The term “conservative” is one that is bandied about a lot in discussing politics but rarely ever defined. Normally a conservative is someone who is resistant to change, someone who wishes to conserve the status quo. That’s why hard-line Communists who opposed Mikhail Gorbachev’s efforts at glasnost in the Soviet Union were described as conservatives. They sought to conserve the status quo within the USSR. But obviously there was no common ground between those conservatives and conservatives in the USA.
In the United States today, conservative is used in a number of different ways. Often conservative is used as a synonym for Republican, even though many politicians within the Republican Party can’t realistically be said to hold beliefs that can be described as conservative. Sometimes you’ll also hear the term “social conservative” or “economic conservative,” used to refer to people who are religious or who are pro-business respectively. And very often you’ll come across people who call themselves conservatives simply because they support a strong military.
As the US continues its march towards the left, those who hold views that traditionally might have been described as conservative aren’t really conservatives anymore. After all, there’s not much of current American society that conservatives want to conserve. Do conservatives want to conserve abortion on demand, a massively wasteful welfare state, government redefinition of marriage, and continued large-scale immigration from the Third World? No, conservatives today don’t want any of those things. More and more, conservatives are nostalgic for the past, wishing to return to a time when men were men, women were women, and common sense was actually common.
If anything, true conservatism advocates adherence to the Constitution and the Founding Fathers at the federal and state levels and to traditional ways of life at the personal level. Conservatism opposes big government in all its forms, believing that government works best when it’s least involved in people’s lives and most responsive to its constituents. More and more today, being a true conservative means being revolutionary, seeking to overturn the dominant left-wing relativist orthodoxy that pervades academia, the media, and the public school system. Conservatives have to embrace that revolutionary attitude just as the Founders did if they want to stand any chance of success in the world today.