Conservatism and True Sources of American Democracy
Like liberalism, conservatism has meant different things in different ages and countries. For a long time, conservatism used to mean monarchism, and liberalism used to mean capitalism and democracy. When confronted with someone who self-identifies as conservative, the rightful question to ask is, What kind of conservatism do you mean?
I've seen conservatives claim that they believe in self-determination and do not want to have others infringe on their lives. That's not conservatism; that's libertarianism. Conservatism very much does infringe on other people's lives. In fact it seeks to make everyone live the same way and believe the same things; which, far from confirming its claim of offering freedom, in fact shows it to be an ideology of oppression.
Another claim is that conservatism represents the tradition. The question to ask is, Which tradition? There have been vast number of different traditions in history, ranging from Chinese and Hindu to Native American. Conservatism appears to be at war with all of these traditions, which means that it does not deserve respect for its own.
Then there's the claim made by many among conservatives that the Christian institutions that preceded America - institutions such as the nuclear family - must be preserved. Where do they differentiate between good institutions that preceded America and bad institutions that preceded America? For the bulk of the history of Christianity, there were institutions such as the divine right of kings and the absolute power of the Catholic Church. Certainly the American conservatives do not wish to restore these institutions to power; so by what authority do they differentiate the "traditional" institutions that they do not want from the "traditional" institutions that they do want?
If their guide is the Bible, then the answer is no. Solomon and David had any number of wives and any number of concubines, Abraham had a wife and a concubine, and most prophets and most New Testament figures were never married. So then where do the Christian Conservatives get the idea that nuclear family is something that comes from God, when most Biblical figures did not practice it?
At the same time, Bible has accounts of several kings who had absolute power over the people. So then where do the Christian Conservatives get the idea that democracy also comes from God?
Of course democracy does not come from God, or at least not from Christianity. Democracy was practiced in ancient Greece and Rome, before these places had exposure to the Bible; and it came back in 18th century as a result of European Enlightenment thought. Bible is not, nor was it ever, the basis for the American democracy. A document signed by the government in 1790 said just that. Rather the thought came from damn European snob intellectuals such as Locke and Voltaire and was put into place by damn aristocratic liberal intellectuals such as Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin. And without these damn liberal snob intellectuals, the average American would be plowing a two-acre plot of land and singing God Save the Queen.
There is a lot of misinformation about these matters, to the point that vast numbers of people have bought into the lies and take them for granted. And that is a highly undesirable state of affairs. The more people reveal such things, the less the power of the liars and the greater the clarity. And that can stand only to benefit America and the rest of the world.