What Is Conservativism and what isn’t?

Posted on January 22, 2013


Who’s your Daddy?

Communication on Blasted Fools is not simply a one way street.  I’ve decided that for the new year, I want to encourage more reader involvement in the posts.  I’m going to start off with something that I think about daily and keeps insisting on some answers.  What is ‘Conservatism’ and what defines a person as a conservative?

Other questions arise.  Where do conservatives arrive at their core beliefs?  What are the source documents and authorities for conservatism and are there particular policy positions that disqualify a person from identifying themselves as a conservative?

Why is this discussion important?  To me, it is important, because there seems to be a considerable amount of disagreement over what defines conservatism, what its orthodox tenets are and who is and who isn’t a conservative.  The lack of a universally agreed upon set of defining principals and positions accounts for quite a bit of in-fighting within the ranks.  This isn’t theoretical, I have seen the rancor, angst and divisiveness.

Is this a serious problem as things stand currently?  I would argue that yes, Houston, we do have a problem – a big problem.  We have so much of a problem that we cannot even approximate the semblance of pointing ourselves all in the same direction.  What we resemble instead, is a circular firing squad.  That’s not going to generate the kind of unity that will forge a coherent opposition to the rapid encroachment of Socialistic / Fascism.  There is indeed a war underway, for the hearts and minds of conservatives.

I’m not going to propose that a firm and exclusive standard be created or arrived at, but I would like to determine if it is possible to discover enough points of convergence with which we can develop some traction, common purpose and meaningful progress going forward.

Before I initiate some efforts toward integrating diverse elements of people and viewpoints on the Right in American politics, I’d like to take the pulse of those people and viewpoints.  To do this, I’d like to ask that you weigh in and provide me with insight on some of these points of inquiry:

  • What core principals and beliefs are essential to defining one’s self as a conservative?
  • Are there beliefs and opinions that disqualify a person from being considered a conservative?
  • What is a Social Conservative?
  • What is a Fiscal Conservative?
  • Does another person need to hold each and every opinion, principal and policy position that you do in order for you to consider working together with that person politically?
  • Is your desire for conservative orthodoxy (as you have defined it), more important than solving problems?
  • Do you automatically make a mental equation between the word Republican and conservative?
  • If someone slaps the label of ‘Capitalism’ on virtually any kind of economic endeavor, are you obligated to defend it no matter what?
  • Do you prefer to identify yourself politically by affiliation with a particular brand of conservatism?
  • If an alternative party to the GOP was being formed, what platform items would be deal breakers and preclude you from joining it?
  • Would religious sect / affiliation, atheist / agnosticism, racial or sexual orientation of certain members of a group, rule out you being involved in the same organization?

Naturally, I have my own criteria and benchmarks for defining conservatism, but at this point, I’m holding them in abeyance, because this is about you, not about me.  Let me invite you to submit your thoughts here in the comments section or via email, if you prefer, at .

For the purposes of the data I’m assembling here, there are no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ opinions or answers.  You can be as brief and succinct as you wish, or submit an essay if you like.  Whatever degree of privacy you desire with regards to your opinions, I will pledge to honor. Because I wish to gather as large a segment of opinion and thought as possible, I would greatly appreciate you forwarding this open survey to as many of your fellow conservatives (however you define it) as possible.

I’ll thank you for advance for your participation.

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