Sunday, January 06, 2008


The Shades of Conservatism

On What to Call My Brand in Today's World!

It does get confusing! There seem to be many shades of my conservatism; so many that I can’t really peg which one I am most likely to accept. I must reject “Compassionate” conservatism because it trends toward the liberal side too far. I have often called myself a “Common-Sense” conservative, but I am sort of disenchanted with that concept, since my idea of common sense is not that of a liberalist, nor that of some conservatives themselves.

“Fiscal” conservatism is a no-brainer for me, so that part is fixed in concrete. I understand that there is no real connection between fiscal conservatives and “Social” conservatives, which amazes me no end. Then, I ran into the term “Secular” conservative, and that threw me! It seems that atheists and agnostics oppose social conservatism, so they slide around under the banner of secular conservatism, a thought that is alien to me because of its complete rejection of God, and it is suspiciously non-conservative to arouse my doubts as to its authenticity.

Of course, we still have “Paleo”-conservatism that appears to stand for Classical Liberalism in the older sense, which isn’t all that bad, but it smacks of an anachronism today. Then there is the newer version, “Neo”-conservatives, which originally applied to converted Liberals, but has been used pejoratively by the left against any conservative that supports the GWOT and the Iraqi invasion. In that sense, I am a Neo!

What is a “Conscientious” conservative? Is that term used for “Libertarian” conservatives, in the vein of Barry Goldwater and Milton Friedman? Well, I cannot go with those terms because of my support for preemptive war, and my distain for abortion.

One night a few weeks ago, I ran into the idea of “Traditional” conservatism, now being championed by Laurence Auster and others. There may be a real case here for me to join this crusade, since I find virtually all of the tenets being expressed to be in agreement with mine, although to deal with Auster is not a pleasant experience. He has placed himself very high on an unforgiving intellectual pillar of justice and wisdom that is difficult for ordinary people to reach—me included! So if I do join the movement, I will be a passive reader of Auster’s pearls.

Meanwhile, I will simply call myself a Conservative, and let others figure out what it means if they care.


In defense of secular conservatives, I'd like to add something. We ARE social conservatives -- in fact, we are conservatives in every way that you are. We simply don't share your belief in the supernatural.

Conservatism is a big tent, and there really is room for the non-religious. My own blog covers some key principles that we could probably both agree on:

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