conservatism's raison d'etre

Conservatism with respect to social issues has been proven historically not to work for the simple reason that it is embedded in the idea that societies shouldn’t grow or evolve. For example, attitudes towards women’s rights and divorce were positively arcane at the turn of the 20th century and yet there were massive structural changes which ultimately made things better for society. Women would no longer be held captive to economics and need to marry men they did not love. They began to establish independence in choosing who to partner with. All the while the movement of conservatism would have seen them stay exactly where they were.

Today the issues have changed, and we see sexual and gender identity and racial harmony at the forefront of the fight for liberation and once again conservatism is there putting on the breaks towards progress. No one would dare dream to send women backwards in their gains and interestingly not even conservatives who themselves now benefit from these very improvements.

This is what makes conservatism for its own sake so heinous, it doesn’t necessarily look at all the angles but merely wants to prevent the change from happening to maintain the status quo. If something is proven to be negative for society then it will be eliminated through the trial and error process of wanting to make things better. Time allows for the experimentation which will weed out false concepts but those which are positive will make their way into the public discourse and eventually become adopted.

In the case of homosexual and transgender people there cannot be a negative outcome because allowing tiny marginalized minorities to flourish has no negative effect on the rest of society. There is no contagion present that will change the lives of the majority in a detrimental way although that is not conservatism’s mantra will tell you. Because conservatism as a baseline insists on being cautious and wary of any social change irrespective of whether it is placid or tumultuous.


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