General Question

Caravanfan's avatar

What aspects of conservatism appeal to you?

Asked by Caravanfan (2596points) August 4th, 2018

Serious question. There are many types of conservatism, just as there are many types of liberalism. Some overlap. I’m not looking for insults on this question, but thoughful discussion. And conservatives will disagree amongst themselves. What flavors of conservatism appeal to you, and why?

I’ll start. I favor free trade. I feel tarrifs hurt Americans by raising product prices and hurt the American economy.

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

53 Answers

seawulf575's avatar

I favor law and order…obey and enforce the laws. If the laws are outdated, change them using the proper methods. I favor personal and social responsibility. I favor smaller federal government and more power to the states. I favor politicians working for us and not us working for them. I favor free trade as well. I favor capitalism over socialism. I’m sure there’s more, but that is a start.

Zaku's avatar

Conservatism and liberalism often end up meaning the same things to different people in different contexts. For example @Caravanfan is free trade a conservative value?

* I am in favor of cultural traditions and differences in general. I think the world is a more interesting place when different places have cultural differences, traditions and values, and that damage is done when old traditions and languages are lost. (I may start to draw the line when the traditions lead to violence, abuse, subjugation, misogyny, imprisonment, genocide, etc, but I think that could be settled if those cases could be handled by letting those people leave the country.)

* I am in favor of strong property rights… as long as those rights don’t do serious damage to the world at large (such as, by killing endangered species or polluting the environment).

* I am in favor of retaining the institutions of monarchies where they exist in positive ways, such as in the UK, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Holland, Monaco, Andorra, Belgium, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein, Japan, Thailand, Malta and the Vatican.

* As someone raised in the USA, I am very much in favor of most of what I was raised are traditional values: the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness (meaning we don’t get to squash each others’ rights), democracy (which our voting system does NOT provide, especially with two big parties and all the big money and corporate corruption in politics), freedom of speech, equal rights, separation of church and state, religious freedom, not tolerating fascism and tyranny, etc.

* I am in favor of more states’ rights and more diverse laws within different states without undue manipulation by the federal government, and less dominance by federal government.

* I can appreciate and agree with the desire for less government spending and less taxation in many cases. In particular I dislike most personal property taxes (I think no one should be taxed such that they can’t afford to keep their home, for example).

* I relate to the right to keep and bear arms, and to defend oneself, as long as it’s not abused and comes with full responsibility.

* I value and respect the US Constitution and Bill of Rights.

* I respect many of the original US statesmen and their reflections and words of wisdom… and I relate to those as conservative, even though they often involve revolution. I regard the limiting of the power of the extremely wealthy, corporations and political parties to be wise conservative values, and I’m disgusted by the mis-appropriation of conservative airs by people who support those forms of corruption of our democracy.

* Perhaps similarly, in a sense I am a super-conservative Christian (inasmuch as I relate to myself as a Christian), in that I relate to and align with Jesus Christ as what I know of the original person and his humanistic spiritual messages of love and tolerance, and I feel that most forms of Christian organized religion have severely gone astray.

* I am a dramatic conservative, in that I tend to wish there were fewer dramatic productions that cast characters in ahistorical sex, gender, ethnicity, culture, style, clothing, and disability status, and add modern musical stylings and other elements that seem out-of-place for the original work. I’m not against them entirely, but one can hardly find a classical production any more.

kritiper's avatar

Generally speaking, compromise. Usually, both the left and right are too far out to be reasonable. I have been called both.

josie's avatar

In my opinion, these days it’s a meaningless label

For example-

I oppose capital punishment
I do not think The State should even consider forcing a woman to remain pregnant against her will
I do not approve of unnecessary militarism
I am absolutely atheistic

On this site, I have been called a conservative in unfriendly ways. Go figure.

But in answer to the question, it seems to me that if people want written and established laws to change they should elect legislatures that will change them rather than insist that a sitting president illegally ignore them. And if they don’t like the Constitution they should start a movement to amend it rather than act as if it is simply doesn’t exist or that it says something it doesn’t.

And if it isn’t happening as fast as they like, they might consider working harder at it.

And incredibly, unbelievably, I think that makes me a conservative on this site.

So that being the case I guess that is what appeals to me

Caravanfan's avatar

@Zaku “For example @Caravanfan is free trade a conservative value?” Fair point. It’s a value that institutions like the Cato Institute is for, and they are considered “conservative” as are most liberatrians. I see it more as a neoliberal point of view but many on the left consider neoliberals conservatives.

seawulf575's avatar

@Josie In my book you are a moderate. On this site that makes you a Conservative, possibly even an alt-right.

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

Freedom from government.

rockfan's avatar

I favor cutting back the ridiculous amount of spending towards the military – which should be considered conservative. But alas, it’s not.

rockfan's avatar


I think it’s ridiculous to think that some liberals on here would consider josie alt-right

Caravanfan's avatar

@rockfan Is it just spending for the military that you are opposed to?

Caravanfan's avatar

@josie is like me. He’s called a liberal by conservatives and conservative by liberals. That’s the bane of being centrist.

Caravanfan's avatar

@Zaku Thank you for your great answer. Well done.

JennWithOneN's avatar

i think the death penalty should be legal (but used very cautiously), and i know this isn’t strictly conservative at all, but i feel like more chill conservatives are more open-minded about befriending people who disagree with them than a lot of liberals are.

flutherother's avatar

I like tradition and law and order. I’m in favour of private ownership and I’m against totalitarianism. I believe in free speech and a free media and in one man one vote. I believe strong government is needed to control the power of the billionaires and the huge international companies who wield so much economic and political power over us. I also believe in free trade.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Without pontificating about what “conservativism” means the people who identify conservative around me usually have the following characteristics that I find admirable:
They have a good work ethic
They are polite, helpful and extremely generous
They take pride in their work and in their hobbies
Family is important to them
They make excellent neighbors
They are keen to not buy into short-lived trends and commercial bullshit
Aside from a few sharp spikes of politics that I completely disagree on for the most part they don’t get uptight, offended or up in arms about anything at all.
They almost never complain
They are cautious about everything
They are good at personal finances
Their locus of control is internal.
They generally are handy and have a high level of self-reliance
Most have a need to be useful and contribute to their community
They will take all kinds of personal risk but will not take much risk if it involves others

What I don’t like:
Like the left many follow party lines to a “T”
Religious fanaticism is not uncommon
Slow to adopt change that is obvious
They don’t value art and music as much as they should
On the whole they don’t value education as much and focus more on skills alone

I also consider myself to be more centrist but I’m at home around conservatives and know what topics not to bring up such as not believing in Jesus. I’m always somehow cross with liberals who frankly are just too quick to take offense.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, just glancing at posts I also appreciate law and order. However, I also appreciate that sometimes the laws need to change, and sometimes it’s disorder that brings about that change.

I like routine. I like knowing pretty much what each day is going to bring.

I suppose those are conservative values.

KNOWITALL's avatar

All of the reasons above except environmental issues, many social issues, limit military actions, and definately more states rights.

Caravanfan's avatar

So I have a question for all the people who say “law and order”. Why is this a conservative issue? Are liberals not for “law and order’? Or is this a conservative value that liberals also embrace?

Soubresaut's avatar

I understand conservatism as a tendency (of varying strength, depending on the person) to prefer tradition over change.

I like it as something to keep in mind. Change for change’s sake isn’t inherently good. It’s worth taking the time to compare a “better idea” to what’s already in place (and make sure it’s worth the effort, basically). It’s also worth remembering that most things aren’t “in place” by accident—there are historical reasons that things have happened the way they’ve happened. That doesn’t mean everything is justified or right, but I think it does mean that we should take the time to understand why things are the way they are, to make sure we understand the context that surrounds and affects us.

I guess what I mean is the aspect of conservatism that appeals to me is don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.

Still, I don’t like it much as an ideology or de facto position to take. Just as change for change’s sake isn’t inherently good, tradition for tradition’s sake isn’t inherently good. We have minds capable of study, interrogation, and imagination, and I think we should use them. I also think we have a duty to try and leave a better world for the next generation than what we were given—a belief which would seem to run counter to the conservative ideal of keeping it as it already was.

Soubresaut's avatar

@ARE_you_kidding_me I’m really sad to think that you believe people who identify as conservative have the personal qualities you listed, and that people who identify as liberal do not. As someone who lives in an area with a majority of people who identify as liberal, I don’t see those personal qualities being in any way exclusive to people who identify as conservative.

Caravanfan's avatar

@Soubresaut “I guess what I mean is the aspect of conservatism that appeals to me is don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.” Excellent.

seawulf575's avatar

@Caravanfan I have to wonder if it IS a liberal value. Liberals don’t want to enforce immigration laws, they want to protect illegal alien criminals in defiance of federal law, the started screaming to impeach Trump before he was even sworn into office and without the benefit of actually having a crime to pin it on, the protect groups like Antifa that are violent domestic terrorists…I can’t reconcile that with being for law and order. On all those issues, the conservative view goes to the law first. Immigration laws…enforce them. Protecting illegals against the law…stop violating the law. Impeach Trump only if there is actually a crime committed, not just accusations or innuendo. Stop treating Antifa like wayward children and treat them like the terrorists the US intelligence agencies have labeled them. When they beat on someone, treat it as a hate crime.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

“and that people who identify as liberal do not.”
Did I day that? I believe that those qualities exist in many on the left especially in areas that are “not here” where liberal politics dominate. On the whole the liberals that live here are pompous, whiners and indeed lack a good number of the qualities I listed. When I travel to places outside this area, say Boulder CO I don’t see it the same and I can’t say bad things about the liberals who live there. Being completely honest, associating with liberals/conservatives has less to do with your actual beliefs and more to do with the culture in the area that you live. The correlation there is so large that it’s impossible to ignore. I would place it up with religion. Agreeable people have those qualities and they are much, much more likely to go with the flow.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, to answer your question @Caravanfan, it seems to me that Conservatives tend to take law and order to extremes, to the point that they don’t want ANYTHING to change the status quo. They get upset when better gun laws are suggested. They get upset when people of color move into positions of power. They get upset when they’re expected to share with those who are less fortunate. I just got an email from an uber conservative (old guy. His wife was my Mom’s friend) and trashing people who take advantage of public assistance when necessary. He accused them of just flat being lazy. He doesn’t take into account his career was built during a big boom time. Long time Boeing management employee. He has a Boeing pension which is no longer offered. He built a house in the 60s that sold for 3 times what he paid for it just 15 years later. He really can’t take credit for all of that…but he does. Breaks his arm patting himself on the back while snubbing the poor. THAT is the worst of Conservative traits, IMO. Especially since many of them claim to be steadfast Christians.
The only redeeming quality is he hates Trump too, so I just ignore the rest.

I actually identified more with the conservatives…until Obama. OMG. Their behavior…I back pedaled as fast as I could to distance myself from them, and I’ll never go back.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Dutchess_III Please share your data or link, I’m not seeing that anywhere, and I’ve made a study of this in the past.

Neither is more generous:

Conservatives are more generous:



Arthur Brooks, the author of a book on donors to charity, “Who Really Cares,” cites data that households headed by conservatives give 30 percent more to charity than households headed by liberals. A study by Google found an even greater disproportion: average annual contributions reported by conservatives were almost double those of liberals.

Other research has reached similar conclusions. The “generosity index” from the Catalogue for Philanthropy typically finds that red states are the most likely to give to nonprofits, while Northeastern states are least likely to do so.

LostInParadise's avatar

@seawulf575 , If liberals are violating immigration laws, why are none of them being arrested? No government officials in any sanctuary city have been charged with crimes. The only thing that Trump did was to try to deny federal funds to sanctuary cities, and that was blocked by a federal court.

Of late, I see a lot of hypocrisy among conservatives. They unflinchingly support Trump (80% support among Republicans), who is a compulsive liar, assaults women and breaks up families. Conservatives in the mold of Barry Goldwater are not to be found.

Soubresaut's avatar

@ARE_you_kidding_me That is what I thought you meant, I’m glad I simply misunderstood. Thanks for clearing it up for me.

seawulf575's avatar

@Dutchess_III I see a differing viewpoint in how you view things and how I do. Not really a surprise…it would be more of a surprise if we agreed on everything. But let me try to clarify my position on some of the topics you mentioned. Gun control: I object to new gun control laws because when I dig into the facts, I find that there isn’t a gun control law made that will stop criminals. It isn’t the honest gun owners (the millions of them) that are the problem. It’s the criminals. The number of actual murders committed by honest gun owners is very small. But criminals don’t follow laws so passing more onerous laws won’t make them start following the law any better. I see the suggestions for gun control laws that have come out in recent years to be either a punishment for gun owners who have never and will never do anything wrong with their guns or down right efforts at disarming the public which I am against for a great number of reasons.
The discussion about public assistance. We view helping others differently. I give quite a lot of money and time and effort towards helping others. I do it freely. But I don’t view public assistance as being help. Forced charity isn’t charity at all…its socialism. And yes, there are many people in this world that will game the system for all they can get. It happens all the time. There are many people that don’t game the system, but it is a system that is like a pitcher plant….it’s easy to get into and almost impossible to get out of. I think public assistance needs a HUGE overhaul so it is a hand up instead of a hand out. And that is really not against Christian values. Charity is a Christian value. It is an important thing because it helps your soul to be more relaxed and happy. Being forced to give does absolutely nothing for your soul. It just takes money away from you.
Obama: Here’s a shocker…I didn’t like him. It had nothing to do with his skin color. It had to do with his policies. I felt he was a horrible leader, he was bloating the size of the federal government, and many of his decisions seemed to be predicated on the idea of destroying this country, not supporting it. That was my viewpoint. I didn’t like Bush II or his wars either. I found them to be sold on lies and were unnecessary. I could continue going back in time and rating each and every president along the way. Clinton did nothing. Bush I was a placekeeper. Reagan was okay, but he also did some serious economic stress on our nation. I believe it had to happen, but it was still painful. I am not a Republican, despite what everyone likes to think on here. I’m an independent and I have no problem lambasting any of the presidents. If it comes to a point where Trump actually does something I find to be totally illegal or morally wrong, I will be calling him on it. I don’t see that yet. There is still time, but so far he has done okay. If you look at all the negative things that are blasted about him and actually dig in and review them, they aren’t the real crimes everyone likes to think. He exaggerates and everyone says he’s lying. I guess technically it is lying, but it is usually driven from ego…he sees his impact as being far greater than it might be. He’s egotistical…that’s a given. So was Obama. So was Bush II. Clinton, Bush I, Reagan…all egotists. You almost have to be to run for that office. One thing I found offensive during the Obama years, though was that if you had a problem with one of his policies of decisions or statements, the first response was that you were a racist. That is a ploy to shut down discussion and felt it was being used for that purpose. THAT is a huge problem with our country these days.

Caravanfan's avatar

@seawulf575 Thank you for your answer. I’m going to cherry pick something you wrote, so please forgive me. You wrote “If it comes to a point where Trump actually does something I find to be totally illegal or morally wrong, I will be calling him on it. I don’t see that yet. ”

What is your definition of “morally wrong?” I guess I don’t understand as I, personally, see Trump as one of the most morally reprehensible public individuals I have ever seen based upon examples too numerous to list. I’m wondering, for you, what would it take?

seawulf575's avatar

I’m not keen on him fooling around on his wife. I take the wedding vow pretty seriously. More of that conservatism, I guess. But that happened before he was elected, and I am of the frame of mind that it is between him and Melania. Beyond that? I see a lot of innuendo and minutiae being blow way out of proportion. For example…a long time ago he made what he thought was a private comment to someone about how he would like to grab some woman’s pussy. Tacky? Sure. But not something beyond what many guys have said. However, it has been attempted to be blown into him hating women, him attacking women, him being a sexual predator and everything else you can think of. There is no evidence of any of those. He likes women. He has put some women into quite significant positions of power. And as far as I know…as far as anyone really knows…he has never been a sexual predator. See what I’m saying? He wanted a ban on nations that actively supported terrorism and have threatened us. The media went crazy calling it a muslim ban even though it never mentioned Islam, never mentioned muslims, didn’t include a large portion of the Muslim majority nations and did include several nations that had almost no Muslims. Yet he is branded as an Islamiphobe. For me, it takes more than propaganda. It takes actual facts. I have always maintained that if it came to light that he had committed some serious crime…perjury, abuse of power (real, not imagined), fraud, etc…or if he started trying to pass laws by himself or refusing to enforce laws, I would have plenty to say about him. If he started doing things that I saw as being fraught with peril for us, I would be vocal. An example of that would be the Patriot Act. When Bush II was pushing for it, all I heard was a proposal for a bill that would make secret surveillance the standard. That is a recipe for abuse. And I personally think we have see some of that abuse already. I spoke out a lot about that. I even wrote my Congressmen and Senators urging them to pass on it. But those were things that were real and not conflated. When something like that pops up from Trump, if it does, I will be happy to jump all over him.

Caravanfan's avatar

@seawulf575 “But not something beyond what many guys have said…”
You and I must run in different sorts of circles. Literally nobody I know or have known in the past, except maybe in junior high school, talks like that. But thank you for taking the time to answer.

seawulf575's avatar

@Caravanfan we may indeed have run in different circles. But I know many men that have made rude comments about women that range from “I’d like a piece of that” to things far worse than what Trump said. On the flip side, I have also known many women that get far worse than the men, especially after a drink or two. On the whole they are very good people, but are not above making an off-color remark.

Dutchess_III's avatar

How many of those many men in your inner circle have made sexual allusions about their daughters, @seawulf575?
How many of those many men in your inner circle talked about just grabbing strange women by the pussy, @seawulf575?
How many of those many men ran for the most prestigious office in the world @seawulf575? Zero. So it doesn’t matter how slimy they are, except to the women who are their targets.

We expect more from certain people.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@seawulf575 Yes, we expect more from our Presidents….you know, if Trump could be a little more like good old Bill Clinton that’d be great. Because Democrats have never been in trouble for anything bad or unsavory…..or have they…..hmmmmmm…...

Or these Democrats (just the tip of the iceberg btw):
Tim Mahoney
Eric Massa
Anthony Weiner
David Wu
Al Franken
John Conyers Jr.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Bill Clinton was a fool, but at least he was with another consenting adult.

All the people on your list no longer hold government offices @KNOWITALL. They resigned or were voted out because they were fools too.

Yet Trump still stands.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Dutchess_III Yes, using cigars in orifices while in office, in the Oval office. Pretty classy. Democrat.

Sometimes your rooting for the Dems and bashing the Reps doesn’t make any sense to me, they’re both flip sides of the same coin.

By the way, Trump and the Clintons were pals. What do you think Don is grabbing in these pics with a grinning Bill?

Dutchess_III's avatar

He was a fool. But he was a good president.
Donald is just a fool.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Dutchess_III If lies and sexual antics are what you consider a ‘good President’, I’m not sure why you don’t like Trump.

Article I charged that Clinton lied to the grand jury concerning:[21]

the nature and details of his relationship with Lewinsky
prior false statements he made in the Jones deposition
prior false statements he allowed his lawyer to make characterizing Lewinsky’s affidavit
his attempts to tamper with witnesses
Article III charged Clinton with attempting to obstruct justice in the Jones case by:[22]

encouraging Lewinsky to file a false affidavit
encouraging Lewinsky to give false testimony if and when she was called to testify
concealing gifts he had given to Lewinsky that had been subpoenaed
attempting to secure a job for Lewinsky to influence her testimony
permitting his lawyer to make false statements characterizing Lewinsky’s affidavit
attempting to tamper with the possible testimony of his secretary Betty Curie
making false and misleading statements to potential grand jury witnesses

Dutchess_III's avatar

No. I don’t consider lies and sexual antics to be a sign of a good president. If I did, Trump would have to be the best president who ever lived.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Dutchess_III Really not JFK and the whole murder of Marilyn and sharing her with his brother while toting ‘Camelot’, his pedigree, etc…?

Or Monica and the blue dress and cigars? Impeachment?

Or let’s go back further to George Washington and his slaves, or more importantly, the issue of slavery itself. He was much more concerned with his own profit margins at the time.

To me, Trump still has a way to go to being the worst.

Dutchess_III's avatar

At least the rest had some brains. Trump doesn’t. He can’t read, he can’t write, he can barely sign his name. Reading his Twitter rants takes me back to 7th grade girl arguments.

Why don’t you compare him to Obama, or Bush of Carter or Reagan?

Caravanfan's avatar

@KNOWITALL Okay, I ask you the same question as I asked @seawulf575. What would it take?

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Caravanfan Pretty much the same as @seawulf575 I suppose.

I’m not arguing FOR Trump, I’m debating with @Dutchess_III that Dems are any better since she keeps repeating that.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I have never said one entire group of people are better than others. Some individual people are better than others, but there is no particular reason why that is. As an individual trump is at the bottom and undeserving of respect, IMO.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Dutchess_III Honestly I don’t care who any of you support, or march against or even call nasty names online…truly I don’t. But I do get irritated when Democrats are held up as an example of political correctness or as some kind of paragons of virtue, it’s simply not true.

I wouldn’t call Trump someone a child could look up to in all aspects, by any means (which is MY idea of a politician), but to me he is human like Obama, like JFK, like Clinton, etc…they are fallible, and it’s a learning process for a political outsider.

He wasn’t GROOMED to be a politician like other politicians, because he’s not a politican.
And neither is Putin, that’s why they get along and understand each other. That’s exactly what his base wanted, they got it, now we have to see if they like what they did, and see what he accomplishes over his term.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I did ask you why you didn’t compare Trump to several other presidents, including 3 republican presidents. Why are you comparing him to Clinton? What is the reason? Clinton got into some deep shit over that. Was that not enough?

Dutchess_III's avatar

He wasn’t GROOMED to be a politician? As in he had 0 experience and had no idea what to expect? As in he never developed the level of class and dignity or thoughtfulness we have come to expect from our politicians—some of who fail miserably…but none as bad a trump.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

…of course this devolves into the abyss of Trump talk.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Dutchess_III Clinton was my first vote for President that I took very seriously, and he embarrassed the me, the country and the office, with his juvenile behavior and sexual antics. I was ashamed I voted for him.

Um, no, he wasn’t groomed to be a politician. You know you could run for Mayor of your city without knowing anything about the issues, the forms, the actual duties, etc….and if you won you’d probably mess up pretty badly through sheer ignorance. Trumps probably doing some of the same, even with all those councilors….lol

Again, I will disagree that he’s the most miserable failure- so far.

@ARE_you_kidding_me Oh this isn’t devolving, no lowbrow name-calling or cussing…lol

Dutchess_III's avatar

Carter was my first vote. That would be a good one to compare to Trump as far as ethics and morals.
A mayor is a far cry from a president.

seawulf575's avatar

@Dutchess_III I would suggest you need to get out more. Trust me when I say that MOST guys say tacky things. They aren’t just in my inner circle. Now, just like Trump, they don’t always say them out in public. If you remember, the grab-by-the-pussy comment was in a private conversation. And here’s another thought…how many TV shows on prime time or how many movies have characters that say tacky things? Most of them. I find it extremely selective of you to try targeting Trump when all around you others are doing the same or worse. Bill Clinton did far worse. You claim old Slick Willy was a good president. Is that why he lied under oath and then tried using the power of his office to make all the bad stuff go away? If that is what you call a good president, why are you upset about Trump? He isn’t shady enough for you?

flutherother's avatar

Trump’s “grab them by the pussy” comment was more than just a tacky off the cuff remark. He was talking about his actual behaviour towards women. What is happening to America? Has this really become acceptable behaviour? I wouldn’t even want this guy moving in next door to me.

Dutchess_III's avatar

The guy gives me the creeps just watching him on TV.

@seawulf575, alright, produce an audio or visual tape of any other future president talking in such a disgusting manner.

Answer this question




to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther