Friday, April 15, 2005

The Problem With Conservatism

     I thought it'd be interesting today to write about the conservative movement, and why I think it is inherently opposed to progress. I should clarify that I am talking primarily of social conservatism and not of classical, fiscal, or economic conservatism. The last three would all make good topics of debate later, but to keep this short I'll have to exclude them here. Social conservatism is usually defined as a defense of existing social norms and values. It values traditional views of family, church, and the existing social order.
     I suppose my biggest beef with conservatism is that it is diametrically opposed to the rationalist, freethinking view. By placing an emphasis on tradition and placing the highest value on what currently is, you reject improvements to society solely because it is diferent than what you grew up with. There is no reason to believe that we are at the pinnacle of human civilization and that we should just strive to maintain the status quo. If we take our lessons from history, we see that there is always room for improvement by social change. In the medieval days, going from a feudal system to a market-based system was a positive change. Abolishing slavery in the 1800s was a positive change. Giving women the right to vote in the early 1900s was a positive change, or so I'm told. Desegregation was a positive change. These are all issues that social conservatives were on the wrong side of. The reason that social conservatives are historically always wrong is that societies do change, naturally. Societies and social instritutions evolve with time, both because of scientific advances but also because of changes in the political and economic climate. New approaches and new outlooks are needed for new circumstances. Since the beginning of time civilization has increasingly bettered itself, by providing more rights and freedoms to more people, and by increasing life spans and human happiness. And we haven't given rights out to everyone yet, just look at the gay and lesbian community. Their rights are denied to them not only because gay marriage is not a traditional thing, but because it is "immoral".
     The underlying reason why social conservatism is so backwards is that it is strongly rooted in the preservation of church and the church's values. Historically, the church has always been against civil liberties and science, and since social conservatism is concerned with enforcing the church's views, it will also be against liberty and science (aka progress).


Enlightenment said...

You should remember that religions werw created by primaive, superstitutious people who wre trying to explain natural phenomona. The degree to which social conservatives take the Bible literally indicates that we have a lot of primative superstitious people in today;s world as well.

Trevor (AKA Enlightenment)

Aarstrike said...

It appears you have not posted since 2008, I don't know, I didn't look around to find out, but it was the last year I noticed.

I wanted to clarify a generalization you made about conservatism.

You wrote, "you reject improvements to society solely because it is diferent than what you grew up with". This is INCORRECT and entirely wrong of myself.

I am conservative because of what I believe and know, not because what I grew up with...which is different from what I am now.

Conservatives of MY TYPE are not opposed to progress, we enjoy and strive for progress that improves the QUALITY of human existence. We oppose "progress" which negates from the quality of human existence. And, in some cases, liberals think the progress that takes away from the quality of life improves it...but they are wrong. Because of this they think us conservatives are backwards.

In addition, us "backwards" conservatives believe that liberals are largely delusional and hypocritical. We believe they are delusional because they believe they are non-conformists when we see them as conformists to the collective of socialism and communism...betraying their natural free rights...and placing the burden of their responsibility on the back of others, refusing to be accountable for themselves. We believe they are hypocritical because they claim to be tolerant but cannot tolerate being disagreed with.

You should befriend a conservative with the purpose of befriending him, not to convert him. You would be surprised to learn much.