What is Conservatism?
The Republican Party is the Conservative party, and I am a conservative.
What does that mean? Conservatism is not an ideology as such but an approach to society and government based on certain principles.
Safeguarding the individual, protecting his rights as a human being, is the primary focus of government. Those rights flow from his individuality – not his sex, race or ethnicity.
The individual thrives best in a family, in a community which inculcates into each member a sense of responsibility to the community and fellow humans in the exercise of his rights. Without that, the society withers and so does the individual’s rights.
Human nature needs to be channeled by positive social forces including religion, tradition and the mores of the broader community.
Humans, by nature, strive to control and dominate. The survival of a free society requires that limits be imposed on the reach of government. “Power tends to corrupt,” said British statesman Lord Acton, “and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
Respect for tradition does not require a refusal to change but it should serve as a caution. Tradition exists for reasons that may, or may not, still be valued.
Human nature resists change – revolutionary in particular. When change is deemed necessary, a “slow goes it” approach is far more likely to succeed than prompt implementation of drastic change.
Human nature prevents the perfection of man. Utopian schemes, therefore, are always doomed to failure.