“I was raised in a Christian home”
So begins the testimony of myriad Christians in myriad communities around the world. The same statement could be said about political views.
“I was raised in a Conservative home”
While there are certainly disagreements among people (typically those who are not Christians) about what being a “Christian” actually means, that term is much less likely to cause confusion than “Conservative”. And there is a pretty good reason for this.
Being a “Conservative” or a “Liberal” can mean any number of things in any number of contexts. To be Conservative with nature might be seen as a Liberal view in some cases. To be Liberal with your hospitality might be seen as something that southern Conservative states are known for. The terms have meanings, but they are pretty general definitions.
As simply as can be stated, a Conservative leans towards preserving the way things are, and a Liberal leans towards changing things. A Conservative’s position, therefore, is more obvious than a Liberal’s (who may have different interpretations of ‘change’). At the same time, Conservatives often never break away from the stereotype that they only wish to preserve the status quo because they are afraid of change.
I’ve heard people define both terms specifically for themselves, but I haven’t done so myself. I’ve stated why I’m a political/social/religious/philosophical Conservative in the past, but inexplicably I’ve forgotten the crux of the entire message: What does that mean?
Here is my definition.
A Conservative believes the world is as it is because those that preceded them had some sense of right and wrong. Conservatives do not believe the world is perfect, but that it is far better than popular opinion would have it.
A Conservative believes change is neither good nor evil, but certainly not always inevitable. When change comes, the Conservative desires sufficient reason to embrace it. If a case cannot be made that satisfies the Conservative, it will be rejected and opposed. If a case can be made, the Conservative will insist that the change occur gradually, and that it not proceed farther than was intended originally.
A Conservative seeks to preserve what is good and not to reinvent it. A Conservative seeks to trust what has been given them not unquestionably, but respectfully.
A Conservative believes humans have fundamentally always been the same sort of creature. That power corrupts anyone. That work strengthens character. That we must subject our passions to our wills, lest we lose our civilization.
I think that just about does it.