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Understand Conservative for What It Is

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I want you to understand conservative thought for what it once was, and hopefully will become again. Important lessons need to be re-learned.

I am a conservative. I have voted Conservative in all provincial and federal elections for the past forty years. I want you to understand conservative thought as I have come to understand it.

By the way, conservativism has almost nothing to do with the current clown show in the United States. Most contemporary Republicans would not recognize historical conservative thought if they fell into a bucket of it. Also, conservatism has almost nothing to do with economics any more. Free markets, properly regulated, work well to create and maintain economic order.

Conservatism today is about social order. Conservatives basically want to stick with social order that has evolved over time and been shown to work. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Liberals, on the other hand, feel they have superior knowledge and want to fix everything. Conservatives are empirical pragmatists. Liberals are rational idealists.

Conservatives see social order as arising from centuries of trial and error. We see things like individual freedom, strong families and rule of law as unifying principles – discoveries – that hold society together. These have worked in the past so they should be the future.

Liberals see social order as something to be achieved by government intervention. Nothing is ever good enough, but we can fix it if we just do this or that collectively. So, you always see a tug of war between these starkly different paradigms.

Understand Conservative Philosophy

Both liberals and conservatives fail to understand the emergent nature of social order. Liberals are essentially reductionists with linear plans. Conservatives have forgotten the importance of trial and error. Social experiments need to happen faster and more often so we can find solutions that work.

I encourage you to do some reading in order to understand conservative and liberal thought as it has been documented over four hundred years. You need to read history, though, because there is very little contemporary conservative thought since academia flushed it out.

Modern conservatives must realize that our emergent social order needs dynamic change that cannot wait for centuries or millennia. We must embrace experiments and pragmatically pick new ideas that are shown to work. Modern liberals must realize that every community is different and there is no one size fits all. They must encourage experiments rather than fiat solutions based on hubris.

Successful social order is an emergent property, not a grand plan. It always has been. And that should be the essence of successful conservative thought in the 21st century, as it was in the past.

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