If you were to ask most people today what it means to be a conservative, the answer would probably be that conservatism is what Republicans support. On the flip side, the same question about liberalism would be what the Democrats support. And, as a society, this is how many have come to view the conservative party.
In today’s society, politics is not as crucial of a part of most American’s lives as it has been in the past. The views and ideas of those on either side of the party are only relevant to those who find themselves especially interests in politics as a whole.
The main problem with the Republican party, and conservatives as a whole, is that they do not know what they stand for, other than boosting up Trump and opposing anything that the Democrats offer. They seem, more often than not, to no longer have any ideas of their own.
With the recent events of the impeachment, many conservatives starting asking themselves what it really means to be a conservative this day in age. For most, the feeling is that conservatism plays a role of intervention, if you will, in our overall economy. Many believe it is the role of conservatism to have a hand in everything from big tech to child care even to trade.
Although it is true that Trump has rallied for and achieved the handing out of more aid to the farmers of our country than Obama ever offered, there is also the fact that Trump’s trade wars somewhat mitigated the help.
Some wholeheartedly believe conservatives should play a significant role in the arena of ideas. However, it is fair in saying that many liberals believe in this doctrine as well.
For all its rights and wrongs, its wins and losses, conservatism’s roots, and birth are in conservation. Roger Scruton, deemed a great conservative philosopher, once said: “Conservatism starts from a sentiment that all mature people can readily share; the sentiment that good things are easily destroyed, but not easily created.” This sentiment has become and remains as the pure heart of what traditional conservatism is, while at the same time not constrained or wallowed down in ideology or partisanship.
Many conservatives, although they would be lax in admitting it, are either anti-left or anti-state. A through and through conservative can fall on either side of the line. Conservatives ascribe to the theory of letting people live their lives in the manner they want to live them, with the caveat that at the same time, they respect the fundamental civil rights.
At the core of conservatism is that top-down planning that, when enacted out of Washington, can and will work. Years ago, the champions of this belief and this method were mainly those situated on the left. However, this belief has shifted over to the right. It will be interesting to see, if in the coming years, that the idea of top-down planning will function any better for the right than it has in the past for the left.
With all this said, what it means to be a conservative in 2020, is not particularly what it meant to be only fifty years ago, or even a short decade ago. It seems that most individuals have their own ideas about conservatism, and those who claim to be conservatives will often contradict the preset notion of what the party is. However, a true conservative will present with those attitudes and beliefs lined out above if they are to be true to the party.