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  1. #1

    Why is conservatism considered right-wing?

    From Wikipedia:
    Conservatism (Latin: conservare, "to retain") is a political and social philosophy that promotes retaining traditional social institutions. A person who follows the philosophies of conservatism is referred to as a traditionalist or conservative.

    Some conservatives seek to preserve things as they are, emphasizing stability and continuity, while others, called reactionaries, oppose modernism and seek a return to "the way things were".
    Shouldn't conservatism be a branch for itself in that case? I can understand that it's right-wing in the US, but in other countries, such as eastern European countries, wouldn't conservatism be considered left-wing since the past was communist, and today more and more is being privatized, thus society turning more and more right-wing?

  2. #2
    Scarab Lord Puck's Avatar
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    I consider right wing ideals to be selfish and have a harsh "every man for himself" mentality. Conserving ancient ideals at the expense of others (mostly minorities) fits with that.

  3. #3
    Epic! Valanna's Avatar
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    It's just an example of a word whose original and literal meaning got changed because of frequent use in another sense. Yeah, it doesn't make sense universally, but it's semantics, nothing more. A word is what we make it, and we've made conservative mean holding right-wing political ideals.
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    Mechagnome Alakir the Windlord's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tomatketchup View Post
    I can understand that it's right-wing in the US, but in other countries, such as eastern European countries, wouldn't conservatism be considered left-wing since the past was communist, and today more and more is being privatized, thus society turning more and more right-wing?
    How do you get to this conclusion?

    I mainly associate the right wing with fiscal conservatism and the left with socialism, makes more sense to me to categorize left and right by economic views while leaving social views as authoritarian or libertarian.
    Last edited by Alakir the Windlord; 2012-12-08 at 07:48 PM.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Alakir the Windlord View Post
    How do you get to this conclusion?
    Communism is left-wing. People growing up in the Soviet Union grew up with left-wing ideals. If conservatism means retaining politics of the past it means that conservative eastern Europeans would support communist policies, thus conservatism turning left-wing over in eastern Europe.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by The EagleOwl Mage View Post
    I consider right wing ideals to be selfish and have a harsh "every man for himself" mentality. Conserving ancient ideals at the expense of others (mostly minorities) fits with that.
    "To understand the workings of American politics, you have to understand this fundamental law: Conservatives think liberals are stupid. Liberals think conservatives are evil."
    --Charles Krauthammer

    Pretty spot on. In every debate with a liberal I have ever had, this has proven true.

  7. #7
    Mechagnome Alakir the Windlord's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tomatketchup View Post
    Communism is left-wing. People growing up in the Soviet Union grew up with left-wing ideals. If conservatism means retaining politics of the past it means that conservative eastern Europeans would support communist policies, thus conservatism turning left-wing over in eastern Europe.
    But you are forgetting about fiscal conservatism, wich is incompatible with communist policies.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Itisamuh View Post
    "To understand the workings of American politics, you have to understand this fundamental law: Conservatives think liberals are stupid. Liberals think conservatives are evil."
    --Charles Krauthammer

    Pretty spot on. In every debate with a liberal I have ever had, this has proven true.
    When your rhetoric revolves around justifying oppression and denying others basic human rights, we have every right to call you on it.

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  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Valanna View Post
    It's just an example of a word whose original and literal meaning got changed because of frequent use in another sense. Yeah, it doesn't make sense universally, but it's semantics, nothing more. A word is what we make it, and we've made conservative mean holding right-wing political ideals.
    This.

    In the academic context, a 'liberal' government pays very little attention to regulation and by definition would be a proponent to completely free markets.

    Semantics are fun.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Alakir the Windlord View Post
    But you are forgetting about fiscal conservatism, wich is incompatible with communist policies.
    That's a branch of conservatism, which is why I don't consider conservatism neither left-wing nor right-wing, but a political branch for itself. Fiscal conservatism would be right-wing conservatism, and Sovietism would be left-wing conservatism.

  11. #11
    Scarab Lord Puck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Itisamuh View Post
    "To understand the workings of American politics, you have to understand this fundamental law: Conservatives think liberals are stupid. Liberals think conservatives are evil."
    --Charles Krauthammer

    Pretty spot on. In every debate with a liberal I have ever had, this has proven true.
    I think what I said is pretty accurate.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Tomatketchup View Post
    Communism is left-wing. People growing up in the Soviet Union grew up with left-wing ideals. If conservatism means retaining politics of the past it means that conservative eastern Europeans would support communist policies, thus conservatism turning left-wing over in eastern Europe.
    I don't think the phrase "retaining traditional social institutions" necessarily means enforcing the status-quo you were born into. Some people look further back than their date of birth when considering tradition.

  13. #13
    It's not?
    There are four directions you can go in: left, right, conservative, liberal

    You can be a left-wing conservative or a right-wing conservative. Just like you can be a left-wing liberal or a right-wing liberal.

    I guess it's just the US that only sees two directions: left-wing liberal and right-wing conservative. But that's probably due to the two-party system. People in the US actually only have those two choices.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by The EagleOwl Mage View Post
    I consider right wing ideals to be selfish and have a harsh "every man for himself" mentality. Conserving ancient ideals at the expense of others (mostly minorities) fits with that.
    It's funny how even a (relatively) short period of time changes things in politics.

    Abraham Lincoln was a right wing Republican for his time.

  15. #15
    Actually republicans started out as very progressive. From Lincoln to Teddy Roosevelt. Among the first minorities elected to congress were Republicans... waaaay back when.

    Even Nixon was progressive to a degree, he gave us the EPA and other such agencies. He even tried to push for national health care. But he also pushed for the white "Southern Strategy".
    The Goldwater and then Reagan reactions pushed the party to hard-line conservatism. Conservatism... as in trying to conserve the old white-male power structure.

    Fiscal conservatism seems to be to about conserving the wealth of old white males. And you only push for "fiscal conservatism" when you're the party out of power. Otherwise, "Deficits Don't Matter", to quote one conservative Dick Cheney.

  16. #16
    The phrases 'left' and 'right' originate in the parliamentary system where one party sat on the left side of the room and the other sat on the right. So long as you try to define political discourse with such vague terms, you are failing to recognize the complexity of viewpoints and schools of thought that are available. It should come as no surprise that there are those out there who want to see political discourse dumbed down. These are the people who benefit from ignorant groupthink that allows them to maintain their power. Abiding by the concepts of 'left' and 'right' only adds to their control.

  17. #17
    Herald of the Titans Beavis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tomatketchup View Post
    From Wikipedia:


    Shouldn't conservatism be a branch for itself in that case? I can understand that it's right-wing in the US, but in other countries, such as eastern European countries, wouldn't conservatism be considered left-wing since the past was communist, and today more and more is being privatized, thus society turning more and more right-wing?
    It's way too confusing to rename everything based on a country's individual history.
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  18. #18
    That's not a definition of conservatism, at least in America. Conservatism is ultimately defined as economic and social freedoms. Letting people be free to choose what they want to be. This is opposite of liberalism, which is a form of imperialism. Liberalism is defined as a powerful central government controlling and limiting economic and social freedoms.

    The key thing to understand, which some simply cannot grasp, is that social freedoms flow from economic freedoms.

    There are people on the right that talk of social controls on, say, drugs. There are people on the left that talk of different social controls, such as banning supersized soft drinks, banning unhealthy food, banning fossil fuels, banning guns. Its clearly established that both sides have people that promote social controls, just on different issues.

    The key difference is economic policy. Conservatives believe in economic freedom. They want less government in our lives. They want the money out of Washington. They want smaller, weaker government. Of course, this also means it becomes impossible to enforce social controls. You can't logistically fight a war on drugs when government is small and has no money. Under a conservative government, their social agenda naturally gets neutered as they employ their economic agenda. Conservatism thus believe in economic and social freedoms.

    Liberals believe in a powerful central government. Social controls flow from economic controls. All the centralized power enables a liberal government to enforce their social controls. Ultimately, liberalism leads to an imperial state with strict social and economic binds on society.

    A simplistic view of conservatism, for example, is that they will ban gay marriage. The truth is actually that conservatives would dissolve governmental power, making it impossible to enforce a gay marriage ban in the first place, and the ban would go away.

  19. #19
    Because liberals are insane.

  20. #20
    Epic! Valanna's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grummgug View Post
    That's not a definition of conservatism, at least in America. Conservatism is ultimately defined as economic and social freedoms. Letting people be free to choose what they want to be. This is opposite of liberalism, which is a form of imperialism. Liberalism is defined as a powerful central government controlling and limiting economic and social freedoms.

    The key thing to understand, which some simply cannot grasp, is that social freedoms flow from economic freedoms.

    There are people on the right that talk of social controls on, say, drugs. There are people on the left that talk of different social controls, such as banning supersized soft drinks, banning unhealthy food, banning fossil fuels, banning guns. Its clearly established that both sides have people that promote social controls, just on different issues.

    The key difference is economic policy. Conservatives believe in economic freedom. They want less government in our lives. They want the money out of Washington. They want smaller, weaker government. Of course, this also means it becomes impossible to enforce social controls. You can't logistically fight a war on drugs when government is small and has no money. Under a conservative government, their social agenda naturally gets neutered as they employ their economic agenda. Conservatism thus believe in economic and social freedoms..
    Firstly, that is not the definition of liberalism at all, not even close. That is closer to what Bill O'Reilly thinks liberalism is.

    Quote Originally Posted by Wikipedia
    Liberalism first became a distinct political movement during the Age of Enlightenment, when it became popular among philosophers and economists in the Western world. Liberalism rejected the notions, common at the time, of hereditary privilege, state religion, absolute monarchy, and the Divine Right of Kings. The early liberal thinker John Locke is often credited with founding liberalism as a distinct philosophical tradition. Locke argued that each man has a natural right to life, liberty and property[8] and according to the social contract governments must not violate these rights. Liberals opposed traditional conservatism and sought to replace absolutism in government with democracy and the rule of law.
    Not only that, but conservative parties in western politics have a habit of putting more constraints on its people than a liberal one. I'd be very interested in where you got your sources.

    Quote Originally Posted by Grummgug View Post
    Liberals believe in a powerful central government. Social controls flow from economic controls. All the centralized power enables a liberal government to enforce their social controls. Ultimately, liberalism leads to an imperial state with strict social and economic binds on society.

    A simplistic view of conservatism, for example, is that they will ban gay marriage. The truth is actually that conservatives would dissolve governmental power, making it impossible to enforce a gay marriage ban in the first place, and the ban would go away.
    As for the first passage, I simply refer you to my previous Wikipedia-excerpt and advise you to read up a little on rudimentary Latin.

    Second passage: Are you utterly insane? Conservaties are anarchists now? That's not even close to what conservatism is represented as in western society. To give you a primer, conservatism mostly caters to the social group that was priveleged before the dissolution of aristocracy and theocracy in western Europe. It seeks to conserve the standards for the social elite, and while that group has changed, still seeks to do so. It also seeks to put social strains on the population through catering to tradition in society and religion. Examples of this are the suppression of freedom regarding abortion and gay marriage in the US and the conservation of the royal houses throughout Europe. All these things are stuck where they are because of conservatism, because of people thinking the old way is the best way pretty much. Conservaties are NOT anarchists.
    Quote Originally Posted by Boubouille View Post
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