the very repressive nature of the values themselves.

Of course, liberals are just as bad. Laughably absurd on so many levels: http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-26830383

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Civilized society requires orders and classes
Varying ranks and order form naturally in heterogenous collections, once criterium are specified. Even in societies where the explicit message is about equality; implicitly everyone knows it's just lip service.

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Property and freedom are inseparably connected;
Man must control his will and his appetite, knowing that he is governed more by emotion than by reason;
and Society must alter slowly.
I don't always jerk off over freedom, but when I do, I demand for it to be curbed in my very next statement.

Freedom can't exist in any absolute sense of the word. Also, fun fact: it's illegal to smoke cigarettes on the beach in several states of the "Land of the Free".


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It is a relationship. A hierarchy. That preceded me. Therefore that has seniority. Therefore that carries more weight than I do. Therefore it may have things to teach me that I do not yet know.
It is, however, a very special relationship, in that I can join with It, by giving myself up to It.
So if i live in a third world shit hole i should blindly submit to the order, regardless of how inept it shows itself to be.

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Am I the only one that finds the fact that what is now considered conservatism is actually a shining example of liberalism? ... Funny how this rhetoric is almost unanimously used by contemporary conservatives, at least those Americans who self identify as such.
Because politics is effectively memetic cheerleading. Most systems only differ in the choice of superficial ideas used to justify the mechanisms of control anyway.

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Göring: Why, of course, the people don't want war. Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally, the common people don't want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship.

Gilbert: There is one difference. In a democracy, the people have some say in the matter through their elected representatives, and in the United States only Congress can declare wars.

Göring: Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.

Re: What is conservatism?
April 01, 2014, 03:17:49 PM
NHA-

Good point on the values. As I mentioned in another thread: American conservatives fetishize a period of time, somewhere in the past, that never existed. Funny enough, the American brand of social conservative values dates back to only 1912 and a book nonetheless.

I don't agree that systems differ superficially. Granted, there are always hiercharchies of power. I made a case in the "deleted post" thread that the American Democracy/Republic allows you to remove the inept, stupid and ineffectual from the upper tiers of the hierarchy when they become detached from reality, as is common for the human condition.

Alexis Tocqueville noted in his observations of Americans that they would take it upon themselves to build, maintain and manage commons like infrastructure and education, collectively without running to some centralized authority like a monarch to do it for them. 

Re: What is conservatism?
April 01, 2014, 04:59:03 PM
It's all hocus-pocus. Conservatism worked well, when it worked well. There was a time when it did.
But it can never work as long as we keep rushing away from that time.
I have to wonder at mankind's obsession with rushing forwards, and away from things that work, into things that more and more often, don't.
Nick Griffin, head of the BNP party in the UK, used to talk about a return to a 1930s way of life.
Of course, people mocked him. The very idea!
It always seemed a rather good idea, to me. Like the Old South, before the North destroyed it, merely for the sake of ideology.


Re: What is conservatism?
April 01, 2014, 05:33:25 PM
I'm not sure what you mean. Conservative traditions vary between peoples. Which structures and values are you saying worked and form whom did they work? Or do you just mean it works well across the board?

Re: What is conservatism?
April 01, 2014, 05:49:31 PM
What I mean is this: It works when one is not even aware that it does, because when it does, people don't have endless debates about how to fix the world.
Progressivism rushes towards its doom with every step. It rushes through time. Uses it up. Death results.
Conservatism conserves. Time is one of the things it conserves.
Today, conservatism is just a word. There was a time when it was a way of life. And peoples' lives worked better.

Re: What is conservatism?
April 02, 2014, 03:35:47 PM
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Divine intent doesn't necessarily have to mean will of the god of the bible. Why not understand it as the intangible informational plane ordering the material plane into its best state? People without divine conscious will muck up their material state into third world living.

There's the physical plane, the informational plane, and above that, the value plane. The human mind is the only entity that operates on the value plane, and therefore, the human mind is the only thing with the divine capacity. What is value? Consciousness, meta-circularity, the ability to read and write to your given state. So unless physical or informational reality is meta-circular, I don't think that either can be conceived of as a guiding force.

Funny, because I thought that death metal was a lesson in cosmic indifferentism. :-\