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What Is Conservatism?

This is a question that eludes many people, including conservatives.  It is often incorrectly described as an ideology.  It is not an ideology, which is an adherence to a rigid set of beliefs regardless of human experience.  An ideology must ignore conservative principals.

Conservatism is a way of life.  A conservative treats others with respect, and will never infringe upon one's life, liberty, or property.

An exemplary conservative does not exist.  Conservatism is not shipped with an instruction manual.  It consists of natural law, God's law, i.e, "do unto others", and common sense.

Conservatism is the absence of government control over the individual.  The individual decides how he defines the states' power in protecting his liberties.  Every human being has God given inalienable rights.

Conservative principals have been honed by years of human experience, based on reason, history, thinking, reading, observation, and traditions. 

The conservative believes in the social contract that binds a healthy and working harmonic society, even something as innocuous as accepting which side of the road to drive on.  We embrace change, but slow, adaptive change, as opposed to the cultural disruptions anti-conservatism demands.  We favor the preservation of established customs, as values agreed upon edicts a binding society.

Free market principals are sacred to conservatives, where voluntary agreement or exchange occurs between parties without government intrusion.  A free market is the foundation of a free, peaceful society.

The doctrine of the equality of mankind and the desirability of political and economic and social equality helps define the conservative.  A conservative believes in egalitarianism where color or race plays no part in a conservative's life.  There is no such thing as "special rights", as such a failing would result in someone else's liberties being trampled.

Conservatism is not a political party, and especially not defined as a modern day Republican.

Another route we might consider for examples of conservatism, such as life lessons, is "lead by example", or be the best you can be in a particular job in life. Even with the most menial of jobs, always be the best, because for one, you never knows who's watching, and there is more than a 50/50 chance it will open the next door in your life.

If for nothing else, personal integrity (honesty), satisfaction in knowing you did your best. This is what allows a conservative to always take the high road over that of the unprincipled liberal.