In essays to follow, when I refer to “conservatism” I’ll usually be referring to American conservatism, but first, let’s define what conservatism is in general. At the root of the word is (to) conserve, or to control or prevent loss. Conservatism then is a social/political philosophy concerned with the control and prevention of the loss of those principles upon which the nation or society in question was founded. More simply: staying true to founding principles. Therefore: Conservatism will look different depending on the context. For example, conservatism to a leader in the Peoples Republic of China will look a lot different than conservatism in the U.S.A. Since modern China was formed as a communist state, their founding principles are based upon those of Chairman Mao, Marx, and Lenin. Concepts such as free markets and democracy would be considered “liberal” in that context. Vladimir Putin could be said to be a consummate conservative from the point of view of a U.S.S.R. nostalgic, though his political philosophy varies greatly with American conservatism.
It is critically important to anyone wishing to carry the American conservative message to others to understand this point: Conservatism is relative to the society in question. Liberals constantly and effectively use our ignorance of what the word “conservatism” really means, to serve up their own fallacious definition, one that creates a cartoonish notion of the goose-stepping, white sheet wearing, misogynist bigot. They purposely conflate terms like “right wing” and “Fascist” with conservatism to propagate a false image of American conservatives. Think of this—Hitler could be considered a conservative from a German point of view. The “German” way he was trying to conserve was a mainly idealistic, fanciful notion of a Germany from the Middle Ages, one long gone. He’s seen today as a proponent of a “right wing” philosophy, despite the fact he was a socialist. Liberals take advantage of this in this way: Hitler was a (social) conservative and a NAZI, Reagan, Bush, et al. are also considered conservatives, therefore Reagan, Bush, and Hitler are to be considered as being Fascists, Nazis, etc. See how that works! The Liberal Name Game: NAZI’s=Fascists=Conservatives=Republicans. The mainstream media buys into and propagates this false notion.