The purpose of conservatism

We all know the purpose of liberalism: to make everyone equal, so that no one is threatened, and so that no person needs to venture beyond their own mind in order to be part of our society.

But what about the purpose of conservatism?

Ask 99/100 conservatives this, and you’ll get a lot of different answers, very few at the level of abstraction you need. Most will start talking about what’s right, what God wants, what history has proven correct or what feels good in the gut. But the purpose of conservatism is even simpler.

We are those who aspire to the good, the beautiful, the timeless, the true and the intelligent. If you think for a moment, you will see that these things are one and the same. (By “a moment,” I mean seven days in spring under a Bodhi tree, or 40 days in the desert. Your choice.)

Our lives here are not our mission. The tangible is a mere reflection of the ideal, of the significant, of meaning itself; this cannot be found in nature, but is the union of our imagination with our analysis of the world itself.

These lives are a means to an end, even if you are a pure materialist (one who believes nothing exists beyond the physical). What gives life purpose and value is that we make choices, that we express our will, and that we form ideas of who we are and what we revere.

This is the essence of Platonic, Hindu and Pagan teachings as well as the words of Jesus Christ. The physical world is the means to the idea, and the idea is what fills our souls. We cannot end suffering, but we can make such beauty so that suffering is only an activities fee for the wonder that is life.

Knowing this, the ancients crafted great cities, intense works of art, massive philosophy, radical spirituality and a mythology of incomparable creativity. They did this because the goal of life is greatness and beauty, or a rising above our animal and material state.

On the left, they want our goal to be that animal and material state. They do not want any to rise above; rather, they want us all to be at the same level, so none feel — as they see others rise above — a sense of being insufficient.

Conservatism is eternal for this reason. So much so that we never had a name for it until recently, and probably have no way of explaining it to others. It is both complex as the stars and as simple as breathing, or falling in love.

It is the union between the life within and the universe itself, through the order of beauty that pervades all life. For those who discover it, nothing less would ever be satisfying.

20 Comments

  1. crow says:

    Wow.
    That was a breathtaking morning journey into the unexpected.
    Too bad this thing is called conservatism.
    Too bad God is called god.
    Names for things provide only for misunderstanding and ridicule.
    Language: the means to share beauty.
    Language: the reason men destroy.

    1. 1349 says:

      Sanskrit is a sung language, not a spoken one, remember?

  2. Org says:

    The essences of conservatism and liberalism are simple, because they are diametric opposites: conservatives believe in a fundamental order and structure in reality, while liberals deny any such structure.

    This gives rise to conservatism’s consequentialism, because an inherently structured reality will of course have predictable consequences based on cause-effect relationships. On the liberal side of things, a fundamentally un-structured reality has no causal order; thus, everything is the result of luck. This is why conservatives love success, because they believe that rich people got that way by studying cause-effect relationships and adroitly manipulating reality to suit, whereas liberals assume that the rich just “got lucky” and therefore owe the rest of us a slice of the pie.

  3. Lisa Colorado says:

    “It is the union between the life within and the universe itself, through the order of beauty that pervades all life. For those who discover it, nothing less would ever be satisfying.”

    I saw something beautiful. I was getting over my midlife crisis, a terrible one where I’d been depressed and I felt the best times of my life were gone forever and that I’d never experience happiness again…cut to the days when I got better, and I laughed at something that tickled me, and I’d never felt a laugh quite like that before. It was marvelous! I had to obey the higher concept to make it through the ego crisis, and found the beauty of living.

    1. crow says:

      I find this mid-life crisis thing to be the point at which many people finally begin to suspect they are alive (:>

  4. Eric says:

    Not sure why I am sharing this here, but the name itself just drives me nuts, and now even the care companies are using it as a marketing tool for their sound systems. Welcome to the future:

    http://www.beatsbydre.com/

    Yuck!! ;)

    1. Eric says:

      I meant car companies (Chrysler in particular – saw the ad this weekend.) Another site made reference to the company and I felt compelled to post. What I am getting at is if you look at the site the “lifestyle” imagery that is portrayed. The thing is, this is where people are headed because they will head wherever appears to be cool. Then again, maybe not everyone is buying into this sort of thing. But people seem pretty phony a lot of times and I cannot help but think we have created this mess. Anyway, it is up to me to buy in or not. But I wish society as a whole was a bit more genuine and honest, because so much is fake. I can change myself, but I still have to suffer the consequences of the social reality I am stuck in. Maybe I can change that some as well.

  5. thordaddy says:

    Conservatism can be best understood as a rejection of Liberalism’s mechanical foundation. And thus, conservatives can be best understood as non-mechanical beings (are there really any other kinds of beings?) who are then not robotically “obsessed” with obtaining “freedom” as per the true Liberal.

    Conservatives instinctively understand that they are in possession of God ordained free will. They also understand that this God ordained free will is available to all who seek it and does, in fact, resonate inside every individual NOT subservient to mechanical process. These understandings put conservatives and conservatism squarely and unequivocally on that side that absolutely rejects a mechanical foundation of “being.”

    1. Lisa Colorado says:

      Hey, that is a useful concept. It caused a seemingly random association in my mind about the popular music that came about around the time of the enlightenment. Baroque music is sometimes characterized as mechanical and logical, and so is the thinking of the Enlightenment, when many of today’s liberal philosophies came about. Correct me if I get any of that wrong.

      Liberal philosophy does look at behaviors for their causes. That’s mechanical, I think. Conservative philosophy looks at behavior as being driven by a person’s character. Liberals say people are free when they have everything they need, so they don’t need to steal and do drugs. Conservatives say if people are going to steal and do drugs, they put a burden on other people and they need to be stopped if not by character, then by restrictions.

      Freedom is messy and unpredictable and so is Truth, I think. What liberals want to do is clean up the mess and do do that they have to take away freedom. It’s ironic how it’s said the other way around in current propaganda.

      1. thordaddy says:

        There is absolute self-deception in the mind of the radical liberal. And make no mistake, the radical liberal is the only true liberal. A conservative then would be one who was forthrightly attempting to rid himself of his own deceptions. The way in which this is done is to understand how it is that the radical liberal is self-deceptive. We can clearly see where the self-deception lies. It lies with a goal that is impossible to achieve based upon ONE’S OWN radical liberal presumptions. The radical liberal is voluntarily confined to a finite “playing field.” You can see this literally as the radical liberal “sees” a finite universe or you can see this figuratively as the radical liberal “sees” man as a mechanical “being.” He desires “absolute freedom.” He thus relentlessly pursues the impossible, i.e., “absolute freedom” on finite playing field embodied in something fundamentally mechanical. His necessarily becomes a zero-sum game justified by self-deception. His “free will” is entirely predicated on his tenuous and strenuous relations or lack thereof with all others around him. If you study the radical “black” liberal you will see that he has taken this battle for “absolute freedom” to an absolutely mind-boggling degree. He is forever inventing new ways and means in which his enemies (white men, mostly) are denying him his “ABSOLUTE freedom.” Think DWB (driving while black), SWB (shopping while black), “microaggressions,” reverse racism, etc.

        So a conservative, in order to rid himself of self-deception, would necessarily start with the reality that we operate on an infinite playing field and we are not fundamentally mechanical.

        So whereas true liberalism is just transgressive ACTION and the radical liberal just a transgressive ACTOR, the true conservative and conservatism springs forth from spiritual and intellectual motivations that then bring clarity in action. A true rendering of conservative action would then evidence an exercise of God-ordained free will and necessarily entail the unique one time experience of living that total truth. This experience is genuine “free will.”

      2. 1349 says:

        …the popular music that came about around the time of the enlightenment. Baroque music is sometimes characterized as mechanical and logical, and so is the thinking of the Enlightenment, when many of today’s liberal philosophies came about. Correct me if I get any of that wrong.

        You’re right.
        Polyphonic music became the soundtrack to those times. It represents liberalism on the symbolic level.
        Since those times, most urban music has been based on a mechanical, profoundly unnatural and anti-traditional system of tuning – equal temperament. (Although it had been invented much earlier.)
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equal_temperament

  6. Eric says:

    I had a post here that was deleted, most likely because I linked to a commercial site. My intention was to show the cultural narcissism that has become the norm. But truth is, that is not something that is needed here, as we all see it too well. Thing is, it is an empty reality with no future, at least there is no way I can see it as sustainable. What is scary is that it seems to have become the dominant way of being. Of course, in life you need to pick and choose where you apply your focus. Hopefully, slowly, I can tune this stuff out and tune into what really matters. I have seen this trajectory for many years, but felt helpless to change it. Now I realize the only person I can change is myself.

    1. thordaddy says:

      I have seen this trajectory for many years, but felt helpless to change it. Now I realize the only person I can change is myself.

      This is a false belief that is rooted in a subconscious acceptance of a mechanical foundation of “life.”

      The reality is that you are able to change anyone including yourself once you accept that you are not mechanically-inclined to “do things” and neither is anyone else.

      Your despair is founded in the idea that you are essentially robotic and so is everyone else. At this point, we are all confined to simply going through the motions.

      Don’t believe this nonsense. This meme is relentlessly propagated for no other reason than to create a “default elite” that then turns the “robot” off and on at will.

      1. Lisa Colorado says:

        When you change yourself, you resonate differently and attract better people to you.

        1. Lisa Colorado says:

          Making for better synchronicity

          1. thordaddy says:

            The radical liberal cannot “sense” synchronicity as it has no material foundation and thus emits no empirical evidence to be sensed. What this shows is that the tortured logic of the radical liberal REQUIRES “life” to be nothing more than REDUNDANT phenomena. This is the only type of phenomena that the radical liberal can “sense.” He simply cannot sense unique one time phenomena like synchronicity.

            What a boring and confined world that the radical liberal resides in.

  7. Eric says:

    My only point was, that changing my own life is where I should focus my energies. Trying to change the world, while not addressing the self would be a waste of time. I’m not even sure of things anymore, that things might already be past a tipping point. But even that is defeatist thinking. I just need to keep raising the personal bar higher if you will. That said, I’ll stand by previous comments of 400+ million rats trapped in this social cage. It is coming and we don’t deal with reality. I wish we could just speak the truth. Maybe here some are trying, and that is a good thing.

    1. thordaddy says:

      My only point was, that changing my own life is where I should focus my energies. Trying to change the world, while not addressing the self would be a waste of time.

      Eric, my man… Changing other peoples’ lives can be a wonderful thing if it’s done with truth and honesty. Changing lives is the motivation to really pro-create. Most of us “conservatives” have a far easier time embracing the Truth than we have in living it. But we can’t let this “hypocrisy” that only we can hold against ourselves to erroneously prohibit us from changing others by simply speaking plain truth. Even if you can’t live your truths fully, you can still speak your truths clearly. And when you speak the Truth clearly then you can see the ways in which you need to change. This process leads one to “free will.”

      And that’s exactly what you don’t have a sense of right now… A free will.

      1. ferret says:

        And when you speak the Truth clearly then you can see the ways in which you need to change.

        There is a risk to make things worse in the long run: if you speak a truth you are not actually live, you make people follow you, until they notice this “hypocrisy”. At that point they may reject a right idea, almost ready to be adopted, for a long time.

  8. […] Brett Stevens on the purpose of conservatism.  (h/t Matt […]

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