- Edmund Burke is acclaimed as the father of Conservatism
- In America, Conservatism refers to right-wing politics which advocate for the preservation of personal wealth and private ownership
History and Evolution of Conservative Ideology
Conservatism is a term derived from the Latin “conservare” which means to protect or preserve. Its application to politics began after the French Revolution in 1789 and firmly established in its present-day political form in 1820.
Edmund Burke is acclaimed as the father of Conservatism in the Anglo-American society. In 1790, in his Reflections on the Revolution in France, Edmund argued fervently against the French Revolution, even though he supported the American Revolution, and was concerned by the rationalism that characterised part of the Enlightenment Age. He argued in favour of inherited institutions and customs including developing the state upon the “wisdom of many generations” in a gradual manner through experiences and the simultaneous maintenance and continuation of the family and the church. He criticised the “metaphysical abstractions” of his time, noting that there was a failure in appreciating how inherited behaviours influence thinking.
Over the 17th Century, the Tory Party was the Conservative party in Britain, and it embodied the attitudes of the rural lawn-owning class. The Tory Party morphed into the in 19th Century, which was a coalition of industrialist of the Century and traditional landowners. Benjamin Disraeli (1804 – 1881) through the party advocated for a return to the idealised view of a corporate or organic society people were bound by duty to each other. In the 20th Century, Lord Randolph Church, son of Winston Churchill advocated for the Tory principles of the original Conservative party. Margaret Thatcher (1925 – 2013) introduced a dramatic shift of advocating for free-market economic policies, which was more of classical liberalism than classical conservatism.
Thatcherism is also rife in other Conservative parties in Europe, with the support leaning towards market-oriented policies, the European Union and an active military. The modern proponents are Christian Democratic parties, which originated from the Catholic parties of the late 19th and early 20th century, the business community and white collar professionals.
In America, Conservatism presently refers to right-wing politics which advocate for the preservation of personal wealth and private ownership (Capitalism) with an emphasis on self-reliance and individualism. Conservatives are more punitive towards criminals; tend to be ethnocentric, hostile towards minorities including sexual minorities because of belief of strict application of orthodox religious beliefs. It is as a result of an alliance between classical liberals and social conservatives of the 19th? and early 20th? Century. It entails a myriad of political ideologies including fiscal conservatism, economic liberalism, libertarianism, social conservatism, religious conservatism and bio-conservatism a small military, strong state government and a moderate central government. The U.S Republican Party, exemplified by Ronald Reagan and George Bush I, represented it.
Types of Conservatism
There are seven variations to the conservative ideology. One is Cultural conservatism, which advocates for the preservation of the heritage or culture including language traditions and cultural practices that are intentionally passed through generation. Social Conservatism, considered a sub-group of cultural conservatism is the preservation of traditional social practices including marriage ceremonies and heterosexual relationships. Two is Religious Conservatives that advocates for the conservation of religious teachings through example or by legal means, requiring the practice or reservation of a Christian ideal. Paleo-Conservatism is the ideology present in Bible Belt states including North and South Carolina, Kentucky, Georgia among others which advocated for classical federalism, and preservation of religious heritage. It opposes illegal migration, authoritarianism, affirmative action programs and social democracy.
Fiscal conservatism advocates for prudence in government spending and national debt. Neo-Conservatism is the new Conservative movement advocating for free trade, free markets economics, and foreign policies. Bio Conservatism advocates for a measured approach to biotechnological transformation such as cloning, genetic editing among others, especially it’s potential in altering the social order.