I know many conservative Americans (some in real life, but mostly on the internet) that are very patriotic - much more than many of their liberal counterparts. On the other hand, these same people, again much more than their liberal counterparts, are very hateful of the government and anything that could infringe on their freedom.

These two positions seem to contradict, so what's going on here? How can you on one hand be extremely passionate about your country, but then be anti-government? Note that this feeling of anti-government is not directed towards any single government that exists at a particular point in time, but a feeling that is seemingly directed towards the concept of governance and control as a whole.

Ans that does not seem to make sense. If you "love" your country, what exactly is it that you love, if not the government and the rules and structures and culture that it endorses, the history that it establishes, and the people that it protects? What else is there to define a country? Dirt? Apple pie?

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    What are you asking? "What constitutes a country"? "How do (specific subgroups of) american conservatives value their country"? or "What is the ideal government structure according to (specific subgroups of) american conservatives"? – DonFusili Sep 12 at 13:31
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    I don't have any surveys to back this up, but I suspect than when most people (regardless of political orientation) say "I love my country" they usually mean "I love people like myself". – Fizz Sep 12 at 13:42
  • 55
    This is not a good question, as it depends on many questionable assumptions (or, at best, some very poor choices of words). "The country" and "the government" are not the same thing. "Being opposed to" is close enough to "wishing for a different system", but very different from "hating". I suggest that you revisit your assumptions. As it stands now, this seems more like a rant than an actual question. – SJuan76 Sep 12 at 14:01
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    @SJuan76 why does that make it a bad question? He doesn't understand how a political group reconciles a seeming contradiction. We can objectively answer that with quotes and help him understand that group's motivation better. That seems like what this site was made for to me. – lazarusL Sep 12 at 14:26
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    Please define "patriotic". Is the measure of someone's patriotism the number of flag decals they put on their car, the volume of the outraged noise they make whenever someone suggests the country isn't perfect, or the extent to which they sacrifice wealth and effort in order to try to make the country a better place for all its citizens? – Shadur Sep 13 at 9:43

15 Answers 15

Conservatives don't see the government as the "the country." To quote Ronald Reagan in his inaugural address

So, as we begin, let us take inventory. We are a nation that has a government—not the other way around. And this makes us special among the nations of the Earth.

Conservative love of their nation is independent of its current government.

Looking at a speech from Ted Cruz

The idea that -- the revolutionary idea that this country was founded upon, which is that our rights don’t come from man. They come from God Almighty. And that the purpose of the Constitution, as Thomas Jefferson put it, is to serve as chains to bind the mischief of government.

The incredible opportunity of the American dream, what has enabled millions of people from all over the world to come to America with nothing and to achieve anything. And then the American exceptionalism that has made this nation a clarion voice for freedom in the world, a shining city on a hill.

Conservatives think what makes America special is that its government is restrained. The American dream doesn't come from what government does, it comes from what its government can't do. What's great about America is what its people do, its government often just gets in the way.

The other key component to understanding this issue is that conservatives in America are not anti-government. When it comes to national security they are very pro-government. Much of the celebration of patriotism in America is centered around its armed forces who conservatives see as constantly making heroic sacrifices for the freedom of Americans and people around the world. For an example of how conservatives see the armed forces, see this speech by George W. Bush or basically any other speech by a conservative American politican.

We have seen the character of this new generation of American armed forces. We've seen their daring against ruthless enemies and their decency to an oppressed people. Millions of Americans are proud of our military, and so am I. I am honoured to be the commander in chief.

I want to thank everybody in uniform who is here today: thank you for your service, your sacrifice, and your love of America.

When a conservative says he loves America, he's saying he loves the natural human institutions that a limitied government have allowed to grow. He loves the churches, communities, families, and busineses that flourish when they are protected but not controlled. He is grateful to the parts of his government that stay within their limited mandate of protection laid out in the constitution; like the armed forces. When he's upset at the government (as he often is), he's upset at it overreaching its mandate. He's mad because that government action hurts the free society he loves. He doesn't love America because it has the worlds best government, he loves America because a restrained government has led to a flourishing society. He wants to conserve that society by protecting it from misguided government action.

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    Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – Philipp Sep 14 at 16:53

Like others have said, the government is not the country. They are two different things that have some overlap. This is also not unique to the US. Look at people in countries that have had dictators and people rebelled against. They could have easily just left the country instead of fighting, but they loved their country too much to leave it in the hands of said dictator without fighting them. A good example of this is Germans in WW2 that fought (from the shadows) against Hitler.

Finally, most conservatives I know disagree with the government on things, but they don't hate it. Again, disagree and hating something are two different things.

Incidentally, this is why most people I know don't like what Colin Kaepernick is doing so much. They believe that he is disrepecting the country for what he perceives the government is doing.

To many conservatives, the flag represents the country, NOT the government. That is why they take it so personally when people step on the flag, spit on it, burn it, kneel during the anthem, refuse the pledge, attack soldiers (verbally or physically) and other things like that. To them, you are attacking the country itself, not the government. Heck, many of them would be glad to support you in your cause against the government, but you crossed lines when you start attacking the country.

The country is the ideals we want to live up to, and just because the government may not be living up to those ideals, doesn't mean the country itself is bad.

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    Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – Philipp Sep 14 at 16:51
  • Penn and Teller (Mostly Penn, but that's schtick) stated that they could not do a lot of their act if it was not for certain values that are enshrined in the American Constitution... including that one could burn the flag and not fear arrest, because the symbolic nature of such an act outweighs the offense... They then proceed to demonstrate where one can be absolutely patriotic while burning the U.S. Flag. As they put it, the flag was a symbol for an idea and that "While the Flag may be gone, but the Constitution Remains." – hszmv Oct 18 at 16:46

I could be considered a conservative American who is very patriotic but has a fair measure of distaste for this government. Grew up in the Midwest, and joined the United States Navy, becoming third generation military. The best political appellation would be libertarian Constitutional Originalist. Yes, I love my country.

Growing up, I was an avid reader of the Constitution and founding documents. Upon swearing an oath to support and defend the same, I started an even deeper review of surrounding references in how things have transitioned from ratification to now.

The nation wasn't perfect at ratification. The concept of universal equal rights wasn't realized, limited by the compromises to continue slavery and limited spread of suffrage. However, with some miss steps along the way, and nine additional amendments we got closer towards the ideal. Then the Great Depression happened.

In the midst of major economic turmoil, the Federal government took aggressive remedial measures. Much legislation and executive action trying to stop the problem meant resistance from within and from the Supreme Court. It was with the latter the threat was made to stuff the court, increasing it to fifteen seats so the President could get the results he wanted. The court capitulated, and the decisions that followed allowed for the greatest expansion of Federal authority beyond the narrow enumerated powers. United States v Butler, while it was decided against the government, also codified a Hamiltonian view of the Tax clause, creating the General Welfare clause. This led to vast growth in Federal spending. National Labor Relations Board v Jones& Laughlin expanded Commerce clause, letting the Federal government get deeper into the individual businesses. Steward Machine v Davis supported tax power for purposes outside of revenue generation. Finally, Wickard v Fillburn allowed the Federal government to get even deeper into personal decisions.

In addition to the shift of power from the States to the Federal, there is also an unConstitutional shift of power from the Legislature to the Executive and Judicial. J. W. Hampton, Jr. & Co. v. United States eroded the separation of powers, enabling the horrible practice of enabling legislation that Congress uses to transfer legislative power to the unelected bureaucracy of the Executive Branch. Also look to the shift of war powers since 2001, and the horror that is the Authorization for Use of Military Force.

When I say I love my country, but hate my government, this is what I point to. Each of this measures grants the Federal government unproportional power with respect to the influence the individuals have. I'd wager there is a plurality of conservatives that hold similar views, but maybe without the references.

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    There is a bit of an irony for someone who is third generation military to be an originalist, given how strongly the founders opposed standing armies :-P (No offense intended) – David Rice Sep 12 at 21:39
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    @DavidRice While there was a general aversion to the concept of standing armies before the revolution, after the revolution during the Articles of Confederation, and in the debates preceding ratification, the Federalist Papers and associated ratification speeches present the argument for keeping standing armies. Military force is the final option of diplomacy. – Drunk Cynic Sep 12 at 22:07
  • Yet most "Conservatives" are anti-abortion. Something the court has said is a decision allowing a woman to control her own body. Reading your defense of conservatism worries me a bit. – boatcoder Sep 14 at 17:31
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    @boatcoder It is important to understand why the conservative is anti-abortion. For those where it is purely an issue of religious morals, I appreciate their feelings but dismiss the argument; subjective morals aren't the basis for good law. For those where it comes down a question of individual libertiess, there is an honest question of when the unborn transitions form a parasitic growth to a mass of cells that should be viewed as a human life. There is a point in the gestation period where abortion should become illegal; I don't know for certain where it is. – Drunk Cynic Sep 14 at 18:02
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    I'd like to add that abortion can be used as a form of eugenics which has been shown to be detrimental to the health of a population. Another conservative argument is that we do not know the full effects of allowing unrestricted abortion. It is so progressive that it has the chance of becoming regressive. Furthermore, one must also consider the opinions of the father, who is also the parent of the child. A woman has control over her body, but the child may not be considered her body after a certain point. – Shadowfax Sep 15 at 9:34

Conservatives, for better or worse, believe in the American Dream. That if we're given the right to 'Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness', we have all the tools we need in order to forge a life whose quality depends almost solely on one's willingness to work hard and sacrifice. This is by design. We were founded by Puritans, who had a very similar worldview: that idle hands were the devil's plaything, and those who are idle are less worthy of earthly reward.

So work=gain, and wealth=testament to past work, almost as a fundamental law. Enter: the government. The government has the interests of everybody in mind (even the slackers), and thus can't help but screw things up for those who are living the virtuous (hard-working) life. It takes away taxes from one's hard-earned money to give to other people. In fact, it takes MORE money from the more virtuous (wealthy)! It tells me that there are only certain kinds of hard work I'm allowed to do, and certain ways I have to do it (labor and environmental standards). Hell, it even forces what used to be free labor (one's children) to spend all their time in a school that indoctrinates them towards this take-care-of-your-neighbor philosophy and away from the ideal of the self-made man. And it even has the audacity to deny the fundamental premise of the American Dream, that we all start out with the same amount (nothing) and gain only by virtue of our industriousness.

So in short, if you believe that rugged individualism and hard work will land anyone in a life of wealth and virtue, the government is necessarily an impediment to one's path.

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    Note of possibly-needed clarification for readers: this answer is indeed a rosy and oversimplified version of a subset of conservative ideals, but it is only slightly oversimplified. I have met a great many other conservatives who roughly believe this, though they probably wouldn't say it so clearly without including caveats this answer leaves out. This answer (I think) isn't claiming individualism and hard work will land anyone in a life of wealth; merely, that if one believes that, they are likely to dislike someone taking wealth from a 'successful' person and given it to 'lazy' people. – HammerN'Songs Sep 12 at 21:15
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    I am not advocating for this position, just leading the reader from 'if you believe x, then here's how you get to y'. – Carduus Sep 13 at 12:50

The government is not the same as the nation - though it is a part of it. As you mention, there's also the shared culture, the shared history, the communities that it is made of, even non-government institutions. Those things can all be appreciated and supported without supporting the government. Even more importantly, any particular President/Congress/Supreme Court isn't the same as the government in the abstract - I can admire and love the Constitution without loving the way it's being implemented. I can even support the government while not supporting the administration - I can think that the EPA is really important and does good work while feeling that the current head of the EPA is undermining its mission.

As a moderate of conservative leaning, I find that the phrase often used to deride patriotism is that they are people who believe "My Country Right or Wrong." This phrase is often attributed to Senator Carl Shurz in a famous 1871 Senate floor speech (though the sentiment was uttered well before Shurz). However, what is often forgotten by the use of the phrase to mock patriotism is that that it wasn't intended to mock Patriotism but defend it. The full statement was "My country Right or Wrong; If Right to be kept Right; If Wrong, to be set Right." In essence, Shurz expressed the idea that one could love their country and take pride in it, while being critical of how the country was being incorrectly wrong. While at first paradoxical seeming, the phrase is consistent in that a patriot would want what they feel is best for their country... if the country is moving in a wrong direction, than it must be righted... it's a core belief espoused in better words in the Declaration of Independence as well as the Constitution... that is, the Constitution replaces the Articles of Confederation and fixes the problems that the Articles introduced into the nation... as well as addressed abuses they perceived were common among Governments of the day.

There is some interesting data to back this up too. A recent poll by Gallup noted that for the first time since they started asking this question, a minority of Americans who answered their annual Fourth Of July released poll "Are you Proud to be an American?" with "Extremely Proud" in the minority, the first time that occurred in the 18 years the poll was conducted. What they found was that among Democrats, the numbers of Extremely Proud responses dropped from a five year high in 2013 (56%) to a low of 42% of all Democrats (though it should be noted, extreme pride was declining from this point onward... the 2016 election results only added fuel to the fire... they weren't wholly responsible for the down-ward trend.). The Republican Response had jumped from 71% in 2013 to 74% in the same period... with the margin at a +- of 3% and the low point being 68% in 2015 and 2016, it could be said that Republicans remained ardent patriots despite who was in charge of the Government. And Republicans really did not like Obama.

When asked about political ideology, Conservatives were even more stalwart. Between 2013-2018, conservatives pretty much stayed consistent with 65% in 2013 and 2018 and no year where the variance changed out of a +- 3% range of those figures. Liberals fell from 51% to 23% in the same time period and 2013 was the all time high.

It would therefor be reasonable, that conservatives subscribe the full definition of Patriotism, as given by Shurz: That it is their pride in their country that motivates their complaints about their government, and not love (or lack) of their government that motivates their pride in country.

Of course if you reduce everything to loving or hating your government, it doesn't make sense. Most people don't actually see it that way.

You can be patriotic and love your country and its people, without loving the current government's actions. If a leader ends up being elected whose actions (through incompetence or malice) hurt the country, it would make sense for the patriot to side with the country against the bad leader, rather than with the bad leader against the country. They are aren't called leaderots, after all. Generally, if you love your country, it is not a great leap to want it to be governed in the best possible way. So if you see a part of the government that's running poorly, you would criticize and want to reform it. Criticizing the government does not contradict patriotism (love of one's country). Even criticism of one's country does not contradict it, if the criticism is motivated by genuine desire to make it better. You wouldn't say you don't love your son because you think he can get better grades if he studies more, would you?

Even if patriotism somehow implied loving the government, not all conservatives favor low taxes or small government. Even among libertarians, only a minority would want to actually abolish the government. You can't really say any significant number of them hates the government. They mostly feel that the US government has a great foundation that would work really well if only a few unnecessary additions were removed. For instance, you could say the postal service isn't really doing a good job as a government entity, and government should stop wasting tax money on it and leave deliveries to private parcel services. This doesn't necessarily mean you hate the government, you can hate a part of it that you think isn't working. No mystery there.

Looking a bit closer, you will find that while conservatives may ostensibly say they hate "the government", what they really mean is that they hate parts of the government that supposedly has a lot of liberal bias. Other parts, which don't seem to have this bias, are not hated, and even loved. For example, most (not all) conservatives have a very positive opinion of government organizations like the military and police, which themselves have a conservative culture and also benefit many conservatives directly (by providing jobs and safety). Meanwhile they might hate others like the department of education because it has a more liberal culture and makes life difficult for conservatives. Really, most conservatives don't hate the government - they just want the government on their side. The exception is libertarians, who regard government in general as a more or less necessary evil, but they are a small minority (and often not that patriotic).

Note that this feeling of anti-government is not directed towards any single government that exists at a particular point in time, but a feeling that is seemingly directed towards the concept of governance and control as a whole.

You are describing here an anarchist, not a conservative. American conservatives are rarely anarchists, and as I explained above, don't hate the concept of governance. They are concerned with a good government (from their point of view) being corrupted into a bad one. Pretty much any sane person would have such a concern, except very radical anarchists. It's just that what constitutes a good government may differ.

If you "love" your country, what exactly is it that you love, if not the government and the rules and structures and culture that it endorses, the history that it establishes, and the people that it protects? What else is there to define a country? Dirt? Apple pie?

Usually, if you love your country, that means you love its people, its land and its culture. That seems to be how it is most commonly understood. Culture here is a broad term, which includes religion, history, language and apple pie. If the government is in line with the people and culture, then you would love the government too. If the government goes against them, you would hate it.

  • Answers are expected to be factual and backed-up. Please edit to include references which show that the central claims of this post are true. – indigochild Sep 28 at 6:41

I think the missing piece is the document that defines the relationship that US citizens have with their government: the US Constitution. It's only a few dozen pages long!

The Constitution's purpose, the way I understand it, is to restrict the power of federal government as it synthesizes our arrangement about what federal government must do. So there is no contradiction if a person says, "The United States is the best kind of country" and also says "The current federal government is the worst federal government we've ever had."

Here, just for fun I'll paste the US Constitution in this answer.

 (Preamble) 

 We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect
 Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the
 common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings
 of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish
 this Constitution for the United States of America. 

Article I (Article 1 - Legislative) 

Section 1

 All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of
 the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of
 Representatives. 

Section 2

 1: The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen
 every second Year by the People of the several States, and the
 Electors in each State shall have the Qualifications requisite for
 Electors of the most numerous Branch of the State Legislature.

 2: No Person shall be a Representative who shall not have attained to
 the Age of twenty five Years, and been seven Years a Citizen of the
 United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of
 that State in which he shall be chosen.

 3: Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the
 several States which may be included within this Union, according to
 their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the
 whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a
 Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all
 other Persons.2  The actual Enumeration shall be made within three
 Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States,
 and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they
 shall by Law direct. The Number of Representatives shall not exceed
 one for every thirty Thousand, but each State shall have at Least one
 Representative; and until such enumeration shall be made, the State of
 New Hampshire shall be entitled to chuse three, Massachusetts eight,
 Rhode-Island and Providence Plantations one, Connecticut five,
 New-York six, New Jersey four, Pennsylvania eight, Delaware one,
 Maryland six, Virginia ten, North Carolina five, South Carolina five,
 and Georgia three.

 4: When vacancies happen in the Representation from any State, the
 Executive Authority thereof shall issue Writs of Election to fill such
 Vacancies.

 5: The House of Representatives shall chuse their Speaker and other
 Officers; and shall have the sole Power of Impeachment. 

Section 3

 1: The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators
 from each State, chosen by the Legislature thereof,3 for six Years;
 and each Senator shall have one Vote.

 2: Immediately after they shall be assembled in Consequence of the
 first Election, they shall be divided as equally as may be into three
 Classes. The Seats of the Senators of the first Class shall be vacated
 at the Expiration of the second Year, of the second Class at the
 Expiration of the fourth Year, and of the third Class at the
 Expiration of the sixth Year, so that one third may be chosen every
 second Year; and if Vacancies happen by Resignation, or otherwise,
 during the Recess of the Legislature of any State, the Executive
 thereof may make temporary Appointments until the next Meeting of the
 Legislature, which shall then fill such Vacancies.4

 3: No Person shall be a Senator who shall not have attained to the Age
 of thirty Years, and been nine Years a Citizen of the United States,
 and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State for
 which he shall be chosen.

 4: The Vice President of the United States shall be President of the
 Senate, but shall have no Vote, unless they be equally divided.

 5: The Senate shall chuse their other Officers, and also a President
 pro tempore, in the Absence of the Vice President, or when he shall
 exercise the Office of President of the United States.

 6: The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments. When
 sitting for that Purpose, they shall be on Oath or Affirmation. When
 the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall
 preside: And no Person shall be convicted without the Concurrence of
 two thirds of the Members present.

 7: Judgment in Cases of impeachment shall not extend further than to
 removal from Office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office
 of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States: but the Party
 convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment,
 Trial, Judgment and Punishment, according to Law. 

Section 4

 1: The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and
 Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature
 thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such
 Regulations, except as to the Places of chusing Senators.

 2: The Congress shall assemble at least once in every Year, and such
 Meeting shall be on the first Monday in December,5 unless they shall
 by Law appoint a different Day. 

Section 5

 1: Each House shall be the Judge of the Elections, Returns and
 Qualifications of its own Members, and a Majority of each shall
 constitute a Quorum to do Business; but a smaller Number may adjourn
 from day to day, and may be authorized to compel the Attendance of
 absent Members, in such Manner, and under such Penalties as each House
 may provide.

 2: Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings, punish its
 Members for disorderly Behaviour, and, with the Concurrence of two
 thirds, expel a Member.

 3: Each House shall keep a Journal of its Proceedings, and from time
 to time publish the same, excepting such Parts as may in their
 Judgment require Secrecy; and the Yeas and Nays of the Members of
 either House on any question shall, at the Desire of one fifth of
 those Present, be entered on the Journal.

 4: Neither House, during the Session of Congress, shall, without the
 Consent of the other, adjourn for more than three days, nor to any
 other Place than that in which the two Houses shall be sitting.


Section 6

 1: The Senators and Representatives shall receive a Compensation for
 their Services, to be ascertained by Law, and paid out of the Treasury
 of the United States.6 They shall in all Cases, except Treason, Felony
 and Breach of the Peace, be privileged from Arrest during their
 Attendance at the Session of their respective Houses, and in going to
 and returning from the same; and for any Speech or Debate in either
 House, they shall not be questioned in any other Place.

 2: No Senator or Representative shall, during the Time for which he
 was elected, be appointed to any civil Office under the Authority of
 the United States, which shall have been created, or the Emoluments
 whereof shall have been encreased during such time; and no Person
 holding any Office under the United States, shall be a Member of
 either House during his Continuance in Office. 

Section 7

 1: All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of
 Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments
 as on other Bills.

 2: Every Bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives and
 the Senate, shall, before it become a Law, be presented to the
 President of the United States; If he approve he shall sign it, but if
 not he shall return it, with his Objections to that House in which it
 shall have originated, who shall enter the Objections at large on
 their Journal, and proceed to reconsider it. If after such
 Reconsideration two thirds of that House shall agree to pass the Bill,
 it shall be sent, together with the Objections, to the other House, by
 which it shall likewise be reconsidered, and if approved by two thirds
 of that House, it shall become a Law. But in all such Cases the Votes
 of both Houses shall be determined by yeas and Nays, and the Names of
 the Persons voting for and against the Bill shall be entered on the
 Journal of each House respectively. If any Bill shall not be returned
 by the President within ten Days (Sundays excepted) after it shall
 have been presented to him, the Same shall be a Law, in like Manner as
 if he had signed it, unless the Congress by their Adjournment prevent
 its Return, in which Case it shall not be a Law.

 3: Every Order, Resolution, or Vote to which the Concurrence of the
 Senate and House of Representatives may be necessary (except on a
 question of Adjournment) shall be presented to the President of the
 United States; and before the Same shall take Effect, shall be
 approved by him, or being disapproved by him, shall be repassed by two
 thirds of the Senate and House of Representatives, according to the
 Rules and Limitations prescribed in the Case of a Bill. 

Section 8

 1: The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties,
 Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common
 Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties,
 Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

 2: To borrow Money on the credit of the United States;

 3: To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several
 States, and with the Indian Tribes;

 4: To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization, and uniform Laws on
 the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States;

 5: To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and
 fix the Standard of Weights and Measures;

 6: To provide for the Punishment of counterfeiting the Securities and
 current Coin of the United States;

 7: To establish Post Offices and post Roads;

 8: To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for
 limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their
 respective Writings and Discoveries;

 9: To constitute Tribunals inferior to the supreme Court;

 10: To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high
 Seas, and Offences against the Law of Nations;

 11: To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make
 Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;

 12: To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that
 Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;

 13: To provide and maintain a Navy;

 14: To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and
 naval Forces;

 15: To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of
 the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;

 16: To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia,
 and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service
 of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the
 Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia
 according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;

 17: To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over
 such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of
 particular States, and the Acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of
 the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority
 over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the
 State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts,
 Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings;—And

 18: To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying
 into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by
 this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any
 Department or Officer thereof. 

Section 9

 1: The Migration or Importation of such Persons as any of the States
 now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by
 the Congress prior to the Year one thousand eight hundred and eight,
 but a Tax or duty may be imposed on such Importation, not exceeding
 ten dollars for each Person.

 2: The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended,
 unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may
 require it.

 3: No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed.

 4: No Capitation, or other direct, Tax shall be laid, unless in
 Proportion to the Census or Enumeration herein before directed to be
 taken.7

 5: No Tax or Duty shall be laid on Articles exported from any State.

 6: No Preference shall be given by any Regulation of Commerce or
 Revenue to the Ports of one State over those of another: nor shall
 Vessels bound to, or from, one State, be obliged to enter, clear, or
 pay Duties in another.

 7: No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of
 Appropriations made by Law; and a regular Statement and Account of the
 Receipts and Expenditures of all public Money shall be published from
 time to time.

 8: No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no
 Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall,
 without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument,
 Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or
 foreign State. 

Section 10

 1: No State shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation;
 grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal; coin Money; emit Bills of
 Credit; make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of
 Debts; pass any Bill of Attainder, ex post facto Law, or Law impairing
 the Obligation of Contracts, or grant any Title of Nobility.

 2: No State shall, without the Consent of the Congress, lay any
 Imposts or Duties on Imports or Exports, except what may be absolutely
 necessary for executing it's inspection Laws: and the net Produce of
 all Duties and Imposts, laid by any State on Imports or Exports, shall
 be for the Use of the Treasury of the United States; and all such Laws
 shall be subject to the Revision and Controul of the Congress.

 3: No State shall, without the Consent of Congress, lay any Duty of
 Tonnage, keep Troops, or Ships of War in time of Peace, enter into any
 Agreement or Compact with another State, or with a foreign Power, or
 engage in War, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent Danger as
 will not admit of delay. 

Article II (Article 2 - Executive) 

Section 1

 1: The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United
 States of America. He shall hold his Office during the Term of four
 Years, and, together with the Vice President, chosen for the same
 Term, be elected, as follows

 2: Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof
 may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of
 Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the
 Congress: but no Senator or Representative, or Person holding an
 Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed
 an Elector.

 3: The Electors shall meet in their respective States, and vote by
 Ballot for two Persons, of whom one at least shall not be an
 Inhabitant of the same State with themselves. And they shall make a
 List of all the Persons voted for, and of the Number of Votes for
 each; which List they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to
 the Seat of the Government of the United States, directed to the
 President of the Senate. The President of the Senate shall, in the
 Presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the
 Certificates, and the Votes shall then be counted. The Person having
 the greatest Number of Votes shall be the President, if such Number be
 a Majority of the whole Number of Electors appointed; and if there be
 more than one who have such Majority, and have an equal Number of
 Votes, then the House of Representatives shall immediately chuse by
 Ballot one of them for President; and if no Person have a Majority,
 then from the five highest on the List the said House shall in like
 Manner chuse the President. But in chusing the President, the Votes
 shall be taken by States, the Representation from each State having
 one Vote; A quorum for this Purpose shall consist of a Member or
 Members from two thirds of the States, and a Majority of all the
 States shall be necessary to a Choice. In every Case, after the Choice
 of the President, the Person having the greatest Number of Votes of
 the Electors shall be the Vice President. But if there should remain
 two or more who have equal Votes, the Senate shall chuse from them by
 Ballot the Vice President.8

 4: The Congress may determine the Time of chusing the Electors, and
 the Day on which they shall give their Votes; which Day shall be the
 same throughout the United States.

 5: No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United
 States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be
 eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be
 eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of
 thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the
 United States.

 6: In Case of the Removal of the President from Office, or of his
 Death, Resignation, or Inability to discharge the Powers and Duties of
 the said Office,9 the Same shall devolve on the VicePresident, and the
 Congress may by Law provide for the Case of Removal, Death,
 Resignation or Inability, both of the President and Vice President,
 declaring what Officer shall then act as President, and such Officer
 shall act accordingly, until the Disability be removed, or a President
 shall be elected.

 7: The President shall, at stated Times, receive for his Services, a
 Compensation, which shall neither be encreased nor diminished during
 the Period for which he shall have been elected, and he shall not
 receive within that Period any other Emolument from the United States,
 or any of them.

 8: Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the
 following Oath or Affirmation:—“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I
 will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States,
 and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the
 Constitution of the United States.” 

Section 2

 1: The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of
 the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when
 called into the actual Service of the United States; he may require
 the Opinion, in writing, of the principal Officer in each of the
 executive Departments, upon any Subject relating to the Duties of
 their respective Offices, and he shall have Power to grant Reprieves
 and Pardons for Offences against the United States, except in Cases of
 Impeachment.

 2: He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the
 Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present
 concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent
 of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and
 Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the
 United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided
 for, and which shall be established by Law: but the Congress may by
 Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think
 proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads
 of Departments.

 3: The President shall have Power to fill up all Vacancies that may
 happen during the Recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which
 shall expire at the End of their next Session. Section 3

 He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the
 State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures
 as he shall judge necessary and expedient; he may, on extraordinary
 Occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them, and in Case of
 Disagreement between them, with Respect to the Time of Adjournment, he
 may adjourn them to such Time as he shall think proper; he shall
 receive Ambassadors and other public Ministers; he shall take Care
 that the Laws be faithfully executed, and shall Commission all the
 Officers of the United States. Section 4

 The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United
 States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and
 Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and
 Misdemeanors. 

Article III (Article 3 - Judicial) 

Section 1

 The judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one
 supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from
 time to time ordain and establish. The Judges, both of the supreme and
 inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behaviour, and
 shall, at stated Times, receive for their Services, a Compensation,
 which shall not be diminished during their Continuance in Office.


Section 2

 1: The judicial Power shall extend to all Cases, in Law and Equity,
 arising under this Constitution, the Laws of the United States, and
 Treaties made, or which shall be made, under their Authority;—to all
 Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls;—to
 all Cases of admiralty and maritime Jurisdiction;—to Controversies to
 which the United States shall be a Party;—to Controversies between two
 or more States;—between a State and Citizens of another State;10
 —between Citizens of different States, —between Citizens of the same
 State claiming Lands under Grants of different States, and between a
 State, or the Citizens thereof, and foreign States, Citizens or
 Subjects.

 2: In all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and
 Consuls, and those in which a State shall be Party, the supreme Court
 shall have original Jurisdiction. In all the other Cases before
 mentioned, the supreme Court shall have appellateJurisdiction, both as
 to Law and Fact, with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as
 the Congress shall make.

 3: The Trial of all Crimes, except in Cases of Impeachment, shall be
 by Jury; and such Trial shall be held in the State where the said
 Crimes shall have been committed; but when not committed within any
 State, the Trial shall be at such Place or Places as the Congress may
 by Law have directed. 

Section 3

 1: Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying
 War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and
 Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the
 Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in
 open Court.

 2: The Congress shall have Power to declare the Punishment of Treason,
 but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or
 Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted. 

Article IV (Article 4 - States' Relations) 

Section 1

 Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts,
 Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State. And the
 Congress may by general Laws prescribe the Manner in which such Acts,
 Records and Proceedings shall be proved, and the Effect thereof.


Section 2

 1: The Citizens of each State shall be entitled to all Privileges and
 Immunities of Citizens in the several States.

 2: A Person charged in any State with Treason, Felony, or other Crime,
 who shall flee from Justice, and be found in another State, shall on
 Demand of the executive Authority of the State from which he fled, be
 delivered up, to be removed to the State having Jurisdiction of the
 Crime.

 3: No Person held to Service or Labour in one State, under the Laws
 thereof, escaping into another, shall, in Consequence of any Law or
 Regulation therein, be discharged from such Service or Labour, but
 shall be delivered up on Claim of the Party to whom such Service or
 Labour may be due. 

Section 3

 1: New States may be admitted by the Congress into this Union; but no
 new State shall be formed or erected within the Jurisdiction of any
 other State; nor any State be formed by the Junction of two or more
 States, or Parts of States, without the Consent of the Legislatures of
 the States concerned as well as of the Congress.

 2: The Congress shall have Power to dispose of and make all needful
 Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property
 belonging to the United States; and nothing in this Constitution shall
 be so construed as to Prejudice any Claims of the United States, or of
 any particular State. 

Section 4

 The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a
 Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against
 Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive
 (when the Legislature cannot be convened) against domestic Violence.
 Article V (Article 5 - Mode of Amendment)

 The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it
 necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the
 Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States,
 shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either
 Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this
 Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of
 the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the
 one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress;
 Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One
 thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first
 and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article; and that
 no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage
 in the Senate. 

Article VI (Article 6 - Prior Debts, National Supremacy, Oaths of Office)

 1: All Debts contracted and Engagements entered into, before the
 Adoption of this Constitution, shall be as valid against the United
 States under this Constitution, as under the Confederation.

 2: This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be
 made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be
 made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme
 Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby,
 any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary
 notwithstanding.

 3: The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members
 of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial
 Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall
 be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no
 religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office
 or public Trust under the United States.

(amendments and transmittals, notes, ratification, etc. including THE BILL OF RIGHTS not shown: click this link)

  • 17
    Can you explain why it is "fun" to quote the Constitution and make your answer so long when a link would be sufficient if anyone was in urgent need to read it ? – Evargalo Sep 12 at 16:12
  • 3
    @Evargalo, I would be glad to explain why this is fun. The US Constitution is so short that it fits in under the StackExchange 30000 character limit (excluding amendments... but they are not more than 10000 additional characters). How many countries do you know of that have such a short authoritative statement of government? – elliot svensson Sep 12 at 16:16
  • 6
    Please don't paste it on SE, then. – Evargalo Sep 12 at 16:21
  • 4
    I've submitted an edit to delete the quote, but it needs to go through peer review. – Monty Harder Sep 12 at 16:54
  • 8
    @MontyHarder, I put it inside a box so it doesn't make your browser crazy. I don't think this is too different from other areas of StackExchange where people are always pasting their code for review. What do you think? – elliot svensson Sep 12 at 17:01

Who says that conservatives in the US hate government? Well, they do, obviously, but if you look closely, there is a lot more rhetoric than substance there. In fact, there are lots of parts of government that American conservatives like quite a lot. The armed forces are one good example; support for that part of government is nearly universal among conservatives. Social security and medicare are also popular with a lot of conservatives, especially those old enough to be served by those programs. Many conservatives support the space program; the last two Republican presidents have at various times promised to return the manned space flight program to its former glory. Law enforcement agencies also enjoy high approval from conservatives, as law and order is a big part of their platform.

Indeed, if you break out the US government's budget by line item, you will find that the overwhelming majority of that spending is on things that conservatives are in favor of, which is why conservative control of government doesn't really translate to reduced government spending. In other words, conservatives are just like any other political faction. They like certain government policies and expenditures, and they dislike others. When they portray themselves as anti-government they usually quietly ignore the parts of government that they approve of. To paraphrase the great British political philosopher John Cleese, Apart from the military, social security, law enforcement, and space program, what has the government ever done for us?

Now, it's true that the branding strategy of conservative political parties has been to position themselves as both patriotic and anti-government, but as we've seen, that's mostly branding; it doesn't really have much basis in policy. So, why did they choose that particular branding? It's because those things resonate with the American people. Across the board, polls show that Americans have strong patriotic feelings, regardless of their political ideology. Likewise, Americans on both sides of the aisle generally dislike government. Congress didn't rack up single-digit approval ratings by being popular with roughly half the electorate. For decades, conservatives have realized this and incorporated it into their branding. Liberals were slower to do so, and have always struggled to project these images while still differentiating themselves from conservatives. Additionally, the conservative lock on patriotism was bolstered by the ascendence of the neoconservative movement around the turn of this century. Neoconservative views on foreign policy lined up nicely with vocal displays of patriotism, and liberals who opposed those policies had a hard time maintaining a patriotic image.

So, to summarize, there are three main things going on here.

  1. The conservative anti-government stance is more rhetoric and branding than actual policy.
  2. Being patriotic and anti-government is good politics because most Americans, across the political spectrum, feel that way.
  3. Conservatives staked out this political high ground early on, and liberals have had a hard time dislodging them from it.
  • 2
    Portions of Conservatives may agree with the spending priorities you've highlighted, not the whole of conservatives. Maybe a plurality – Drunk Cynic Sep 13 at 21:06
  • @DrunkCynic All of the issues I mentioned poll extremely well with conservative voters, are vocally supported in conservative-leaning news media, routinely make it into the party platform, and are generally supported by conservative politicians. That makes them pretty mainstream in my book. Or, to put it another way, suppose liberals just stopped voting. Which of the programs I mentioned do you think would be killed in a government elected only by conservatives? I doubt any of them would. – RPL Sep 14 at 11:33
  • Good answer. You're using conservative as a blanket term for "the American right" as opposed to liberal as a blanket term for "the American left." This isn't wrong and is probably what the OP meant by conservative. This is, however, very different from the more philosophical idea of conservatism as an opposition to radical change. Conservative as a philosophical position doesn't brand itself, political parties use conservative thought and try to mesh that in with their other ideas in an attempt to brand themselves as a broadly appealing (but often inconsistent) platform. – lazarusL Sep 14 at 13:17
  • @lazarusL Thanks. Your observation about the meaning of "conservative" is true, but as you say, the OP's question doesn't really make sense with the more philosophical definition. – RPL Sep 16 at 13:02
  • Answers are expected to be factual and backed-up. Please edit to include references which show that the central claims of this post are true. – indigochild Sep 28 at 6:40

An often overlooked dimension of political conflict is Globalism vs Localism. Globalism, in general, referring to the idea of pushing the purview from the national level to the global level. Localism is the opposite, moving a legislation from the international level to the national one.

On a national level a similar conflict exists: federal vs state (and likewise at the state level: state vs local). The conflict is fundamentally the same in all cases.

does government allow maximum representation by allowing a smaller group of people to decide laws for themselves?

or

does the higher governing body decide laws to maximize compatibility/cooperation among the larger group?

"Hating the government" is often how someone who leans towards "federal" in the "federal vs state" conflict describes the opposition's position. A more accurate description is "opposing federal government power" or in more detail: "Generally wanting the state government to hold legislative powers that the federal government currently holds", an idea that is not incompatible with patriotism.

  • This answer would be improved by backing-up its claims. What is globalism? What is localism? According to who? Who says that the conflict between globalism and localism is the same at the national and state level? How do you know what someone who leans towards the "federal" position would think? – indigochild Sep 28 at 6:31
  • I defined globalism and localism, so I guess "according to gunfulker's description" for anyone who won't look it up. They have the same conflict because they're both questions of whether control should go up the hierarchy or down it, and what I described as conflict was the benefits of both, without regard to whether politics is involved. Why would someone who supports the "federal" position characterize someone who doesn't support the "federal" position as "hating the government"? That's just beyond my depth of research I guess. – gunfulker Sep 28 at 8:08

“The people are masters of both Congress and courts, not to overthrow the Constitution, but to overthrow the men who pervert it!” Abraham Lincoln Feb 12, 1865

Before one can address the question of loving or hating government one must first understand which form is the valid form of government. The USA is a "Constitutional Republic" which means that agents of gov. are "contractually bound" to protect the rights of "Individuals" NOT "groups!" In a "democracy" the opposite is true where 51% oppresses the remaining 49%. In the USA the 51% actually serve in an advisory capacity NOT as a RULING body. This is what the "fight" is all about! The Power to RULE not just ADVISE.

The U.S. Supreme Court, in Scheuer v. Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232, 94 S.Ct. 1683, 1687 (1974) stated: "when a state officer acts under a state law in a manner violative of the Federal Constitution, he "comes into conflict with the superior authority of that Constitution, and he is in that case stripped of his official or representative character and is subjected in his person to the consequences of his individual conduct. The State has no power to impart to him any immunity from responsibility to the supreme authority of the United States."

Judges are prohibited from "legislating from the bench" but must follow the LAW as written and they are not allowed to "interpret" the original contract only the statutes which fall UNDER that "contract" which is The Constitution! Over the decades various political groups have slowly "redefined" WORDS for their own financial and political (power) profit! Shuttlesworth v. Birmingham Al. 373 US 262:(1962) “If the state does convert your right into a privilege and issue a license and a fee for it, you can ignore the license and a fee and engage the right with impunity.”

James Madison's Notes, May 31st, 1787: Legislative intent of "Republican Form of Government": The apprehension of the Framers in regard to “democracy”, is exhibited in Madison's Notes May 31st in which Elbridge Gerry and Roger Sherman, delegates to the Convention from Massachusetts and Connecticut, urged the Convention to create a system which would eliminate "the evils we experience," saying that those "evils . . . flow from the excess of democracy..."

The "Framers" worked very hard to eliminate the application of "democracy" (mob/group think rule) as possible. Very few indeed understand that "President Trump" was not "democratically elected" but in FACT "Constitutionally elected" in accordance with LAW as "contractually required". Remember he is a Businessmen who understands contracts unlike politicians who try to circumvent contracts when it is advantageous to do so. People are not taught to understand the difference between individual RIGHTS and contractual privileges.

Thompson v Smith, 154 SE 583. “When acting to enforce a statute and its subsequent amendments to the present date, the judge of the municipal court is acting as an administrative officer and not in a judicial capacity; courts in administering or enforcing statutes do not act judicially, but merely ministerially.”

Burns v Supp. Ct, SF, 140 Cal. 1 “Ministerial officers are incompetent to receive grants of judicial power from their legislature, their acts in attempting to exercise such powers are necessarily nullities.” Thompson v. Smith, 154 S.E. 579, 583; Keller v. P.E., 261 US 428; F.R.C. v. G.E., 281, U.S. 464. “but merely act as an extension as an agent for the involved agency -- but only in a “ministerial” and not a “discretionary capacity...”

Bacahanan vs. Wanley, 245 US 60; Panhandle Eastern Pipeline Co. vs. State Highway Commission, 294 US 613 "The police power of the state must be exercised in subordination to the provisions of the U.S. Constitution." This exposes the process where your right to drive a car have been converted to a privilege thereby denying your Miranda Rights when stopped so that states and insurance companies can profit. Police Powers are excluded from being used to generate revenue which puts the lives of officers in jeopardy during "collections"!

Legality is the shelter for swindlers and thieves they make for themselves by passing statutes and acts. It is NOT law unless you consent to it. ~ Chris Duke

"The ideal tyranny is that which is ignorantly self-administered by its victims. The most perfect slaves are, therefore, those which blissfully and unawarely enslave themselves.” ~ Charles de Montesquieu Brady v. U.S., 379 U.S. 742 at 748 (1970): "Waivers of Constitutional Rights not only must be voluntary, they must be knowingly intelligent acts, done with sufficient awareness of the relevant circumstances and consequences." (without coercion – which includes economic pressure)

Michigan v. Duke 266 US, 476 Led. At 449: "....Police Power extends only to immediate threats to public safety, health, welfare, etc., California v. Farley Ced. Rpt. 89, 20 CA3d 1032 (1971): “which driving and speeding are not.”

42 U.S. Code § 1994 - Peonage abolished The holding of any person to service or labor under the system known as peonage is abolished and forever prohibited in any Territory or State of the United States; and all acts, laws, resolutions, orders, regulations, or usages of any Territory or State, which have heretofore established, maintained, or enforced, or by virtue of which any attempt shall hereafter be made to establish, maintain, or enforce, directly or indirectly, the voluntary or involuntary service or labor of any persons as peons, in liquidation of any debt or obligation, or otherwise, are declared null and void. (R.S. § 1990.)

Getting people to "authorize" the creation of "insurance schemes and regulation" is to act to restore peonage as a variation of that used by the "Southern democrats!"

The USA is the ONLY nation in the entire world which has "contractually bound" its government in this manner and as such poses a threat to all other nations who abhor the concept of actual freedom.

As one might begin to realize, to understand true "Conservatism" requires understand history and the lessons learned from that journey through time.

It is one thing to make mistakes yet another thing all together to continue to repeat them. This is not all you need to understand to be sure and that is why so many are trying to silence those of us who know and are willing to share that knowledge.

"If you don't know the words you can't ask the questions. If you can't ask the questions you will never find the answers!"

  • 1
    Please add sources for your quotes. – JJJ Sep 15 at 21:13

I love my country. When I say that, I mean that I love the ideas it was founded on. I believe that the ideas, implicit and explicit, in the founding of America were inspired by God to provide for the establishment of human freedom. I believe that we have enjoyed, and continue to enjoy, more freedom than any other organized society in the history of the world, thanks to these ideas.

I think I was listening to Glenn Beck (though it may have been Ben Shapiro) who said that if a dictatorial government were to take control of the United States, it would not remain America. By the same token, if the ideas that are America take root and flourish in any other part of the world, that place is just as much America as is the United States.

These ideas include (and are not limited to) equality of opportunity, personal agency, self governance, individual intrinsic worth, the law of the harvest (you reap what you sow), and the importance of the community being secondary to that of the individual.

I like the way that the LDS (Mormon) texts describe typical human behavior when empowered:

We have learned by sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion. (D&C 121:39)

Humans, when left unchecked, tend to abuse their authority, even when attempting to enforce what they suppose are good, helpful ideas. Taken to the extreme, we tend to be dictators and tyrants. This stifles the ideas aforementioned, and thus stifles freedom. But anarchy doesn't provide a healthy environment for freedom, either.

The Constitution and Declaration of Independence were written with this in mind. To the degree that our government remains within the bounds set forth in the Constitution, it can be good and useful for the pursuit and preservation of freedom. But to the degree that it passes these bounds it will stifle freedom and the ideas that I have claimed to love, and so I must oppose it (notice I didn't say "hate"). My allegiance will never be to any man, woman, leader, or organization, but to God and to the freedom of His children.

  • I'll try to find the Beck quote later. – The Ledge Sep 16 at 21:02
  • " I love my country, but sometimes it loves me back :( " - one of my Russian internet friends. – gunfulker Sep 18 at 4:08
  • Answers here are expected to be factual, rather than personal opinion. This is an insightful explanation of how you view the world, rather than a factual answer. Maybe you could frame it to explain why your perspective is valuable evidence here(if you feel that it is)? – indigochild Sep 28 at 6:30

I think that much of the differences in the answers already given are caused by the use of the term conservative as a shorthand for right-wing. These are not the same thing.

Merriam-Webster defines conservatism as: a. disposition in politics to preserve what is established. b. a political philosophy based on tradition and social stability ... c. the tendency to prefer an existing or traditional situation to change. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/conservatism

Therefore it is possible to be a left-wing conservative. The Communist Party members who attempted a coup against Gorbachev in the dying days of the USSR because they wanted to preserve the status quo are an example of this.

Right-wing is far more difficult to define. Its meaning varies across societies, time, political systems and ideologies.

Modern right-wing parties may include many strands of opinion including conservatives, Christian Democrats, classical liberals, nationalists and on the far-right; racists and fascists. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Right-wing_politics

Many Republicans don't hate the state. They tend to see the state as a necessary evil which should be kept as small as possible. Republican politicians from Abraham Lincoln to Donald Trump have been happy to pass laws, sign Executive Orders, and appoint Supreme Court Judges when it has been in their interests to do so and furthers their policies.

People who hate the state tend to be those who favor libertarianism. They may be on the left (libertarian-socialists and anarchists) or on the right (the Tea Party movement and the Libertarian Party for example).

  • This answer would be improved by including references that back-up its claims. For example, "people who hate the state tend to be those who favor libertarianism" - those kinds of claims really need sources. – indigochild Sep 28 at 6:26

These conservatives loves their country as homeland because they grow up there. They have friends, families and tradition here.

They also want the government to protect their lives and tradition. The current issue is there are many media, including mainstream and alternatives media amplifies emotions, opinions, prejudices rather than reporting facts.

Mark Dice, an Media Analyst. Author of ‘The True Story of Fake News.’ has also mentioned that CIA has tried experimenting psychological experiments on spreading news at different ways and arrows different feelings and ways of discussions among the mass. That induces some political parties or underground riches to collude and influence the politics.

They show their selfishness and dictatorship against the dissidents or any political candidate who is out of their plan.

Not all people love seeing them disrupting their tradition and mutual trust between. That drives patriotism.

I seldom label conservatives or liberals. It is because it often drives into disputes among the wordings or identity politics. That hinders rational discussion

  • This answer should be backed-up with references that demonstrate it's accuracy. Much of it appears to be opinion, rather than fact. – indigochild Sep 28 at 6:23
  • It is based on my discussion at the platform twitter , Reddit . If you have read the tweets and replies of Donald trump or Paul Joseph Watson, you gotta same conclusion as mine. – Raju yourPepe Sep 28 at 7:30

A network of beliefs doesn't have to internally consistent, and the combination of believing oneself to be part of the majority group while also facing overwhelmingly powerful opposition is a common belief among many groups. This combination of beliefs isn't unique to American conservatives. For example, leftists might believe themselves to be part of the majority "working class" or "middle class" while also facing powerful enemies in the form of "corporate interests", the "surveillance state", or the "military industrial complex" (much of which also generalizes to being the "government"). This combination of beliefs allows someone to think that their beliefs are supported by the majority of their peers while also creating a powerful common enemy that the group must unite against.

In America, there is no larger group identifier you can really adopt than being "American" so overt displays of symbols like the flag serve to signal that someone is part of what they perceive to be the largest group sharing their same belief system. This also explains things like people displaying prominent symbols of the Confederacy while also displaying prominent symbols of generic "America". America vs. traitors to America would seem even more nonsensical at at a glance than America vs. the government of America, but as a form of signaling it makes perfect sense. It's a way for people to signify that they're part of the local white majority, while also identifying with what they believe is a broader white "America".

Meanwhile, the "government" is the singular most powerful entity that can be rationalized as not reflecting the will of the majority. "Activists judges" are unelected arbiters of the law that don't reflect the beliefs of "real Americans". "Voter fraud" occurs when individuals without proper documentation vote illegally. This offers a way to deligitimize opposition while presenting a strong enemy to unite the group. This works even when the group is in power. For example, even though Republicans currently control all branches of the federal government, problems can be conveniently blamed on a "deep state" formed of career bureaucrats.

I mostly explained this in terms of American conservatism because that's what the question asked, but this phenomenon is very easy to generalize. It's just that the symbols used to signify group identity and the targets used as an enemy changes depending on the groups in question.

  • 2
    "I mostly explained this in terms of American conservatism..." — no, you didn't. "...this phenomenon is very easy to generalize." — obviously, because you generalized it right in the first paragraphs to talk about leftists, rather than answering the actual question. – Wildcard Sep 13 at 18:49

protected by Drunk Cynic Sep 16 at 21:46

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