Neither religion nor part of the dogma, the principles of conservatism is rooted more in belief. Although anyone who calls themselves conservative is individual on their own, when it comes to the foundation of principles that make up conservative, they are all the same.
Conservatism is simply a state of mind, a character type, a manner in which an individual looks at social order. It is an attitude, sustained by a body of beliefs, more than anything. A conservative person prefers things to be permanent, and as such, find them more pleasing than those in chaos.
With this said, let’s take a look at the top five principles that reflect what conservatism is today.
Conservatives believe that when it comes to human nature, it is constant. And as such, moral truths are permanent. Through the years, liberal intellectuals have held the belief that conservatives believe, at heart, that all social questions are, in fact, issues of private morality.
The issue of order has been a problem and concern of conservatives since the term conservative politics came into being. A belief governs society in a moral order, including the belief in the sense of right and wrong, as well as individual and personal convictions when it comes to the topics of justice and honor. As such, this makes society a good society.
Through old customs, members of society find peace in the living together. However, those that choose to demolish those customs do much more damage than they will ever know of would have desired. Then, through convention, which is a term that is tossed around and misconstrued significantly in our day and time, we strive to avoid any disputes that pertain to our rights and duties. Law, at its very base, is a body of conventions. Finally, continuity is the continual linking of generations to one another. Continuity is as essential to society as a whole, as it is to an individual, in that without continuity, the perception of life is meaningless. Conservatives are the champions of custom, convention, and continuity, as they are firm believers in the old adage, prefer the devil you do know rather than the devil you don’t.
The conservatives are often the emphasizers of the importance of prescription—those that are established in immemorial usage, so that man’s mind doesn’t venture off track. Today, conservatives argue that we are unlikely to see any new discoveries when it comes to morals, politics, or taste. In such, conservatives believe that the individual is foolish, the as a species is wise. Many believe that our race, as a whole, has garnered prescriptive wisdom that is far greater than any petty private rationality man can hold.
Much like Plato, conservatives believe that prudence is chief amongst all virtues. Any decision made should be weighed by its long-term consequences, rather than the chance of a temporary advantage or popularity. Liberals, conservatives believe, are prone to jump on an objective or idea and run without considering the possible consequences. Providence is slow-moving, whereas the devil is one to hurry. As a whole, conservatives will examine the act, weigh all the possible consequences, and proceed with the best choice.
Conservatism nods its head to long-established social institutions and in general modes of life. They prefer to distinguish from the liberal’s radical take on most any idea or subject. Conservatism believes, for any civilizations to survive and prosper, there must be orders and classes, along with conditions of materialism and inequality. For conservatives, there are only two forms of equality—that as set forth by our maker, and that presented in a court of law. Any other attempts to add to this only serves to bring about social stagnation.
Unlike its counterpart, which believes that the only order is that of the temporal order and that material needs are the single needs conservatism takes a much higher road. The principals of conservatism are rooted in the moral order, the constant of our human nature, and the belief in those duties of a higher spiritual nature.