Who are the conservatives? Let's examine the conservative minds, the various types of conservative, how they think, and their legacy. We shall see that conservatives of different stripes all agree on this: they are superior and right and the rest of the world is inferior and wrong!
The FauxCons: Moderate "Conservatives?"
"Conservatives" come in all shapes and stripes, sizes and styles. You may even think of yourself as a conservative. But if you define "conservative" as being prudent or frugal, or believing in small government, low taxes, and a strong defense, then you may be very confused about what a "conservative" really is.
Prudent. Frugal. Religious. Moderate. Middle-of-the-Road. All-American. These descriptions may well apply to the good-old-boy or gal out there in the populace, generally hard-working, meaning no harm, just trying to live their lives and allowing others to live theirs, and hoping to pass on a better life, a better country, a better world, to their children.
There are tens of millions of these across America who might self-describe as "conservative," "independent," "centrist" or sometimes "socially liberal, fiscally conservative." They represent a very significant - perhaps even the largest - contingent of those who might think of themselves as "conservatives."
But the truth is, these folks really aren't as "conservative" as they might imagine. Actually, the vast majority of these types turn out to be FauxCons, as in false, fake, inauthentic conservatives.
Being prudent, frugal, religious, moderate, middle-of-the-road, and/or "All-American" is not what makes a political conservative. Nor does believing in the smallest effectual government, the lowest effectual taxes, and a strong defense. These are common sense values. Liberals also want a strong defense, as well as the smallest government and lowest taxes we can have and still maintain a modern, intelligent, fair and just society, providing for the "General Welfare" of We the People, as specified in the Constitution.
As for supporting "traditional" values, yes, liberals are up for that too... as long as they are real, universal values and not just hoary old habits or obsolete or unfair institutions. Liberals do not want to throw away "tradition" just for the hell of it. Liberals are just much, much better at discerning which "traditions" deserve to be "conserved," and which need to be swept into the dustbin of history. Just because something is old or a "tradition" doesn't make it good. Human sacrifice, animal sacrifice, the divine right of kings, the subjugation of women, slavery, keeping poor people poor and dumb, all were "traditions," even "institutions" at the very heart of many cultures. Most people on Earth today have perceived the gross error of these "traditions," and moved forward into a more civilized way of being. This progress was made in spite of the concerted efforts of conservatives all through history to "conserve" even these backward, ignorant and harmful practices... and there remain places where some of these "traditions" are still practiced... places we would likely describe as highly "conservative," certainly not "liberal."
More like liberals than conservatives, FauxCons actually take to heart true American values, including liberty, equality, justice for all, and religious freedom. They also believe in real moral and spiritual values such as love, forgiveness, mercy, caring for the poor and downtrodden, the unity of all people, and trying to not be so damned judgmental. So unlike a true conservative, FauxCons are willing to dump old, unfair and often downright un-American and un-Christian "traditions," such as separate drinking fountains and restrooms for "colored people," you know, the segregation "tradition" that replaced the slavery "tradition." Conservatives loved both of these unfair, unjust, un-loving and un-compassionate "traditions," and threw a hissy-fit when actual American (and Christian) ideals were enforced by law. And NEVER FORGET, in American history, conservatives were willing to go to war, and kill their own countrymen, to "conserve" the institution of slavery!
FauxCons don't feel a strong need to impose their beliefs on others, or to stick their noses into someone else's life. "Live and let live." Not for conservatives, for whom the mantra is "My way or the highway."
FauxCons sharply veer away from true conservatives in almost every category. They value public education, science and the arts. They try hard to match up their belief system with the real facts of the world, including the discoveries of science. They do not believe that the universe was created 6,000 years ago. FauxCons don't own a bunker full of guns and food rations, ready for the apocaplyse. They do not believe that the government is always the problem, but recognize it is sometimes the most effective - often only - solution to most problems that affect a large number of people. They want the government to help make sure their food and drugs are safe. They want the government to help enforce workplace safety. They want the government to lower the boom on polluters of our air and water. They want the government involved in promoting public health and supporting research to cure diseases. They want the government to take the lead in helping manage natural disasters. They want the government watching over the shenanigans that big banks, Wall Street and many big corporations are continually trying to perpetrate on the rest of us in their insatiable quest for ever-larger profits. They want the government to help protect consumers. Most of them do not want to overturn Roe v Wade.
They love the Post Office, the Interstate Highway System, the National Parks, the space program, the National Weather Center. They are mighty proud of the United States Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard, plus their local firemen and law officers... all of whom are government employees. They wholly support and fully realize the importance of programs such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. They want the richest nation in the history of the world to help other countries when natural or manmade disasters strike. They want the government to come to the aid of the most vulnerable in our society. To support all these things they like, they are even willing to pay their fair share in taxes without too much belly-aching.
On the other hand, they don't support military escapades just because some party, politician or pundit tells them to. They don't believe that corporations are people. They don't like it when very rich people get away without paying their fair share of taxes, and have all kinds of built-in advantages over the rest of us. They are innately suspicious of charismatic, authoritarian political leaders such as Donald Trump, whom real social conservatives easily fall in love with. They do not like corporations that ship American jobs overseas, or that have turned into bullies or pirates. Not for a New York second do they believe that capitalism (AKA "the free market") can regulate itself.
Perhaps most importantly, they are not overly fearful of people who are different from them, and they are OK with cultural change. Such change may take some getting used to, but they realize that often it turns out for the better. They especially approve when such changes bring greater liberty, equality and justice to We the People, including those people who may be different from themselves.
So, for all these reasons, FauxCons are seriously at odds with the definition of a conservative, which is: one who wishes to conserve traditional hierarchies, institutions and traditions.
So FauxCons are actually way more liberal than they are conservative.
They may feel a bit uncomfortable with that term: LIBERAL. That's completely understandable. The word liberal has been intentionally demonized by professional conservatives over the past half century. This is truly a shame, and prime evidence of how the conservative movement manipulates and distorts the truth. Let's take this opportunity to tip our cap to the great conservative myth-making machinery. It is truly a marvel, and liberals have done a very bad job exposing it.
The word "liberal" actually has a far more profound and prouder heritage than the word "conservative." One can see the qualitative difference even in the origins of the two words: liberal is from the Latin liberalis, meaning "worthy of a free man;" conservative is from the Latin servare, meaning "keep, preserve." The ancient roots of the two words still ring absolutely true today in the fundamental principles and purpose of the separate ideologies. Liberals seek to expand rights and freedoms, and conservatives seek to conserve the old order. The march of progress, science and truth aren't kind to conservative ideology, which continually, desperately, attempts to "conserve" the old ways. So history tends to have a strongly liberal tilt, which can be summed up: Liberals shine, conservatives whine!
Throughout the ages, an education that was wide-ranging, comprehensive and promoted critical thinking has been called a "liberal" education. Who would want a "conservative" education, which by its definition would be severely stunted? There are liberal arts colleges. A "conservative" arts college would be an oxymoron, for the true arts, not to mention the sciences, philosophy and the study of other religions, give conservatives the willies.
Throughout history, the greatest thinkers and innovators, including the principle American founding fathers, considered themselves "liberal," while those stubbornly trying to preserve older ways, that actually thwarted greater liberty, equality and justice, were "conservative." Do a little research and you'll see for yourself that there have been very few (if any) "conservative" heroes in American, or even world, history. The great individuals and movements that the entire world still reveres today are liberal in orientation, always trying to knock down established "traditions," that, in fact, were bad traditions. Conversely, it is the "conservative" ideology that sought to conserve those bad traditions.
(NOTE: Ronald Reagan is the one and only figure that modern conservatives point to as their hero. All other conservatives have not passed the test of time. Sadly for conservatives, however, the Reagan that these conservatives remember is not the real, factual Reagan. Conservatives are very good at making up their own myths, and they have applied the only artform they excel at in remolding Ronald Reagan to fit their own narrative. So even their one hero is a fraud! They have gotten away with it for some time now... but just like all the other conservatives, the real Reagan legacy will soon supplant the myth, and he will join all the other conservatives as a failure, indeed, one of the worst of all.)
Conservativism throughout history has been the opponent of not just progress... but liberty, equality and justice, as well.
One way to understand the vast chasm between liberal and conservative ideologies is to perceive the general world-view that each side holds. Liberals have evolved to believe that we are one human family, all in this together, most (but not all) of us are good-hearted, and we should try to love and help each other if we possibly can. For liberals, it's one for all, and all for one. Liberals really do believe in We the People.
Conservatives? Not so much. They are selfishly oriented, with a "we against the world" mentality. They believe that most of the people in the world are evil and out to get them, so they maintain strict barriers between themselves and all "others."
Once again, by this yardstick FauxCons line up not with conservatives, but with liberals.
It is because of the general support of both confirmed and proud liberals, true independents, as well as FauxCons that the arc of history over the past 300 years has tilted dramatically toward liberal ideology, pushing aside many age-old conservative traditions and institutions. America started off as a radical liberal experiment in governance, throwing off the yoke of bad tradition, and has become more liberal ever since... even despite the recent re-ascendency of economic conservatism ushered in by Ronald Reagan in 1980.
It's certainly true that FauxCons got Ronald Reagan (and Bush I and Bush II) elected. You see, FauxCons are not only the largest contingent of people thinking of themselves as "conservative," they are the most important... simply because they are less rigid in their thinking than the other types of conservative. In a democratic governmental process, they can easily swing an election one way or the other.
It is true that FauxCons can be politically apathetic. Often they don't pay that much attention to politics and social issues; they're too busy leading their lives. They are not always as well informed as they should be on the issues (including, importantly, the real differences between liberals and conservatives). They are basically unaware of the horrid history of conservative ideology. And they, like anyone, are susceptible to having their emotional strings plucked by Machiavellian myth-spinners. These are the reasons they sometimes swallow the myths and distortions that the loud conservative machine spews out. Such pliancy lends credence to their moniker as the "squishy middle."
So, yes, they sip the conservative Kool-Aid periodically, and go temporarily stupid. But they are not swilling the Kool-Aid like true conservatives. They are not completely co-opted by conservative dogma. When they vote, they may vote Republican or Democratic. In most elections, they determine who wins! And just look at how they have voted: These are the "conservatives" who helped elect Woodrow Wilson (twice) Franklin Roosevelt (FOUR times), and put Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton (twice) and an interracial guy named Barack Hussein Obama (twice) in the White House. Now some of these guys weren't true liberals, but they were a heck of a lot more liberal than the Republicans that ran against them. These facts, alone, obliterate the mythical notion that America is a conservative nation!
Our purpose here is to help FauxCons better recognize that taking even a sip of the conservative Kool-Aid is very risky... because a vote for conservative anything (person or policy) is most likely a very bad long-term mistake.
Following the 2012 presidential election several surveys were conducted to see just who these "centrists" were. The results were depressing for conservatives. Among this group of "independents," the most "trustworthy" Republican was New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, at two percent (Rush Limbaugh scored zero percent). Meanwhile, these independents scored Obama at nine percent. Less than 30 percent of the independents were regular church-goers, less than 35 percent owned a gun, and only eight percent strongly opposed increasing the minimum wage. If the Republicans think that this group represents a vast untapped reservoir of conservative angst, they have a rude awakening ahead.
Indeed, it would be far smarter, on their part, for conservatives to just discourage these FauxCons from voting at all if their inconsistency actually skews more toward liberal values. And, of course, that's one of the fundamental approaches of conservative politics: divide and conquer, and sow the seeds of fatalism and nihilism and distrust of government, hoping that a huge percentage of eligible voters just won't bother to go to the polls at all.
But don't buy it, FauxCons! Your votes absolutely count! You swing elections! Always remember, when you don't vote, you actually are voting... FOR the person/thing you would have voted AGAINST... by denying your vote to your preferred candidate or issue.
For those who have read this far and still cling to the word "conservative," consider this:
Social conservatives are the biggest losers in American history!
Really. It's completely true. They always eventually lose every argument, and their most cherished ideas are swept aside. Today they are busy trying to re-fight the contraception wars of the 1960s. They want to put women back in their places, bring back coathanger abortions, somehow put gays and lesbians back in the closet, and reinstitute Jim Crow election shenanigans. Watch as they get clobbered again by the arc of history! Meanwhile, distracted as they are by "wedge issues," social conservatives have no clue how they are unwitting dupes and pawns of a powerful financial elite, the CorpCons.
So social conservatives are the ultimate losers. Why on earth would anyone want to join that pathetic club?
Think about it FauxCons. And don't take our word for it. Open up the dictionary, the thesaurus, a history book, a science book, a philosophy book. Unlike true conservatives, you're fair-minded enough to figure it out for youself.
This website is written for both liberals who are seeking a fuller understanding and grounding of their own idelogy, and for FauxCons, who are generally open to both rational truth, and a higher spiritual awareness. So follow us, as we take a closer look at the actual conservatives and see if we can figure out how their minds really work.