Conservative Myths - What Every American Should Know About Republican Politics & Politicians

Official Definitions of Conservative and Liberal

Don't trust us to define these ideologies. Look it up yourself in any dictionary or thesaurus or history book!
(Well, avoid those approved by the Texas Schoolbook Commission)


It is absolutely amazing how many people really have no clue as to what the terms "conservative" and "liberal" actually mean in a political sense. Do you think a "conservative" is someone who believes in the smallest possible government. Well, you would be Wrong! How about the lowest possible taxes? Wrong! How about a strong defense? Wrong! How about supporting the troops? Wrong! How about being Christian? Wrong! How about emphasizing "personal responsibility" and "individual freedom?" Wrong! How about believing in "property rights?" Wrong!

Someone very liberal can wholeheartedly believe in ALL of these things as well. And, if you examine closely, you'll note that conservatives are very inconsistent and selective in their application of the above beliefs, revealing that mostly they don't really believe these concepts, they just believe they believe in them.

So let's put aside the confusing rhetoric and get real. To find out what really makes both conservatives and liberals tick - what really is working at the core of their mindset - we need to get back to basics, review the actual definitions of conservatism and liberality. Only that way can we see the true consistencies that exist - through all of history - about conservative and liberal ideologies.

Can you handle the truth? Then here we go....

DEFINITIONS
(courtesy Dictionary.Com)

CONSERVATIVE - con·serv·a·tive
–adjective
From the Latin servare - meaning "keep, preserve."

1. disposed to preserve existing conditions, institutions, etc., or to restore traditional ones, and to limit change.
2. cautiously moderate or purposefully low: a conservative estimate.
3. traditional in style or manner; avoiding novelty or showiness: conservative suit.
–noun: a person who is conservative in principles, actions, habits, etc.

LIBERAL - lib·er·al
–adjective
From the Latin liberalis - meaning "suitable for a freeman."

1. favorable to progress or reform, as in political or religious affairs.
2. (often initial capital letter) noting or pertaining to a political party advocating measures of progressive political reform.
3. of, pertaining to, based on, or advocating liberalism.
4. favorable to or in accord with concepts of maximum individual freedom possible, esp. as guaranteed by law and secured by governmental protection of civil liberties.
5. favoring or permitting freedom of action, esp. with respect to matters of personal belief or expression: a liberal policy toward dissident artists and writers.
6. of or pertaining to representational forms of government rather than aristocracies and monarchies.
7. free from prejudice or bigotry; tolerant: a liberal attitude toward foreigners.
8. open-minded or tolerant, esp. free of or not bound by traditional or conventional ideas, values, etc.
9. characterized by generosity and willingness to give in large amounts: a liberal donor.
10. given freely or abundantly; generous: a liberal donation.
11. not strict or rigorous; free; not literal: a liberal interpretation of a rule.
12. of, pertaining to, or based on the liberal arts.
13. of, pertaining to, or befitting a freeman.
–noun:. a person of liberal principles or views, esp. in politics or religion.

SYNONYMS
(courtesy Roget's Thesaurus)

CONSERVATIVE
bourgeois, cautious, constant, controlled, conventional, die-hard, fearful, firm, fogyish, fuddy-duddy, guarded, hard hat, hidebound, holding to, illiberal, inflexible, middle-of-the-road, not extreme, obstinate, old guard, old-line, orthodox, quiet, red-neck, right, right-wing, timid, traditional, traditionalistic, unchangeable, unchanging, uncreative, undaring, unimaginative, unprogressive, white bread

ULTRACONSERVATIVE
Tory, bitter-ender, counterrevolutionary, die-hard, hard hat, intransigent, mossbacked, obscurantist, reactionist, right-winger, rightist, royalist, standpatter, traditionalist, Philistine*, convinced, dyed-in-the-wool, extremist (note that "not extreme" above has now veered to "extreme"), firm, fogyish, immovable, old-line, orthodox, reactionary, standpat, unreconstructed, Bourbon**, fanatic, fogy, fundamentalist, old liner, praetorian***, pullback, reactionary, stick-in-the-mud, zealot

* "Philistine" in this sense means: a. A smug, ignorant, especially middle-class person who is regarded as being indifferent or antagonistic to artistic and cultural values. b. One who lacks knowledge in a specific area. c. Boorishly uncultured.
** "Bourbon" in this sense means: A sociopolitical reactionary, especially a southern Democrat with highly conservative views; an extreme conservative; an opponent of progress or liberalism. Sounds about right. Today's Congress is Bourbon drunk.
*** "praetorian" in this sense means: abased, baneful, boorish, degenerate, degraded, deleterious, depraved, dishonored, dissolute, evil, flagitious, infamous, loose, low, mercenary, miscreant, monstrous, nefarious, perverse, profligate, rotten, venal, villainous, bent, bribable, crooked, debauched, double-dealing, exploiting, extortionate, faithless, fast and loose, fixed, foul, fraudulent, gone to the dogs, inconstant, iniquitous, knavish, on the take, open, padded, perfidious, profiteering, racket up, reprobate, rotten, shady, snide, suborned, tainted, treacherous, two-faced, underhanded, unethical, unfaithful, unprincipled, unscrupulous, untrustworthy, wide open. (Don't blame us, conservatives.... this is the Thesauarus speaking! To paraphrase Herman Cain: If "praetorian" is an official synonym for your political persuasion, blame yourself. Better get the Texas Schoolbook Commission on to the task of rewriting the Dictionary and Thesaurus!)

LIBERAL
advanced, avant-garde, big, broad, broad-minded, detached, dispassionate, enlightened, flexible, free, general, high-minded, humanistic, humanitarian, impartial, interested, left, lenient, libertarian, loose, magnanimous, not literal, not strict, permissive, radical, rational, reasonable, receiving, receptive, reformist, tolerant, unbiased, unbigoted, unconventional, understanding, unorthodox, unprejudiced

ULTRALIBERAL
"No thesaurus results."

What? How can that be? How can there be so many official synonyms for ultraconservative (almost all negative), including such "colorful" terms as Philistine, Bourbon, praetorian, and not a single one for ultraliberal?

Maybe it's because there is no such thing as an "ultrarationalist." How about "ultrareasonable?" "Ultrafree?" Ultraflexible?" Ultrainterested?" "Ultratolerant?" "Ultracompassionate?" "Ultracorrect?" "Ultratruthful?" Ultrascientific?" You're either rational, reasonable, free, flexible, interested, tolerant, scientific, compassionate, or you're not (in which case you would be a conservative). So liberalism just doesn't lend itself to over-the-top descriptions as do ultraconservatives, as they apparently so often descend ever further into the land of demagoguery, discord, distortion, dysfunction and despotism, requiring a complete vocabulary to fully capture. "Praetorian," indeed!

Oh no, poor conservatives... it's not only the media, but the dictionary and the thesaurus, that have a liberal bias! So conservatives have a MUCH larger problem than they imagine! Get the Texas textbook counsel to work rewriting these horrible liberal documents. It seems all of human higher awareness is out to get them and their ideology. Well, yeah, pretty much. And there's a good reason for that: conservative ideology is ignorant, selfish, false and dangerous. The truth hurts. It's not that the truth is liberal, it's that conservatives have abandoned the truth.


AND NOW A WORD FROM THE BIBLE...

Yes! A ringing endorsement for one of the political orientations from the Bible - both in the Old and New Testaments, no less. And the approved word from the Word is.... (drum roll)... "LIBERAL!"

The word "liberal" (or related term... i.e. liberality, liberally) occurs multiple times in the King James Bible. The word "conservative?" The Bible does not speaketh nor recommendeth this attitude.

"While you are enriched in everything for all liberality, which causes thanksgiving through us to God."
-- 2 Corinithians, 9:11

"While, through the proof of this ministry, they glorify God for the obedience of your confession to the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal sharing with them and all men."
-- 2 Corinthians, 9:12

So go forth Christians, and all men of good will, and liberally share your liberality as the Bible recommends!

While we're talking about words it's interesting that the word and prefix "con" so often has a negative or opposing, well, connotation. Among the key dictionary definitions of the word "con" relates to deception or trickery. We all know what the verb to con means. So we have concealer, con artist, convict, conniver, conspiracy, all words for a swindler, cheater, fraud, criminal, evil-doer. This definition is quite apropos, as conservatism relies heavily on distortion and deception, and rich and powerful conservatives have been some of the biggest conspiracy theorists (hello Donald Trump) as well as conspiracists (though often unpunished) in human history. Another common usage of the word "con" itself is to mean against or opposing, as in "pro and con," i.e. for and against. This definition is likewise applicable to our conservative friends, who as "reactionaries" are ever against the best ideas of humanity. When we come to words starting with the prefix "con" we immediately encounter a biggie: conformist. Bingo! Conventional, of course. Another: conceit. Yep, conservatives are paragons of feeling superior... which leads directly to condescending attitude those they are certain they are superior to. Concrete and congealed well describe the conservative mindset, contradictory perhaps even more often. Consider how the prefix "con" sometimes refers to mixed up, misled or misleading, agitated and (as reactionaries) prone to bad reactions, including war: confused, confounded, consternation, convoluted, conundrum, controversy, contrariness, confrontational, contentious, condemning, convulsive, conflict, conquest. Here we might wonder if it is merely ripe coincidence that the traitorous Southerners who abandoned the Union in order to preserve their "traditional value" of human slavery chose Confederate as their new identity?

The "con" word associated more with conservatism than liberalism that is perhaps the most frightening of all is... consumption. Conservatives are all for it: the more the better, full speed ahead, all guns blazing, drill baby dril, burn baby burn. To consume lots of stuff is their true American Dream, the Holy Grail of their dominator hierarchy. It should not be so. Conservatives should conserve. And do they ever... just the wrong things. Consumption and conservation are almost diametrically opposed. Whatever you are consuming you are not conserving, and vice-versa. When you see someone driving a HumVee, throwing trash, stampeding through Wal-Mart on Black Friday or chowing down at an all-you-can-eat buffet, odds are they are conservative. With such people there is no thought for the environment, their fellow humans, or even, quite often, their own health and that of their children. Not that liberals are entirely immune to the dominant siren song of modern culture, but they generally aren't quite so whacked out. If you see someone driving a Prius, recycling voluntarily, avoiding Black Friday entirely, and eating at a vegetarian cafe, you can bank on it that such a person leans liberal. At least liberals seem to be clueing in to the necessity of closely examining our consumption choices and slowly but surely accepting personal responsibility for doing the right thing for the world and themselves, because after all we only have this one world to live in. There can be no doubt that our current consumptive patterns are wholly unsustainable and will have to be drastically reduced staring, like, now. Conservatives? They believe "Super-Sized" is great and Global Warming is a Chinese conspiracy. Pursuing this confused, congealed, conflicted ideology they may just contaminate the entire planet.

Of course, there are a whole lot of other words beginning with the prefix "con," many of which apply better to liberals: concede (yes liberals do that too often with conservatives), conceive and concept (the best concepts are always conceived by liberals), concord (liberals are far more in concordance with the rest of humanity and nature than conservatives), conciliatory (again, perhaps too much toward conservatives), confirm (liberals actually believe in science and an accurate reading of history, conservatives believe in mythology which be definition can never be confirmed), congenial (toward a much broader array of others), congruent (the liberal mindset is more consistently logical as well as more compassionate), connected (liberals are more open to the world, while nativist conservatives are terrified of much of the world), connoisseur (if you find one of these they are probably liberal), conscientious (liberals sometimes pay attention to their conscience, conservatives more to their amygdala), conscious (liberals at least know this is an attribute to try to expand; conservatives are unconscious of this concept), conservation (how ironic that liberals are far better at understanding what really should be conserved, with the prime example being nature itself; a synonym for conservationist is environmentalist, anathema to conservatives), considerate (it's a liberal thing), contemplative (liberals are far more thoughtful, philosophical and even spiritual in their deep thinking), contrite (liberals sometimes, conservatives never), constitution, as in United States Constitution (liberals accept all of it as a living document, conservatives dislike most of it and consider it dead and set in concrete... except when they don't want to see it that way and do things like declare corporations are persons). Finally, here's a word we'd like to see conservatives have a lot less to do with: Congress. If you agree, let's move on.

Throughout this website we will refer back to these essential and official definitions and synonyms time and again. And "No!" conservatives... you don't get to weasel out of these definitions and invent your own more palatable substitutes. The dictionary, synonyms, antonyms and the Bible didn't get it wrong... they all have you pegged for what you really are... not what you think you are.

Let's now examine how these definitions, characteristics and qualities (or lack thereof in the case of conservatives) actually play out by comparing and contrasting conservative and liberal ideologies.