Thursday, November 5, 2015

What Do Conservatives Really Conserve?

Have you ever wondered what it means when someone proudly announces that he or she is a political conservative? If you look in a dictionary you will find these following definitions:
conservative; noun - a person who is conservative in principles (see next), actions, habits, etc.
; adj.   - disposed to preserve existing conditions, institutions, etc., or to restore                                                  traditional ones, and to limit change.

The synonyms for conservative are rather unflattering:
                reactionary         • old-guard            redneck        • hidebound

One has to wonder why anyone would want to brag about being against change--especially in our modern world where change is usually embraced as advancing society and making life less burdensome. One who is slavishly dedicated to preserving existing conditions (e.g. current carbon-based lifestyle) would naturally be against addressing climate change, regulations that address pollution, acceptance of changing sexual mores, tackling gender bias, etc. This resistance is evident in our legislative bodies as avowed conservatives fight tooth and talon to oppose any and all proposed legislation on these subjects.

The claim of Social Conservatism, heralded as a desirable political stance, is one of the most popular (and egregious) right-wing political positions. In reality it is an oxymoronic construct that is centered on preserving traditional values—i.e. maintaining the status quo. Observing this philosophy in action one finds that it promotes a reactionary intransigence to any governmental program labeled as addressing social concerns. Ideological conservatives believe that "social" is synonymous with Socialism and must be resisted at all cost. Providing aid to the less fortunate in our society will not be tolerated. Thus social conservatives are rigidly opposed to any safety net for the poor in the form of food stamps, welfare, unemployment benefits, government sponsored health care and subsidies to organizations such as Planned Parenthood. Often times Social Security is lumped into these "entitlements," even though that program is not in the Federal Budget, and any reduction in benefits would not decrease the nation's deficit. This ideology would more accurately be named Anti-social Conservatism.

An examination of the voting records of these avowed conservatives will find they aren't really as dedicated to saving the taxpayer's money as they claim. They proudly pirouette their patriotism while insisting on increases in military spending, and rise to sanction unfunded military adventures. Ironically, the savings in tax dollars from cutting social programs are far outweighed by the additional expenses on the defense side. These actions smack of a schizophrenic disorder—the inability to empathize with the less fortunate and an incapacity for distinguishing reality from fantasy—e.g. advocating large-scale spending in one area while demanding arduous frugality in another.

So, what do conservatives actually conserve? Given their slavish adherence to the notion that all taxes are evil, along with a concomitant legislative drive to reward the most successful members of society (e.g. abolishing estate taxes), one can only conclude that being a conservative is all about the conservation of one's own personal wealth.

The ultimate tribute to conservatism is that so many in the country's underclass have been indoctrinated to believe that this political philosophy is actually good for them. And they continually return these charlatans to office while repeatedly voting against their own self interest.