Conservatism: a prelude to an introduction

For those inclined to use the word “conservative”: without thinking carefully, “my last post”: expresses a classically conservative sentiment. I’ve just said Japan should keep things the way they are, because the _status quo_ is better than the alternative, according to my values. I’d call myself a libertarian overall, but I can still hold politically conservative views like this. It’s worthwhile to note that whether or not you’re politically conservative will usually depend on the context you find yourself in: if you love freedom of all kinds, you’ll be a political radical under a totalitarian regime (like Hitler’s Germany, or the USSR), but a political conservative under a liberal one, like the USA of the 18th and 19th centuries (leaving the issue of slavery aside for the sake of argument–not that it wasn’t a major hole in pre-civil-war America’s claim to be a liberal state). Arguably, Republicans like George Bush and the bible-bashers who love him don’t deserve to be called politically conservative, since they have little respect for their nation’s political traditions.

On the other hand, there’s also social conservatism, which tends to produce actions such as the LDP’s desire to revise the constitution in order to do such things as prohibit cultural products that lead youth away from time-honoured (but irrational) prejudices, like a preference for sexual coyness. This is the kind of conservatism people often think of when they do things like call people “rightwing [sic] jocks”:, and which I, frankly, find abhorrent. People can exhibit both kinds of conservatism at once, but they don’t _have_ to exhibit one because they exhibit the other. For example, while the Japanese LDP is socially conservative on issues like censorship, their move to alter the constitution is a radical one, since it goes beyond existing norms.

There’s nothing good or bad about political conservatism or radicalism as such. However it’s definitely true that political conservatives are not so enamoured by the new as political radicals in general, and so long as they don’t _fear_ the new simply because of its newness, political conservatives will then be able to more clearly evaluate the merits and deficiencies of the status quo, since they aren’t dedicated to changing it for change’s sake. This is a good thing.

Author: Ben Hourigan

Ben Hourigan is a novelist from Melbourne, Australia. His books Kiss Me, Genius Boy and My Generation’s Lament are Amazon category bestsellers, and are available wherever good books are sold online. Ben also works as an editor, copywriter, and self-publishing consultant at his own firm, Hourigan & Co. For news and book release updates, sign up to his email newsletter.