How do I know if I'm a conservative or not?
If you believe that the freedom of individuals is of paramount importance, and that people and organizations function better and more efficiently without Government tampering, then you are definitely rolling down the calm wave of conservatism, buddy.
Really, conservatism is defined by a series of basic canons, and different factions of conservatism just branch off of those tenants in different ways. I will refer to Russell Kirk’s version of the canon, because I believe it is the most clear. I included some definitions where necessary.
- A belief in a transcendent order (does not have to be God or some version of God — Can be any kind of power that you see as larger than yourself. Important not for spiritual reasons, but because there has to be something larger than Government that gives human beings their value);
- An affection for the variety and mystery of human life (that people are awesome, diverse, and unique. But despite all of this, they are still human, and deserve to be treated as such);
- A belief in societal order;
- A belief that property and freedom are closely linked (Government should not be able to help itself to your property. With your own possessions and rights to those possessions comes many other rights);
- Faith in convention (if it aint broke, don’t fix it, and if it’s fixed, don’t break it!);
- An understanding that innovation must be tied to existing traditions (no social experimentation, or social products with unknown results. See number 5!)
All this being said, I certainly hope you are considering exploring conservative culture! It is an exciting, diverse political ideology that welcomes all and puts value on continuous learning and development.
Thank you so much for your question!
Numbers 5 and 6 are the only things making this list specifically conservative, rather than simply libertarian. But so long as you’re not clinging to conventions and traditions that are broken and not being fixed (I’ll leave it to you to figure out what those are), I see very little difference.
It’s hard to find a label that fits, though. “Liberal”, “conservative”, and “libertarian” are all words that could describe my beliefs, but all have associations that I don’t want stuck onto me.