I hear people talk about conservative parties and countries but I don't understand what this philosophy means? What is Conservatism and why is it not suitable for democracies when some parties call themselves conservative?

Q: What is conservatism?
A: Conservatism is the domination of society by an aristocracy.

Q: What is wrong with conservatism?
A: Conservatism is incompatible with democracy, prosperity, and civilization in general. It is a destructive system of inequality and prejudice that is founded on deception and has no place in the modern world.

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    Is there a source for those quotes? Also, I'd argue that "the domination of society by an aristocracy" is simply aristocracy. It may well be conservative, but it's not a definition of conservatism. Oct 4 '20 at 12:58
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    "Conservatism is a political and social philosophy that promotes retaining traditional social institutions in the context of culture and civilization." Oct 4 '20 at 13:31

The compatibility of conservatism and democracy very much depends on a particular nation's history and which portions of that nation's history or traditions the conservatives in question wish to conserve.

Imagine a nation with a history and tradition of nothing but Democracy, but considering a move to a technocracy. In that instance the conservatives would be those who favored democracy.

Generally no party, conservative or liberal, entirely lives up to their name. So parties tend to be quite selective about what most needs conserving, (or liberalizing), and those selections vary, but often coincide with whatever traditions best agree with the interests of that party's wealthiest sponsors.

  • Put another way, nowadays all sponsors must invariably be very liberal... with money -- whether or not the sponsored party is conservative or liberal.
    – agc
    Oct 4 '20 at 23:15
  • The kind of pun I approve of =D
    – Jan
    Oct 5 '20 at 4:05

Conservatism is an ideology(often associated with right wing ideologies) that believes that the current way, or a former way is a better one. There is no reason why it doesn't belong in a democratic society.

But there are conservative streams that are less democratic. Religious conservatives for example sometimes oppose women's voting rights, which of course damages their democratic rights.

But depending on what nation you live in a Conservative party can have a great difference in meaning, even within the borders of a single country there can be conservative parties that, based on religious ideologies, have highly different views.

For example, the Netherlands has several conservative parties, Two of them are the PVV and SGP. Both are Dutch conservative parties, but the PVV is not religious based while the SGP is Christian based. One huge difference between their ideologies is that the PVV supports gay rights, because they believe that equality towards gay people is a fundamental part of Dutch society. the SGP on the other hand opposes gay rights due to their religious nature.

The reason why Conservatism is placed in a bad daylight is because they oppose change in the forms of immigration. Conservative parties want their nation to stay as it is on fronts like culture, this often gives them anti immigration leanings or anti religious leanings towards religions that are not common in their homeland.

Most of the Islamic dominated countries have conservative parties who want to hold to it, and often oppose foreign/minor religions like Judaism. Just like several western conservative parties oppose Islam. Another point is language and ethics.

I myself am a Dutch conservative and personally find it ridiculous that some of our districts have voting ballots that are not in Dutch, to help immigrants who don't speak Dutch to vote. Also I think that women's rights trump religious rights, and that our culture should be preserved on that front. (for example a while ago on a local level we had issues that immigrants refused to accept help from female social workers because it was not their place to offer help to men).

  • To promote the former way would be reactionary, not conservative.
    – gerrit
    Oct 4 '20 at 16:55
  • @gerrit both actually fit. Some parties for example had a conservative idea 20 years ago, but in those 20 years the things they wanted to preserve have changed and now they want them back.
    – A.bakker
    Oct 4 '20 at 17:25
  • I’m curious about ballots printed in languages other than Dutch to allow non-Dutch speakers to vote. A cursory search suggests this should only be applicable to municipal elections but I couldn’t find any hard evidence about it. (I also don’t speak Dutch although I can try guessing the meaning from my knowledge of German.) Do you happen to have any sources for me to read up on?
    – Jan
    Oct 5 '20 at 4:03
  • @Jan sadly i don't have any links, were articles I read a while back. But due to a special deal that was made years ago (due to EU meddling) Turkish people were exempt of our integration laws. This meant it wasn't mandatory for them to learn Dutch...this caused a boom in Turkish people here who weren't able to read or speak Dutch...so they were given Turkish ballots... the exemption (thank the gods) has been removed February this year...after 9 years.
    – A.bakker
    Oct 5 '20 at 9:49

Your question and answer is correct!

A good example are The Tories in the UK.

They keep loyal to the crown, and support a House of Lords where nobles are considered above the commoners. And the crown above the law.

Demos in democracy means "The people". And in a democracy it is "the people" that govern.

Edit here due to comments: Republicans in USA are called republicans and believe all are equal. They don't have that same non-democratic legacy that exist in Europe because of the monarchy.

(But honestly today conservative as a word is used about a lot of things, like liberal or socialist)

  • @Jan I tried to edit the section with USA to reflect what I meant in my answer based on the question. This is mostly about words I think as I also wrote in my last comment of the answer. Oct 5 '20 at 7:25

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