1. What are conservatism, conservatives, and conservative thought?
Conservatism requires a different type of definition than Leftism. Ideologies such as Leftism are based upon a central idea of what is lacking in the world, and constitute a moral command to sacrifice everything else to bring about that thing as the new order.
As such, these ideologies are based on human control. Conservatism takes another path: it is a folkway, or method of living that is never fully explained in a singular theory, which offers us the optimum but makes no guarantees of Utopia.
The conservative folkway consists of two parts. First, it is realist, meaning that it measures the goodness of things in terms of their results and unintended consequences in reality instead of human intentions or approval. Second, it contains a prescriptive heuristic to always seek excellence (arete) instead of mere minimums or utilitarian “good enough” solutions. It does so with many gradual changes, using what has worked and to what degree throughout history as its only guide, hoping to preserve and restore the best of civilization over the course of its entire history.
As such, it does not intend to “bring back” a specific time, but to take from all times what worked and, through a process of parallel logic, understand principles that we can apply now that act toward the future. Conservatism is inherently futuristic because it operates on principles that work in any age, and always point individuals and society together toward a higher state of civilization.
This requires that it understand some ugly things about individuals and civilization. From long knowledge, conservatism acknowledges that few have the congenital intelligence or moral character to become self-actualized and benevolent, and that more humans are like jeering monkeys who act only in self-interest at the expense of the rest; in addition, it sees civilization as unstable, in that by avoiding crises, civilization allows the weakest among us to live. Civilization acts against natural selection and over time, this kills it.
As a result of this, conservatism is more radical than any “revolutionary” philosophy because it aims to limit not just the individual, but the collectivized individualism of the mob, and also the oxidation and calcification process of civilization. For this reason, conservatism aims for optimum outcomes but never to “save” anyone from themselves, or to stop things which are doomed from failing.
Conservatism opposes equality and other attempts to make life “fair” because these give anyone who is failing a tool to use against civilization. Conservatives will stand up for common decency in treatment of others, but stop short of trying to “correct” the seeming imbalances of nature, because conservatism recognizes that imperfection, tragedy, and suffering are essential for nature to achieve a balance in the whole even if it appears imbalanced in the details.
In its defense of the individual against the tendencies of the individual, the mob, and civilization, conservatism might be described as a movement against individualism, which is the tendency of people to become narcissistic and think that their thoughts, feelings, judgments, emotions, and desires are more important than fitting into an order larger than the individual, such as civilization, culture, faith, logic, or nature. Individualism is more than “me first”; until they go through a process of self actualization and self-awareness, all people are me-firsters. Individualism is the process of viewing the world as a means-to-the-end of satisfying the self, instead of seeing the self as part of a more complex order which through its function brings about benefits the self can enjoy, and which through its logic provides better answers than the self is likely to at least initially understand. This mirrors the approach of conservatives toward history in that we see it, like civilization and nature, as a force of definitive answers in contrast to the flighty, neurotic, undisciplined, and erratic human mind.
We might see individualism as the downfall of civilization because it erodes and weakens any order other than the narcissistic impulse of humanity:
The French aristocratic political philosopher Alexis de Tocqueville (1805–59) described individualism in terms of a kind of moderate selfishness that disposed humans to be concerned only with their own small circle of family and friends. Observing the workings of the American democratic tradition for Democracy in America (1835–40), Tocqueville wrote that by leading “each citizen to isolate himself from his fellows and to draw apart with his family and friends,” individualism sapped the “virtues of public life,” for which civic virtue and association were a suitable remedy.
In many ways, conservatism functions as resistance to decay, entropy, chaos, parasitism, and other threats to health, sanity, and stability of both individuals and civilization (the mob, which has no consistent thought and no accountability, cannot be helped; it is simply evil, degenerate, destructive, idiotic, and incompetent). We use the term “conservative” in recognition of the root of our philosophy, which is conserving time-honored better answers against the flood of unproven, illogical, Utopian, and neurotic lesser answers. The root of this term goes back to the founding of our civilization and implies both preservation and forward-thinking nurturing:
Proto-Indo-European root meaning “to protect.” It forms all or part of: conservation; conservative; conserve; hero; observance; observatory; observe; preserve; reservation; reserve; reservoir.
Protection implies an ongoing process of not only defending something, but conserving its state of strength, and that requires working toward the future instead of trying to regress to the past. The term “conserve” includes the prefix “con” meaning “together, together with, in combination” for a final definition of “protecting together.” Conservatives protect the best of the past; this requires that they be realists who recognize what works in reality, and also have an aesthetic ability to assess the best above the rest, an ability that we normally describe as the pursuit of excellence (arete) as a means of conserving the best.
The pursuit of excellence implies a qualitative dimension to our thinking, since we are not only preserving what worked, but choosing from among several candidates for what produced the “best” outcome, which means measuring all factors at once and considering the quality of the end human experience. In this way, aesthetics and an enjoyment of life in its natural state become important; conservatism does not make sense for someone who fears a night in the woods alone, or would rather be wandering country fields than holed up in a trendy bar, nightclub, or restaurant.
We must preserve a notion of ourselves as small, and fitting in to a larger order which we need to fit in to, in order to have the idea of excellence as anything other than personal convenience. Choosing to deny the pattern order of the world, and appointing ourselves as substitute gods, leads to a condition known as hubris where we imagine that we are the center of the world. Formed of a hybrid of narcissism, paranoia, and solipsism this condition of hubris serves as the natural state of human beings because it keeps us from reaching any greater potential until we have the ability to handle it without being destructive. Civilization, by passing on knowledge in raw form, sidesteps this hubris prevention and empowers the destructive.
When we avoid hubris, and instead look at humanity as a complex order like an ecosystem, we see the need for external order and therefore, the need to maintain that order first in our own minds and second in civilization around us, because without it we degenerate to the state of animals. Our method for avoiding that fate consists of sorting, much as nature does, so that we separate the good from the bad and reward the former while punishing the latter, doing nothing for those in the middle. In that way, conservatism creates a positive reward schema while preserving order outside of the individual.
In contrast, egalitarianism seeks to make individuals equal to one another in social standing, which is another way of saying that it wishes to abolish any order higher than the individual save that which is required to enforce equality. This eschews the question of civilization and removes the need for individual self-discipline, self-awareness, and self-actualization, producing a raving mob which can be commanded by those who understand how to manipulate it.
History, conservatism was not recognized as something distinct until egalitarians arose, first with the middle class revolt against the kings in England, next with the battle over religious power in Europe, then with the idolization of the individual of The Enlightenment,™ and finally through the most odious event in history, the French Revolution. With the rise of egalitarians, who believe in an ideology which states that all injustice arises from a lack of equality and all of the ills of the world can be fixed with equality, the Right and Left were born and differentiated themselves as follows:
In politics, the portion of the political spectrum associated in general with egalitarianism and popular or state control of the major institutions of political and economic life. The term dates from the 1790s, when in the French revolutionary parliament the socialist representatives sat to the presiding officer’s left. Leftists tend to be hostile to the interests of traditional elites, including the wealthy and members of the aristocracy, and to favour the interests of the working class (see proletariat). They tend to regard social welfare as the most important goal of government. Socialism is the standard leftist ideology in most countries of the world; communism is a more radical leftist ideology.
Conservatism is a preference for the historically inherited rather than the abstract and ideal. This preference has traditionally rested on an organic conception of society—that is, on the belief that society is not merely a loose collection of individuals but a living organism comprising closely connected, interdependent members. Conservatives thus favour institutions and practices that have evolved gradually and are manifestations of continuity and stability. Government’s responsibility is to be the servant, not the master, of existing ways of life, and politicians must therefore resist the temptation to transform society and politics. This suspicion of government activism distinguishes conservatism not only from radical forms of political thought but also from liberalism, which is a modernizing, antitraditionalist movement dedicated to correcting the evils and abuses resulting from the misuse of social and political power.
This allows us to distill down further the essence of conservatism: it is goals-based where those goals correspond with reality, where Leftism is methods-based, assuming that a method (“equality”) can also be a goal in every context. This lack of nuance in thinking makes the Left effective because, like a laser, it can focus its ideology on anything because it offers the simplest possible solution, even if its lack of context makes it wildly unrepresentative of reality. The Left hopes to control the methods that people use to survive and, by doing so, influence their thinking; the Right chooses to reward those who figure it out on their own and use that knowledge to do good, a system that keeps pumping the more intelligent and moral toward the top of the social hierarchy while limiting the power of those who cannot or have not yet attained that level of self-discipline, self-awareness, and self-actualization.
In this sense, conservatism is the philosophy of the intuition. It does not give people procedures and rules, but instead points toward a general goal and raises up those who can understand and implement it. Like a free market, or a general rewarding his best warriors, conservatism uses an informal and imperfect system like natural selection to exert a constant force toward the better. Leftism, by removing the need for a better force and focusing on the symbolic victory of equality instead, does not address quality at all, only obedience, which is why it is simultaneously both anarchy and tyranny.
All of the beliefs of conservatives stem from this one realization, which is complex and articulated by few, instead being acted on as a sense of “gut instinct” or notion of what is right versus what is disgusting, incompetent, idiotic, inept, selfish, childish, and conformist.
2. What are the varieties of conservative?
3. Why do conservatives want small government and distrust the State?
“Big government” refers to the mission creep and expansion of State power which happens when a government decides that it is not, as the Constitution intends, designed to protect an organic culture through preventing government itself from violating natural rights, law, and order and instead chooses to become an administrator of forced civil rights or social equality. When a government becomes ideological or committed to social engineering of its population in order to provide a Utopian end result someday, it inevitably takes on an egalitarian or civil/human rights nature because these justify expansion in order to prevent inequality for any individual.
Conserves argue for “small government” in order to avoid a government motivated by ideology because those governments invariably pursue a social engineering agenda. We do not oppose government power, but think that government should see itself as defending the natural rights, law, and order that come to us from history instead of pursuing some quantitatively new and hence conjectural, hypothetical, and theoretical strategy.
4. What is social conservatism, and is it a form of tyranny?
Social conservatism refers to conservative values applied to personal lives so that individuals do not become destructive forces working against civilization. Many associate social conservatism with religion, which advocates the kind of restrictive lifestyle that also works well with our experience of how to achieve the best life: chastity, self-reliance, family, honor, reverence, and respect for culture and its customs including religious faith.
Leftists find this appalling because, by setting up standards, social conservatism also creates the ability to fall short of those standards and by doing so to lose social status or rank. Every group values those who act according to its standards; it assigns lesser value to those who violate or simply are lukewarm about upholding those standards. This means that for the anarchic Leftist, they would no longer be able to do things simply because they wanted to; they would have to toe the line or be seen as less desirable.
Since Leftists ultimately want “anarchy with grocery stores,” or the benefits of civilization without the duties and obligations to maintain it, we might see them as the ultimate bourgeois consumers who see civilization as a given and are concerned only with their personal profit, prestige, and power. Conservatives push back against this crass lowest common denominator by creating behavior targets and then rewarding those who attain or exceed those standards.
Tyranny, on the other hand, consists of leadership that does not take into account what is best for its citizens and instead works only toward defending, expanding, and perpetuating its own power. Tyranny represents the human ego seeking to control its world. A tyrant would never encourage, as social conservatism does, things that improve and strengthen the individual; instead, the tyrant wants compliant neurotic people who can be easily influenced and whose lives are unstable enough that they fear life without the tyrant to bail them out when things go awry.
In contrast, social conservatism offers a framework in which every individual can thrive. It does not depend on government making them equal through civil rights and subsidies, recognizing that internal methods cannot fix the disorganization of most unhappy lives. This causes Leftists to call it both tyranny and lacking in empathy, when in fact it simply operates from within the individual instead of forcing conformity and control upon them externally.
5. Why do conservatives emphasize the military and business?
Conservatives believe in order larger than the individual, and so tend to support hierarchy, standards, values, customs, norms, and achievements consistent with those. They like real world feedback, instead of a measurement of popularity or human intentions, and respect time-honored institutions that arise in every society, choosing the best version of those that they can find.
In fact, to conservatives all civilizations have the same institutions with different versions and methods, some of which are so bad that those institutions are defunct, corrupt, or not present and are absorbed as a socialized loss instead. Military and business institutions arise from the natural needs of any population. A group which wishes to exist must defend itself, and people will trade or sell goods and services within it. Instead of crusading against these realities, conservatives accept them and use gradual improvement to make them into the best possible versions.
6. What would a conservative society look like?
Like Leftism, conservatism occurs in degrees. If you visualize the temperature dial on an old-fashioned stove, you get the general idea. You can turn it up all the way for a full conservative civilization, or only crank it up partially for a hybrid of conservatism and Leftism or other forms of missing order.
Full conservatism would be a society ruled by aristocrats, with a feudal-manorial caste system, in which most property is owned by aristocrats and the rest of the economy is small with wide margins, allowing for more support to workers and families through higher effective wages. The country would be divided into small towns with wide green areas between them, there would be no apartments, and people would inherit homes from their families and work in the fields that their parents worked unless they demonstrated exceptional and unusual aptitude for something else. There would be a strong national culture and heritage with an emphasis on religion, and less talk about rights and more of duties paired with privileges. Free time and self-discovery would be valued more than conformity or work, and a pursuit of the best possible life would be a greater concern than attempting to make everyone equal or save them from themselves. It would best be described as a benevolent misanthropic civilization based in natural selection and the moral sorting of human beings.
In hybrid systems, conservatives attempt to preserve as much of the above as possible. This tends to make them dependent on methods, such as constitutional republicanism and religion, instead of looking at the whole picture that integrates all of these things as methods toward the goal of a transcendent civilization, or one in which reality is accepted and understood as sometimes brutal in its methods but ultimately benevolent and magnificent in overall effect.
7. Why are conservatives unwilling to compromise with Leftists?
If we wanted to be Leftists, we would have simply done that, but we do not agree that equality is the natural state of humanity, nor that equality should be our ultimate goal and method, nor that some shadowy conspiracy is enforcing inequality on people. We are not anti-Leftist, but because we do not agree, we do not support Leftists.
Would you compromise with an idea that you knew or believed to be fundamentally unnecessary and destructive? Neither would we.
Conservatives and Leftists do not agree on fundamental values of civilization:
Haidt sees morality as a “social construction” that varies by time and place. We all live in a “web of shared meanings and values” that become our moral matrix, he writes, and these matrices form what Haidt, quoting the science-fiction writer William Gibson, likens to “a consensual hallucination.”
Building on ideas from the anthropologist Richard Shweder, Haidt and his colleagues synthesize anthropology, evolutionary theory, and psychology to propose six innate moral foundations:
- authority/subversion, and
The moral mind, to him, resembles an audio equalizer with a series of slider switches that represent different parts of the moral spectrum. All political movements base appeals on different settings of the foundations—and the culture wars arise from what they choose to emphasize. Liberals jack up care, followed by fairness and liberty. They rarely value loyalty and authority. Conservatives dial up all six.
We add loyalty, authority, and sanctity to the individualistic ideas offered by Leftists, and these balance the desires of individuals against the need for order. In particular, sanctity seems important, since it enables us to say that there are sacred principles higher than the individual and that these are more important than any of our personal wants, desires, feelings, judgments, and impulses right now.
8. Why do you call them Leftists instead of liberals?
Leftists are those who favor egalitarianism, as established in the first question in this series. “Liberal” is shorthand for “classical liberal” which refers to those who accept egalitarianism and rely on market forces and natural selection to instill social order; this group believes that the good will rise and the bad will fall by natural mechanisms, and they are partially correct, but like most bourgeois thinkers, do not recognize the need for social order above and beyond individuals.
Classical liberalism depends on egalitarianism in order to believe that its market anarchy will provide a sensible order; if we acknowledge inequality, we realize that “voting with your wallet” is just another form of mob anarchy and therefore, that the lowest common denominator will predominate.
9. Do conservatives support nationalism and racism?
Conservation of a nation involves maintaining its historical founding group, so conservatives tend to think favorably of nationalism, or the idea that one ethnic group comprises and identifies each tribe and country.
As realists, we also tend to recognize the inherent genetic/biological differences between social classes, races, ethnic groups, and sexes. Since we do not have a “one size fits all” view like the Left, we do not see this as inherently a bad or controversial thing.
Even more, we see that diversity is merely an extension of the egalitarian program, which starts with class warfare and extends outward to foreign religions, races, and ethnic groups as a means of dissolving the majority. Egalitarians view indigenous majority cultures as ideological competition for loyalty and want to destroy them, much as they seek to wreck the family, culture, and any sense of standards or values held in common. Egalitarianism, a jealous god, seeks to be the sole purpose of a society.
The philosophy of pluralism arises from egalitarianism. For everyone to be equal, there cannot be a right way to do anything, so pluralism states that there can be multiple values systems, methodologies, and behaviors within the same society. This allows for a situation where no one is wrong; the parties merely “agree to disagree” and attempt to exist simultaneously, not realizing that this erodes any sense of social order.
Not surprisingly, diversity — which we might call ethnic pluralism or ethnic egalitarianism — serves to destroy social trust because people cannot count on their actions being approved of by others, and at any moment, someone might be offended:
New evidence from the US suggests that in ethnically diverse neighbourhoods residents of all races tend to “hunker down”. Trust (even of one’s own race) is lower, altruism and community cooperation rarer, friends fewer. In the long run, however, successful immigrant societies have overcome such fragmentation by creating new, cross-cutting forms of social solidarity and more encompassing identities. Illustrations of becoming comfortable with diversity are drawn from the US military, religious institutions, and earlier waves of American immigration.
Pluralism produces a society of many different competing special interest groups, each one insisting that its perspective on a detail of society can be extended as a principle on which to guide all of that society. Diversity merely extends this to the religious, racial, cultural, and ethnic realm, causing further division and creating a type of paranoia of not being accepted that comes from having to accept all groups despite their conflicting goals for what civilization should be like.
Like most conservative perspectives, the anti-diversity position takes the view that unity is good for a society and disunity weakens it, with diversity being one of the many ways that a group can fragment. Historically, diversity has come about when civilizations become weak and has helped them further dissolve. It has also been associated with tyranny in the past as strong self-interested leaders import foreign allies to help them subjugate the native population.
From Aristotle, a link between tyranny and diversity:
The guard of a [legitimate] king is composed of citizens: that of a tyrant is composed of foreigners. (1310B31)
It is a habit of tyrants never to like anyone who has a spirit of dignity and independence. The tyrant claims a monopoly of such qualities for himself; he feels that anybody who asserts a rival dignity, or acts with independence, is threatening his own superiority and the despotic power of his tyranny; he hates him accordingly as a subverter of his own authority. It is also a habit of tyrants to prefer the company of aliens to that of citizens at table and in society; citizens, they feel, are enemies, but aliens will offer no opposition.” (1313B29)
From Plato, a similar warning that tyrants import foreign allies:
And who are the devoted band, and where will he procure them?
They will flock to him, he said, of their own accord, if lie pays them.
By the dog! I said, here are more drones, of every sort and from every land.
Yes, he said, there are.
But will he not desire to get them on the spot?
How do you mean?
He will rob the citizens of their slaves; he will then set them free and enroll them in his bodyguard.
To be sure, he said; and he will be able to trust them best of all.
What a blessed creature, I said, must this tyrant be; he has put to death the others and has these for his trusted friends.
Yes, he said; they are quite of his sort.
Yes, I said, and these are the new citizens whom he has called into existence, who admire him and are his companions, while the good hate and avoid him.
In other words, diversity is both purely an ideological creation designed to advance the agenda of equality, and a technique for the power-hungry to seize control of a nation.
The anti-diversity perspective, like the anti-Leftist perspective, does not consist of devoting oneself to some ideological opposite to diversity and Leftism. Instead, it is a simple refusal to endorse and go along with an illusory and dangerous practice.
Sane societies view diversity as something like heroin addiction or gang warfare. Humans do it all the time, but this does not mean that it is good, and instead the opposite; people are destroying themselves with it.
Anti-diversity does not include opposition to particular groups caught up in diversity, although it does not preclude noticing differences between groups. Anti-diversity opposes the policy of diversity, including its underlying philosophies of pluralism and egalitarianism, in any form.
This distinguishes it from “racism,” which seems to mean two things as used by Leftists:
The term “racisme” originally applied to people who wanted to live apart from other European ethnic groups, such as the French (for example). It was later extended to demonize the commonsense benevolent xenophobia common to Europe at the time.
An intelligent person knows that every group is unstable until it has conquered every other group. There can be only one in the end. This means that if you see a member of a foreign group, you should expect that they will be meek and friendly until they have the power to challenge you, at which point they will kill you, take your stuff, and impregnate your women. This is the nature of different groups on Earth.
It is not bigotry to notice this, nor is it bigoted to see differences between groups, but there are some who scapegoat other groups for the problems of the world, attribute the failure of diversity to those other groups, or assume that all members of those groups are “bad.” This bigotry is what normal people refer to when they use the term “racism,” even if it is Leftist language that is deceptive and should be avoided.
Conservatism has never endorsed bigotry. It does not reject noticing differences, embraces benevolent xenophobia, declines to adopt diversity, and dislikes people who scapegoat, since this is an obvious mental health issue.
We can understand nationalism as a principle of history by which each nation differentiates itself in order to avoid assimilation by others and the consequent destruction of all groups:
Nationalism, translated into world politics, implies the identification of the state or nation with the people — or at least the desirability of determining the extent of the state according to ethnographic principles. In the age of nationalism, but only in the age of nationalism, the principle was generally recognized that each nationality should form a state—its state—and that the state should include all members of that nationality. Formerly states, or territories under one administration, were not delineated by nationality.
In this sense, nationalism is a bulwark against bigotry and genocide alike. Without diversity, there is no racism; without internationalism, conflict between groups is minimized. However, conservatism recognizes that at some point, if not separated by some permanent barrier, other groups will attack, including with passive methods like mass immigration.
10. What are natural rights and why are they the opposite of civil rights?
Natural rights arise from natural law, or the idea that there are mathematical patterns or structures in reality which appear in all things, even if we decide to make contrary patterns; by the nature of existence itself, they arise within what we do and will overwhelm it.
As part of natural law, every independent animal has certain “rights” in the sense of abilities, and natural rights says that government cannot impede these. Those are generally construed as survival, choice, and property. The American founding documents enshrine these as “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”
The Declaration of Independence appears to confuse the issue by stating that “all men are created equal,” but this only reflects our current standardized and thus inexact use of language being projected onto the past. “Created equal” means that the only equality in life is the fact of birth, which makes sense if the goal is to prevent government from infringing upon our abilities in a condition of nature.
In other words, natural rights conserve abilities that you have in nature against the tendency of government and human herds to force you to do things that are in their best interests but not in your own. There are no guarantees with natural rights; your success depends on how realistic your actions are.
As expressed by one of the founders of the American revolution, natural rights means a reduction in government power but requires people to follow an intangible standard of moral and natural wisdom:
In the twelfth of his Lectures on Law, the lecture on “Natural Rights,” Wilson quotes a passage from Cicero’s Pro Milone, wherein Cicero asserts the existence of a “law which is not written, but inborn.” It is not learned by training, but is rather “snatched” or “imbibed” “from nature herself,” a law “in which we are made.” Wilson cites this to illuminate his own analysis of natural rights.
The rights in question are not the gift of enlightened government, nor an offshoot of Magna Carta nor some sort of compact or social contract. The rights were there all along, and no government can claim validity or authenticity or the fidelity of the governed unless it is based on just this recognition.
Rights are the outward expression of an inner truth available to all who are fit for life under law. It is the inner truth, part of the very constitution of human nature, that makes government possible. Thus, government is not the source but the product of that exercise of power and judgment available to a being capable of self-government.
Civil rights or human rights presents a different concept: rights created by the State. Where natural rights is not fully egalitarian, and accepts differences in outcomes, civil rights and human rights demand that government enforce equality upon its people by banishing any discrimination — a form of “liberty” or “choice” under natural rights — and making its primary goal the creation of equal opportunity and/or subsidies to create financial equality.
Human rights distinguish them from civil rights by the institution of globalism. Civil rights are generally offered to citizens as part of the social contract with government that forms a replacement for natural law civilization; human rights are extended by international bodies to all people by virtue of being human. Plants and animals do not get rights, nor do intangibles like social order, culture, the family, or civilization itself, which means that human rights and civil rights work against those things. In particular, the tendency of cultures to reward some behaviors and punish others is at odds with human rights and the state-created civil rights. We might understand human rights as civil rights applied to worldwide human civilization by its international governments like the UN, which is why these have been the predominant topic in the years after WW2.
The divergent approaches of natural rights and civil/human rights make them opposites, as noted when we look at the contrast between natural rights and civil/human rights in law and politics:
Our Founding Fathers based the Bill of the Rights on the natural, unchanging rights with which we were endowed by our Creator. Thus they recognized not only our right to freedom of speech, but also freedom of religion and freedom of the press. They recognized not only our right to pursue and own property, but also to be secure in that property, and we were even to have security in our own persons. And to defend these and other natural rights, our Founders recognized that we had a right to keep and bear arms which shall not be infringed.
They tell of variously defined human rights, which at this particular moment include “rights” to education, contraception, public transportation, abortion, and internet access. It’s important to understand that just as natural rights are anathema to leftists, so too these human rights destroy the protections our Founding Fathers instituted regarding our natural rights.
Natural rights defend the individual against group action, such as government and trends, but civil rights bind the individual to the group action which is required to enforce civil/human rights. As such they are incompatible opposites; conservatives endorse natural rights because they are inherent to existence, and distrust the creation of human intentions and popularity that is civil/human rights.
11. Why are conservatives focused on local government?
Conservatives believe in the particular instead of the general, abstract, and theoretical. We recognize that those closest to the locus of impact of a decision will have the most vested in that decision, and the least temptation to socialize externalities through costs passed on to the rest of civilization.
The larger the group, the more likely it is to absorb costs in exchange for greater power over its extremities, since large groups face a struggle to keep themselves together by nature of their numbers. A smaller group will invest less in control of its sprawling membership and more in making decisions which benefit its members.
The conservative view emphasizes cascading government, or multiple levels each managing what is appropriate to their scope and delegating the rest to the smaller governments that comprise them. This order, mimicking that of the aristocracy, provides the most competent government at every level from detailed and local to general and nationwide.
12. What principles do conservatives have?
This law states that supply (production) and demand (consumption) regulate one another:
an increase in supply will lower prices if not accompanied by increased demand, and an increase in demand will raise prices unless accompanied by increased supply
That applies also to labor as well:
For example, if unemployment is high, there is a large supply of workers. As a result, businesses tend to lower wages. Conversely, when unemployment is low, the supply of workers is also low, and as a result, to entice workers, employers tend to offer higher salaries.
More importantly, the law dictates how groups respond to economic change:
Economists often talk of “demand curves” and “supply curves.” A demand curve traces the quantity of a good that consumers will buy at various prices. As the price rises, the number of units demanded declines. That is because everyone’s resources are finite; as the price of one good rises, consumers buy less of that and, sometimes, more of other goods that now are relatively cheaper. Similarly, a supply curve traces the quantity of a good that sellers will produce at various prices. As the price falls, so does the number of units supplied. Equilibrium is the point at which the demand and supply curves intersect—the single price at which the quantity demanded and the quantity supplied are the same.
This law governs much of what we know: what is rare is valuable, what is common is not. In social situations, in the realm of ideas, and even in nature, we see this principle time and again. Conservatives seek to master it to understand the workings of reality.
This principle describes how public resources become completely consumed if not limited by property rights:
Picture a pasture open to all. It is to be expected that each herdsman will try to keep as many cattle as possible on the commons.
As a rational being, each herdsman seeks to maximize his gain. Explicitly or implicitly, more or less consciously, he asks, “What is the utility to me of adding one more animal to my herd?” This utility has one negative and one positive component.
1) The positive component is a function of the increment of one animal. Since the herdsman receives all the proceeds from the sale of the additional animal, the positive utility is nearly +1.
2) The negative component is a function of the additional overgrazing created by one more animal. Since, however, the effects of overgrazing are shared by all the herdsmen, the negative utility for any particular decision-making herdsman is only a fraction of -1.
Adding together the component partial utilities, the rational herdsman concludes that the only sensible course for him to pursue is to add another animal to his herd. And another; and another… But this is the conclusion reached by each and every rational herdsman sharing a commons. Therein is the tragedy. Each man is locked into a system that compels him to increase his herd without limit–in a world that is limited.
More broadly, this is referred to as the “skin in the game” principle. A herdsman in a commons gambles for one unit of benefit against a possible loss of a fraction of a unit. This makes the gamble a smart move, and so everyone gambles, resulting in depletion.
We can apply this to just about anything, including power. If people can make a gambit for power without substantial loss, they will take it, which has implications for democracy, discrimination lawsuits, dating, and investing, among others.
Even more this tells us that a self-organizing society — everyone doing what they want and respecting the freedom of others — will behave like a cancer. Not surprisingly, our current “anarchy with grocery stores” is following this pattern toward a cultureless ecocide.
Every person has a limit of their competence determined by their biological intelligence; above this, things seem not only inscrutable to them, but obviously wrong. Those who know a little act as if they know a lot, and those who know a fair amount have great doubt because they know enough to know what they do not know.
In practical terms, this means that a group is only as intelligent as its largest plurality, which enforces an IQ limit on what it can understand. It also means that throughout human history, the large group jeering and mocking a smaller group has been wrong more than we are inclined to think.
Many misread this law as claiming that every person is “rational” in the sense of being capable of logical analysis and applied thought, but it really means that every person and group acts in self-interest alone. Altruism does not exist; people act for the group so that the group is stronger, or for themselves in that helping others makes them feel good, but neither of these are altruism.
It also means that power is a zero-sum game, meaning that any gained by one party is a loss for another because ultimately, they are competing for control over whatever sphere of influence they share.
Although this law has existed in many forms for uncountable centuries, few can define it in its broadest form: to make a result happen, you must act indirectly, starting with focusing your mind on the patterns of what you wish to see manifest.
In politics, this means that society cannot simply command changes, but must change itself so that it becomes what is compatible with those changes. In spirituality, it means that you cannot ask the gods/God for things, but must meditate on what they are in order to become ready to receive them and attract them to you. In terms of personal behavior, it means that instead of relying on external methods to change ourselves and others, we must apply self-discipline and study of reality to manifest changes around us.
This is best explained as knowing why something evolved, meaning adapted in direct response to its environment, before we project human notions of order upon it. The law was stated by G.K. Chesteron as follows:
In the matter of reforming things, as distinct from deforming them, there is one plain and simple principle; a principle which will probably be called a paradox. There exists in such a case a certain institution or law; let us say, for the sake of simplicity, a fence or gate erected across a road.
The more modern type of reformer goes gaily up to it and says, “I don’t see the use of this; let us clear it away.” To which the more intelligent type of reformer will do well to answer: “If you don’t see the use of it, I certainly won’t let you clear it away. Go away and think. Then, when you can come back and tell me that you do see the use of it, I may allow you to destroy it.”
Others exist, but these are strategic principles of the type that conservatives employ. We recognize that principles are heuristics, rather than goals in themselves, and that this might be the most important principle: we cannot allow human devices — tools, goals, ideas, methods, procedures — to supplant our ultimate purpose in becoming aware of our world and ourselves, and joining the two together in a harmonious balance.