Conservatism is whereby an individual, a group of people, or a society tries to retain their traditional values, customs and beliefs. Through conservatism, the people in question are not usually open to new ways of lives and cultures. Conservatives usually protect their religious rights and beliefs, political traditions, family and social hierarchy, property ownership rights, leadership, dress code, and many other components of lifestyle from external influence. In extreme cases, some conservatives strongly oppose modern ways of handling issues, especially technology, religion, and dressing. Different conservative societies in different parts of the world are struggling to uphold their respective traditions.
Forms of Conservatism
There are several forms of conservatism. They mostly differ on what in particular the society is trying to uphold and conserve. Some of the common forms of conservatism are discussed below.
Religious conservative is common to almost all the religions in the world. They seek to conserve and protect the teachings from the holy books like the Bible and the Koran. Religious conservatism usually opposes most of the modern habits that are contrary to their teachings. These habits include abortion, fornication, homosexuality, and drug abuse
Cultural and Social Conservatism
Cultural and social conservatism aims to protect cultural and societal traditions that a society values and upholds. Most societies seek to uphold their customs by opposing “foreign” cultural practices such as prostitution, atheism, uncensored pornography, indecency and euthanasia. Cultural and social conservatives seek mainly to preserve traditional family values.
National conservatism usually seeks to protect the interests of a particular nation. National conservatives seek to protect the natural law of their nation, monarchy in case the country is monarchical, immigration rights, and general rights of the citizens
Fiscal conservatism is an economic philosophy based on the meaningful government spending with the focus on prudence. It discouraged the overspending by the government that may drive a country into large debts which likely trickles down to the tax payer.
Merits of Conservatism
Conservatism goes a long way in protecting people’s cultural values. Conservatives do not blindly follow new trends, which at times might be harmful to both the individuals and the society at large. Some of the cultural values can get erased from a community if not conserved, but with conservatism, most of the values are likely to be passed on to next generations. Conservatism gives members of a particular society a sense of belonging and patriotism. Quick change and acceptance of new values tend to make people forget their own values.
Demerits of Conservatism
Some of the values upheld by a society tend to be oppressive to some members. For instance, a society that insists to have the patriarchal system of leadership may oppress women and denies them some of their rights. Conservatism could probably make one to miss out on the positive side of the modern aspect of life.