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Fierce Conservative: What is a Conservative?


A blogumn by Brian Pelfrey

Every decision you make is, in some sense, an economic one. Therefore, political differences tend to be economic disagreements, so I will confine the argument to these.

A Conservative is a person who defends that which is against that which is coming, perceiving invasion rather than progress. A Liberal tends to assail that which is with that which is coming, intending progress rather than aggression.

There was a time when wealth was a thing to be inherited, plundered, or received as a favor; and those who possessed it did so by bloodline, warfare, or political influence. Conservatives protected the status of the privileged, while Liberals argued for the upward economic mobility of the lower classes.

With Capitalism came the era when wealth could be created. This led to political democracy, social mobility, and a higher living standard. Capitalism was a handmaid to freedom. In this new economy, the Old Liberals became conservatives, and defended the right of the talented to enjoy the benefits of their ability, calling it “Meritocracy” (influence wielded by the deserving). Liberalism shifted also. Liberals were now those who declared that wealth distribution ought never to be based upon ability, but upon human need. They wished to replace meritocracy with “Social Justice”.

Today, Conservatives view the Soviet system as the ultimate distillation of social justice, resulting in mass murder and death by starvation under a brutal tyranny. Liberals do not want to resurrect the USSR; they merely wish that the more gifted would fulfill a charitable human debt to the underprivileged. The reason Conservatives defend the meritocracy against the onslaught of “Charit-ocracy” is the fear that the Soviet plague will revisit us in spite of the best of Liberal intentions.

Conservatives see the majority voting itself money from the pockets of the capable. This means wealth distribution not through moral superiority, but by the naked power of numerical superiority. Thus, Liberals are now the Old Style Conservatives, defending wealth–perhaps not by inheritance, but certainly by plunder and political connection.

And Conservatives? They are now the Old Style Liberals, speaking up for those who have ability, but who find themselves outnumbered and outvoted.


Photo Credit: Kevin Dooley