by: Brent Smith for World Net Daily
Many of us, like me, refer to ourselves as conservatives. And that means something – something different to almost everyone. Ask a dozen people what a conservative is, and you’ll get a dozen varied answers.
This is why it’s really not proper to just call oneself a conservative.
Because everything these days seems to boil down to politics, the term conservative invariably evokes an emotional response, much like the term liberal, or progressive.
But if we strip away the politics, a conservative is just one who wishes to conserve, or preserve. Conservative is broadly defined as one who is disposed to preserve existing conditions, institutions, etc., or to restore traditional ones, or to limit change.
So we see that the term conservative is much too broad. By using this broad-brush definition, one could say that many of today’s radical left-wing groups are conservative, as they wish to restore the radical traditions of the 1960s, or even Soviet-style communism. We could accurately claim this of any person or group that desires a return to long-lost traditions – good or bad.
For it to be properly or more precisely defined as we “conservatives” wish, the word must therefore be bound or affixed to another – a prefix, suffix, or adjective, such as constitutional, originalist, fiscal, or social.
So which one is most appropriate? I suppose it depends on who you ask and how they wish to define themselves.
We’ve all heard people describe themselves as fiscally conservative and socially liberal. For the average Joe or Jolene, this may be adequate, but it doesn’t work within the political spectrum. It simply can’t.
A politician can’t separate social policy from fiscal policy, as they are intertwined. Setting fiscal policy will always have some sort of social component. Take, for example, the great debate over whether to stop government funding of Planned Parenthood. That’s a social policy measure that also has a fiscal component, or vice versa, depending on one’s motivation. For this reason, many conservatives, myself included, think these descriptors are just a dodge or cop-out by slick politicians.