Conservative And Liberalism Legislation Essay

A friend of mine, whom we shall call Miss Worth, fell into a conversation with a neighbor—Mrs. Williams, let us say—who, the day before, had sold a fine old building, long in her family, to be demolished that a lot for used-automobile sales might take its place. Mrs. Williams had certain regrets; but, said she with finality, “You can’t stop progress.” She was startled at Miss Worth’s reply, which was this: “No, often not; but you can try.” Miss Worth did not believe that Progress, with a Roman P, is a good thing in itself. Progress may be either good or bad, depending on what one is progressing toward. It is quite possible, and not infrequently occurs, that one progresses toward the brink of a precipice. The thinking conservative, young or old, believes that we must all obey the universal law of change; yet often it is in our power to choose what changes we will accept and what changes we will reject. The conservative is a person who endeavors to conserve the best in our traditions and our institutions, reconciling that best with necessary reform from time to time. “To conserve” means “to save.” Consider Cupid’s curse:

A conservative is not, by definition, a selfish or a stupid person; instead, he is a person who believes there is something in our life worth saving. Conservatism, indeed, is a word with an old and honorable meaning—but a meaning almost forgotten by Americans until recent years. Abraham Lincoln wished to be known as a conservative. “What is conservatism?” he said. “Is it not preference for the old and tried, over the new and untried?” It is that; and it is also a body of ethical and social beliefs. The liberals, for a good while, have been drifting leftward toward their radical cousins; and liberalism, in recent years, has come to imply an attachment to the centralized state and the dreary impersonality of Huxley’s Brave New World or Orwell’s 1984. Men and women who sense that they are not liberals or radicals are beginning to ask themselves just what they believe, and what they ought to call themselves. The system of ideas opposed to liberalism and radicalism is the conservative political philosophy.

Modern conservatism took form about the beginning of the French Revolution, when far-seeing men in England and America perceived that if humanity is to conserve the elements in civilization that make life worth living, some coherent body of ideas must resist the leveling and destructive impulse of fanatic revolutionaries. In England, the founder of true conservatism was Edmund Burke, whose Reflections on the Revolution in France turned the tide of British opinion and influenced incalculably the leaders of society in the Continent and in America. In the newly established United States, the fathers of the Republic, conservative by training and by practical experience, were determined to shape constitutions which should guide their posterity in enduring ways of justice and freedom. Our American War of Independence had not been a real revolution, but rather a separation from England; statesmen of Massachusetts and Virginia had no desire to turn society upside down. In their writings, especially in the works of John Adams, Alexander Hamilton, and James Madison, we find a sober and tested conservatism founded upon an understanding of history and human nature. The Constitution which the leaders of that generation drew up has proved to be the most successful conservative device in all history.

Conservative leaders, ever since Burke and Adams, have subscribed to certain general ideas that we may set down, briefly, by way of definition. Conservatives distrust what Burke called “abstractions”—that is, absolute political dogmas divorced from practical experience and particular circumstances. They do believe, nevertheless, in the existence of certain abiding truths which govern the conduct of human society. Perhaps the chief principles which have characterized American conservative thought are these:

(1) Men and nations are governed by moral laws; and those laws have their origin in a wisdom that is more than human—in divine justice. At heart, political problems are moral and religious problems. The wise statesman tries to apprehend the moral law and govern his conduct accordingly. We have a moral debt to our ancestors, who bestowed upon us our civilization, and a moral obligation to the generations who will come after us. This debt is ordained of God. We have no right, therefore, to tamper impudently with human nature or with the delicate fabric of our civil social order.

(2) Variety and diversity are the characteristics of a high civilization. Uniformity and absolute equality are the death of all real vigor and freedom in existence. Conservatives resist with impartial strength the uniformity of a tyrant or an oligarchy, and the uniformity of what Tocqueville called “democratic despotism.”

(3) Justice means that every man and every woman have the right to what is their own—to the things best suited to their own nature, to the rewards of their ability and integrity, to their property and their personality. Civilized society requires that all men and women have equal rights before the law, but that equality should not extend to equality of condition: that is, society is a great partnership, in which all have equal rights—but not to equal things. The just society requires sound leadership, different rewards for different abilities, and a sense of respect and duty.

(4) Property and freedom are inseparably connected; economic leveling is not economic progress. Conservatives value property for its own sake, of course; but they value it even more because without it all men and women are at the mercy of an omnipotent government.

(5) Power is full of danger; therefore the good state is one in which power is checked and balanced, restricted by sound constitutions and customs. So far as possible, political power ought to be kept in the hands of private persons and local institutions. Centralization is ordinarily a sign of social decadence.

(6) The past is a great storehouse of wisdom; as Burke said, “the individual is foolish, but the species is wise.” The conservative believes that we need to guide ourselves by the moral traditions, the social experience, and the whole complex body of knowledge bequeathed to us by our ancestors. The conservative appeals beyond the rash opinion of the hour to what Chesterton called “the democracy of the dead”—that is, the considered opinions of the wise men and women who died before our time, the experience of the race. The conservative, in short, knows he was not born yesterday.

(7) Modern society urgently needs true community: and true community is a world away from collectivism. Real community is governed by love and charity, not by compulsion. Through churches, voluntary associations, local governments, and a variety of institutions, conservatives strive to keep community healthy. Conservatives are not selfish, but public-spirited. They know that collectivism means the end of real community, substituting uniformity for variety and force for willing cooperation.

(8) In the affairs of nations, the American conservative feels that his country ought to set an example to the world, but ought not to try to remake the world in its image. It is a law of politics, as well as of biology, that every living thing loves above all else—even above its own life—its distinct identity, which sets it off from all other things. The conservative does not aspire to domination of the world, nor does he relish the prospect of a world reduced to a single pattern of government and civilization.

(9) Men and women are not perfectible, conservatives know; and neither are political institutions. We cannot make a heaven on earth, though we may make a hell. We all are creatures of mingled good and evil; and, good institutions neglected and ancient moral principles ignored, the evil in us tends to predominate. Therefore the conservative is suspicious of all utopian schemes. He does not believe that, by power of positive law, we can solve all the problems of humanity. We can hope to make our world tolerable, but we cannot make it perfect. When progress is achieved, it is through prudent recognition of the limitations of human nature.

(10) Change and reform, conservatives are convinced, are not identical: moral and political innovation can be destructive as well as beneficial; and if innovation is undertaken in a spirit of presumption and enthusiasm, probably it will be disastrous. All human institutions alter to some extent from age to age, for slow change is the means of conserving society, just as it is the means for renewing the human body. But American conservatives endeavor to reconcile the growth and alteration essential to our life with the strength of our social and moral traditions. With Lord Falkland, they say, “When it is not necessary to change, it is necessary not to change.” They understand that men and women are best content when they can feel that they live in a stable world of enduring values.

Conservatism, then, is not simply the concern of the people who have much property and influence; it is not simply the defense of privilege and status. Most conservatives are neither rich nor powerful. But they do, even the most humble of them, derive great benefits from our established Republic. They have liberty, security of person and home, equal protection of the laws, the right to the fruits of their industry, and opportunity to do the best that is in them. They have a right to personality in life, and a right to consolation in death. Conservative principles shelter the hopes of everyone in society. And conservatism is a social concept important to everyone who desires equal justice and personal freedom and all the lovable old ways of humanity. Conservatism is not simply a defense of “capitalism.” (“Capitalism,” indeed, is a word coined by Karl Marx, intended from the beginning to imply that the only thing conservatives defend is vast accumulations of private capital.) But the true conservative does stoutly defend private property and a free economy, both for their own sake and because these are means to great ends.

Those great ends are more than economic and more than political. They involve human dignity, human personality, human happiness. They involve even the relationship between God and man. For the radical collectivism of our age is fiercely hostile to any other authority: modern radicalism detests religious faith, private virtue, traditional personality, and the life of simple satisfactions. Everything worth conserving is menaced in our generation. Mere unthinking negative opposition to the current of events, clutching in despair at what we still retain, will not suffice in this age. A conservatism of instinct must be reinforced by a conservatism of thought and imagination.

Conservatives Vs Liberals Essay

In America's political system there are two different parties, the Republicans and the Democrats. Each party has two sub-branches, a classic branch and a new "neo" branch. Because of these newfound branches, the members of them have different beliefs on government size and morals. The branches views obviously differ from the other parties views, but they also have "in party" differences as well.

The first branch of the Republican party are the Classic Conservatives. In today's day and age, there are less and less of these types of conservatives. The classic conservative believes that the government should play a small roll in the economy. They feel that big business should handle themselves with very little government interference. They are very morally self-contained, which means that they don't believe in gay marriage, but they won't openly criticize gay people for wanting to get married. They will just turn up their nose for the most part and look down on them. The best example of a Classic Conservative is former New York Mayor Rudolph Guiliani.

The second branch of the Republican party are the Neo-Conservatives. "Neo" means new, so this is how younger conservative are being brought up. The "neo"-conservative feels that the government should be economically small but socially big. That means that they feel that big business should govern themselves, but that the government should play a bigger part in everyday life. Unlike their classic counterparts, they are extremely morally judgmental. They vehemently oppose gay marriage, and are very vocal about their views on it. The best examples of "Neo"-Conservatives are former senate majority leader Tom DeLay and current President George W. Bush.

The first branch of the Democratic party are the Classic Liberals. Today, the majority of liberals in politics are classic liberals. They believe that governments should be...

Loading: Checking Spelling

0%

Read more

Liberal Party's Victory in the 1906 General Election

1707 words - 7 pages Liberal Party's Victory in the 1906 General Election In the 1906 general election, the Liberal party dramatically increased their number of seats from 184, in 1900 to 400. In contrast, the Conservative party, who had dominated British politics in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries lost nearly half their seats in 1906, decreasing from 402 to 157. A combination of Liberal strengths and Conservative...

The New Side of the News Media

1430 words - 6 pages “Everything is known not according to itself, but according to the capacity of the knower”- Boethius. News reporters know everything about an issue and have many ways to present their information to the public. People do not realize their opinions are influenced through the media’s reportings, since no one has warned them. These reporters are often called “the fourth branch of government”(Gabbs) because of their actions. The media is responsible...

Liberalism vs Conservatism and the Blurring of Lines

1443 words - 6 pages People can often be heard spewing nonsensical political jargon such as belonging to either the “Right” or “Left”, but what exactly does belonging to and holding such positions mean? There are a countless many political parties to which one can belong and although there are those who believe that they can be broken into the two categories and schools of thought; namely that of Liberalism and Conservatism, they are, without a doubt, completely...

Texas Government

850 words - 3 pages For so many years we have been viewers of the many differences and fights between Democrats and Republican, all these fights just for one reason: POLITICS. Black vs. White? Up vs. Down? Wrong vs. Right? Evil vs. Good? NO! Of course not! Though sometimes the two camps may seem that far apart, in many ways they are closer together than either side wishes to...

1988 Presidential election

1198 words - 5 pages Bush vs Dukakis The 1988 Presidential Election On November 8, 1988, Republican Presidential candidate Vice President George H. W. Bush was elected as the forty-first President of the United States of America. Bush defeated Democratic challenger Governor Michael Dukakis by a ratio of a bout six-to-five. 49 million people voted for Bush, netting him 426 electoral votes while 42 million voted for Dukakis getting him 112 electoral votes. Strangely,...

Outfoxed Analysis

1024 words - 4 pages Even though it is politically one-sided, I think that Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism, is a highly effective liberal activist documentary. I would recommend the film because it sets out to prove something and it does so. I'll bet anything that it will make (or has made) the blood of both liberals and conservatives boil, if for different reasons. When Rupert Murdoch launched Fox News in 1996, its CEO (or Chairman, 1 of the 2!) Roger...

Prejudice against Muslims and Islamic Fundamentalism

1069 words - 4 pages Ever since September 11, 2001 Americans along with the majority of the world’s population have been skeptical of Muslims. It’s a sad reality but it’s hard for people to think of a Muslim without linking them directly to terrorism. But these assumptions aren’t totally out of the blue—the Muslim’s religion, Islam, teaches a low tolerance for other religions and the Islamic government has no separation of church and state, so it’s only normal to...

The Battle Over Same-Sex Marriage

2260 words - 9 pages Same-sex marriage has grown into to a national issue. In 2003, the Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples had the right to marry which provoked a firestorm of debate. The discussion extends from private livings rooms and local watering holes; all the way to the floor of the U.S. Congress and the White House. The debate about same-sex marriage has become a hot button issue, which pits secular-progressives who support...

Religion in School: Publicized or Privatized?

1441 words - 6 pages There are many people in the world, in fact at this moment there are 6,877,185,416 with a newborn child gasping for its first breath every ten seconds. With that said many may follow a religion or worship a higher power. Not everyone follows the same religion as there are twelve major religions and over 1,200 around the world (Wilson, 2006, p.11). Having religion included in the public school system is one of the most difficult issues to...

The Fall of Socialism

3223 words - 13 pages The Fall of Socialism Ever since the Great Depression, political and economic thought in America has moved consistently to the right, enough that reforms which passed years ago in other industrialized countries cannot even be mentioned in political discussion. In fact, there is a deliberate destruction of legitimate thought by equating it with a universal evil. Specifically, any reform which helps the lower classes - reforms such as welfare,...

Homosexuality and Christianity

1309 words - 5 pages The way people ultimately view homosexuality, whether in religion, politics or modern popular culture, is all determined by traditional or changing points of view. This essay will discuss mainly liberal and conservative Christian interpretations of the Bible, including many verses that may support or condemn homosexuality. It will also discuss the political views and laws against same-sex marriage and the social activism in the homosexual...

0 thoughts on “Conservative And Liberalism Legislation Essay”

    -->

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *