Conservatism (big C) has always had one goal and little c “general” conservatism is a myth. Conservatism has the related goals of maintaining a de facto aristocracy that inherits political power and pushing outsiders down to enforce an under class. In support of that is a morality based on a person’s inherent status as good or bad – not their actions. The thing that determines if someone is good or bad is whether they inhabit the aristocracy.
Another way, Conservatives – those who wish to maintain a class system – assign moral value to people and not actions. Those not in the aristocracy are immoral and therefore deserve punishment.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=agzNANfNlTs its a ret con
Part of this is posted a lot: https://crookedtimber.org/2018/03/21/liberals-against-progressives/#comment-729288 I like the concept of Conservatism vs. anything else.
A Bush speech writer takes the assertion for granted: It’s all about the upper class vs. democracy. https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2017/06/why-do-democracies-fail/530949/ “Democracy fails when the Elites are overly shorn of power.”
Read here: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/conservatism/ and here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conservatism#History and see that all of the major thought leaders in Conservatism have always opposed one specific change (democracy at the expense of aristocratic power). At some point non-Conservative intellectuals and/or lying Conservatives tried to apply the arguments of conservatism to generalized “change.”
The philosophic definition of something should include criticism. The Stanford page (despite taking pains to justify small c conservatism) includes criticisms. Involving those we can conclude generalized conservatism (small c) is a myth at best and a Trojan Horse at worst.
Incase you don’t want to read the David Frum piece here is a highlight that democracy only exists at the leisure of the elite represented by Conservatism.
The most crucial variable predicting the success of a democratic transition is the self-confidence of the incumbent elites. If they feel able to compete under democratic conditions, they will accept democracy. If they do not, they will not. And the single thing that most accurately predicts elite self-confidence, as Ziblatt marshals powerful statistical and electoral evidence to argue, is the ability to build an effective, competitive conservative political party before the transition to democracy occurs.
Conservatism, manifest as a political party is simply the effort of the Elites to maintain their privileged status. One prior attempt at rebuttal blocked me when we got to: why is it that specifically Conservative parties align with the interests of the Elite?
There is a key difference between conservatives and others that is often overlooked. For liberals, actions are good, bad, moral, etc and people are judged based on their actions. For Conservatives, people are good, bad, moral, etc and the status of the person is what dictates how an action is viewed.
In the world view of the actual Conservative leadership – those with true wealth or political power – , the aristocracy is moral by definition and the working class is immoral by definition and deserving of punishment for that immorality. This is where the laws don’t apply trope comes from or all you’ll often see “rules for thee and not for me.” The aristocracy doesn’t need laws since they are inherently moral. Consider the divinely ordained king: he can do no wrong because he is king, because he is king at God’s behest. The anti-poor aristocratic elite still feel that way.
This is also why people can be wealthy and looked down on: if Bill Gates tries to help the poor or improve worker rights too much he is working against the aristocracy.
If we extend analysis to the voter base: conservative voters view other conservative voters as moral and good by the state of being labeled conservative because they adhere to status morality and social classes. It’s the ultimate virtue signaling. They signal to each other that they are inherently moral. It’s why voter base conservatives think “so what” whenever any of these assholes do nasty anti democratic things. It’s why Christians seem to ignore Christ.
While a non-conservative would see a fair or moral or immoral action and judge the person undertaking the action, a conservative sees a fair or good person and applies the fair status to the action. To the conservative, a conservative who did something illegal or something that would be bad on the part of someone else – must have been doing good. Simply because they can’t do bad.
To them Donald Trump is inherently a good person as a member of the aristocracy. The conservative isn’t lying or being a hypocrite or even being “unfair” because – and this is key – for conservatives past actions have no bearing on current actions and current actions have no bearing on future actions so long as the aristocracy is being protected. Lindsey Graham is “good” so he says to delay SCOTUS confirmations that is good. When he says to move forward: that is good.
To reiterate: All that matters to conservatives is the intrinsic moral state of the actor (and the intrinsic moral state that matters is being part of the aristocracy). Obama was intrinsically immoral and therefore any action on his part was “bad.” Going further – Trump, or the media rebranding we call Mitt Romney, or Moscow Mitch are all intrinsically moral and therefore they can’t do “bad” things. The one bad thing they can do is betray the class system.
The consequences of the central goal of conservatism and the corresponding actor state morality are the simple political goals to do nothing when problems arise and to dismantle labor & consumer protections. The non-aristocratic are immoral, inherently deserve punishment, and certainly don’t deserve help. They want the working class to get fucked by global warming. They want people to die from COVID19. Etc.
Montage of McConnell laughing at suffering: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QTqMGDocbVM&ab_channel=HuffPost
OH LOOK, months after I first wrote this it turns out to be validated by conservatives themselves: https://www.politico.com/news/2020/12/16/trump-appointee-demanded-herd-immunity-strategy-446408
Why do the conservative voters seem to vote against their own interest? Why does /selfawarewolves and /leopardsatemyface happen? They simply think they are higher on the social ladder than they really are and want to punish those below them for the immorality.
Absolutely everything Conservatives say and do makes sense when applying the above. This is powerful because you can now predict with good specificity what a conservative political actor will do.
We still need to address more familiar definitions of conservatism (small c) which are a weird mash-up including personal responsibility and incremental change. Neither of those makes sense applied to policy issues. The only opposed change that really matters is the destruction of the aristocracy in favor of democracy. For some reason the arguments were white washed into a general “opposition to change.”
This year a few women can vote, next year a few more, until in 100 years all women can vote?
This year a few kids can stop working in mines, next year a few more…
We should test the waters of COVID relief by sending a 1200 dollar check to 500 families. If that goes well we’ll do 1500 families next month.
But it’s all in when they want to separate migrant families to punish them. It’s all in when they want to invade the Middle East for literal generations.
The incremental change argument is asinine. It’s propaganda to avoid concessions to labor.
The personal responsibility argument falls apart with the whole “keep government out of my medicare thing.” Personal responsibility just means “I deserve free things, but people more poor than me don’t.”
And for good measure I found video and sources interesting on an overlapping topic. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vymeTZkiKD0
Some links incase anyone doubts that the contemporary American voter base was purposefully machined and manipulated into its mangle of abortion, guns, war, and “fiscal responsibility.” What does fiscal responsibility even mean? Who describes themselves as fiscally irresponsible?
Here is Atwater talking behind the scenes. https://www.thenation.com/article/archive/exclusive-lee-atwaters-infamous-1981-interview-southern-strategy/
a little academic abstract to lend weight to conservatives at the time not caring about abortion. https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/journal-of-policy-history/article/abs/gops-abortion-strategy-why-prochoice-republicans-became-prolife-in-the-1970s/C7EC0E0C0F5FF1F4488AA47C787DEC01
They were casting about for something to rile a voter base up and abortion didn’t do it. https://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/2018/02/05/race-not-abortion-was-founding-issue-religious-right/A5rnmClvuAU7EaThaNLAnK/story.html
The role religion played entwined with institutionalized racism. https://www.forbes.com/sites/chrisladd/2017/03/27/pastors-not-politicians-turned-dixie-republican/?sh=31e33816695f
Likely the best: https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2014/05/religious-right-real-origins-107133