Conservatism Quotes

Quotes tagged as "conservatism" Showing 1-30 of 234
Alan Moore
“In an era of stress and anxiety, when the present seems unstable and the future unlikely, the natural response is to retreat and withdraw from reality, taking recourse either in fantasies of the future or in modified visions of a half-imagined past.”
Alan Moore, Watchmen

Dwight D. Eisenhower
“Extremes to the right and to the left of any political dispute are always wrong.”
Dwight D. Eisenhower

Jonah Goldberg
“If there is ever a fascist takeover in America, it will come not in the form of storm troopers kicking down doors but with lawyers and social workers saying. "I'm from the government and I'm here to help.”
Jonah Goldberg, Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left from Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning

Winston S. Churchill
“Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.”
Winston S. Churchill

Stephen Fry
“How can one not be fond of something that the Daily Mail despises?”
Stephen Fry

Mark Twain
“Conservatism is the blind and fear-filled worship of dead radicals.”
Mark Twain

Ronald Reagan
“If you analyze it I believe the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism. I think conservatism is really a misnomer just as liberalism is a misnomer for the liberals — if we were back in the days of the Revolution, so-called conservatives today would be the Liberals and the liberals would be the Tories. The basis of conservatism is a desire for less government interference or less centralized authority or more individual freedom and this is a pretty general description also of what libertarianism is.”
Ronald Reagan

Joseph Heller
“-You have no respect for excessive authority or obsolete traditions. You're dangerous and depraved, and you ought to be taken outside and shot!”
Joseph Heller, Catch-22

William Blake
“Expect poison from the standing water.”
William Blake, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell

Alexis de Tocqueville
“I cannot help fearing that men may reach a point where they look on every new theory as a danger, every innovation as a toilsome trouble, every social advance as a first step toward revolution, and that they may absolutely refuse to move at all.”
Alexis de Tocqueville

Theodore J. Kaczynski
“The conservatives are fools: They whine about the decay of traditional values, yet they enthusiastically support technological progress and economic growth. Apparently it never occurs to them that you can't make rapid, drastic changes in the technology and the economy of a society without causing rapid changes in all other aspects of the society as well, and that such rapid changes inevitably break down traditional values.”
Theodore J. Kaczynski, Industrial Society and Its Future

John W. Dean
“Social conservatism and neoconservatism have revived authoritarian conservatism, and not for the better of conservatism or American democracy. True conservatism is cautious and prudent. Authoritarianism is rash and radical. American democracy has benefited from true conservatism, but authoritarianism offers potentially serious trouble for any democracy.”
John W. Dean, Conservatives Without Conscience

Noam Chomsky
“There are few genuine conservatives within the U.S. political system, and it is a sign of the intellectual corruption of the age that the honorable term 'conservatism' can be appropriated to disguise the advocacy of a powerful, lawless, aggressive and violent state, a welfare state for the rich dedicated to a lunatic form of Keynesian economic intervention that enhances state and private power while mortgaging the country's future.”
Noam Chomsky, The Culture of Terrorism

John D. Caputo
“The Right thinks that the breakdown of the family is the source of crime and poverty, and this they very insightfully blame on the homosexuals, which would be amusing were it not so tragic. Families and 'family values' are crushed by grinding poverty, which also makes violent crime and drugs attractive alternatives to desperate young men and sends young women into prostitution. Family values are no less corrupted by the corrosive effects of individualism, consumerism, and the accumulation of wealth. Instead of shouting this from the mountain tops, the get-me-to-heaven-and-the-rest-be-damned Christianity the Christian Right preaches is itself a version of selfish spiritual capitalism aimed at netting major and eternal dividends, and it fits hand in glove with American materialism and greed.”
John D. Caputo, What Would Jesus Deconstruct?: The Good News of Postmodernism for the Church

Michael Oakeshott
“To be conservative, then, is to prefer the familiar to the unknown, to prefer the tried to the untried, fact to mystery, the actual to the possible, the limited to the unbounded, the near to the distant, the sufficient to the superabundant, the convenient to the perfect, present laughter to utopian bliss.”
Michael Joseph Oakeshott, Rationalism in Politics and Other Essays

Paul Krugman
“The media are desperately afraid of being accused of bias. And that's partly because there's a whole machine out there, an organized attempt to accuse them of bias whenever they say anything that the Right doesn't like. So rather than really try to report things objectively, they settle for being even-handed, which is not the same thing. One of my lines in a column—in which a number of people thought I was insulting them personally—was that if Bush said the Earth was flat, the mainstream media would have stories with the headline: 'Shape of Earth—Views Differ.' Then they'd quote some Democrats saying that it was round.”
Paul Krugman

Richard Rohr
“Change is not what we expect from religious people. They tend to love the past more than the present or the future.”
Richard Rohr, Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life

Kurt Vonnegut Jr.
“But I have to say this in defense of humankind: In no matter what era in history, including the Garden of Eden, everybody just got here. And, except for the Garden of Eden, there were already all these games going on that could make you act crazy, even if you weren't crazy to begin with. Some of the crazymaking games going on today are love and hate, liberalism and conservatism, automobiles and credit cards, golf, and girls' basketball.”
Kurt Vonnegut, A Man Without a Country

Frank Herbert
“Clinging to any form of conservatism can be dangerous. Become too conservative and you are unprepared for surprises. You cannot depend on luck. Logic is blind and often knows only its own past. Logic is good for playing chess but is often too slow for the needs of survival.”
Frank Herbert, Chapterhouse: Dune

George Monbiot
“Deregulation is a transfer of power from the trodden to the treading. It is unsurprising that all conservative parties claim to hate big government.”
George Monbiot

Christopher Hitchens
“How is the United States at once the most conservative and commercial AND the most revolutionary society on Earth?”
Christopher Hitchens, Hitch 22: A Memoir

John Ralston Saul
“The neo-conservatives, who are closely linked to the neo-corporatists, are rather different. They claim to be conservatives, when everything they stand for is a rejection of conservatism. They claim to present an alternate social model, when they are little more than the courtiers of the corporatist movement. Their agitation is filled with the bitterness and cynicism typical of courtiers who scramble for crumbs at the banquet tables of real power, but are always denied a proper chair.”
John Ralston Saul, The Unconscious Civilization

Christopher Hitchens
“Today I want to puke when I hear the word 'radical' applied so slothfully and stupidly to Islamist murderers; the most plainly reactionary people in the world.”
Christopher Hitchens, Hitch 22: A Memoir

Peter Viereck
“What keeps earth air breathable? Not oxygen alone. The earth is a freer place to breathe in, every time you love without calculating a return -- every time you make your drudgeries and routines still more inefficient by stopping to experience the shock of beauty wherever it unpredictably flickers.”
Peter Viereck, Unadjusted Man in the Age of Overadjustment: Where History and Literature Intersect

David  Cameron
“Conservatives believe in the ties that bind us. Society is stronger when we make vows to each other and we support each other. I don’t support gay marriage in spite of being a conservative. I support gay marriage because I am a conservative.”
David Cameron

“Why is there never a headline that says "Government program ends as its intended goal has been achieved"?”
Oleg Atbashian

Alison Larkin
“I, on the other hand, interrupt people because my thoughts fly out of my mouth. My handbag's full of rubbish. And I want to do something that matters with my life. Right now I'd like to write plays, sing in musicals, and/or rid the world of poverty, violence, cruelty, and right-wing conservative politics.”
Alison Larkin, The English American

Christopher Hitchens
“Gore Vidal, for instance, once languidly told me that one should never miss a chance either to have sex or to appear on television. My efforts to live up to this maxim have mainly resulted in my passing many unglamorous hours on off-peak cable TV. It was actually Vidal's great foe William F. Buckley who launched my part-time television career, by inviting me on to Firing Line when I was still quite young, and giving me one of the American Right's less towering intellects as my foil. The response to the show made my day, and then my week. Yet almost every time I go to a TV studio, I feel faintly guilty. This is pre-eminently the 'soft' world of dream and illusion and 'perception': it has only a surrogate relationship to the 'hard' world of printed words and written-down concepts to which I've tried to dedicate my life, and that surrogate relationship, while it, too, may be 'verbal,' consists of being glib rather than fluent, fast rather than quick, sharp rather than pointed. It means reveling in the fact that I have a meretricious, want-it-both-ways side. My only excuse is to say that at least I do not pretend that this is not so.”
Christopher Hitchens, Hitch 22: A Memoir

“It is rare to find an established community of Christians that encourages radical expressions of following Jesus. The natural conservatism of institutions is deeply rooted in the desire to survive, and that desire colors and limits the way they read the Bible and how they see God functioning in the world.”
Michael Spencer, Mere Churchianity: Finding Your Way Back to Jesus-Shaped Spirituality

“There is no such thing as liberalism — or progressivism, etc.

There is only conservatism. No other political philosophy actually exists; by the political analogue of Gresham’s Law, conservatism has driven every other idea out of circulation.

There might be, and should be, anti-conservatism; but it does not yet exist. What would it be? In order to answer that question, it is necessary and sufficient to characterize conservatism. Fortunately, this can be done very concisely.

Conservatism consists of exactly one proposition, to wit:

There must be in-groups whom the law protectes but does not bind, alongside out-groups whom the law binds but does not protect.

There is nothing more or else to it, and there never has been, in any place or time.

For millenia, conservatism had no name, because no other model of polity had ever been proposed. “The king can do no wrong.” In practice, this immunity was always extended to the king’s friends, however fungible a group they might have been. Today, we still have the king’s friends even where there is no king (dictator, etc.). Another way to look at this is that the king is a faction, rather than an individual.

As the core proposition of conservatism is indefensible if stated baldly, it has always been surrounded by an elaborate backwash of pseudophilosophy, amounting over time to millions of pages. All such is axiomatically dishonest and undeserving of serious scrutiny. Today, the accelerating de-education of humanity has reached a point where the market for pseudophilosophy is vanishing; it is, as The Kids Say These Days, tl;dr . All that is left is the core proposition itself — backed up, no longer by misdirection and sophistry, but by violence.

So this tells us what anti-conservatism must be: the proposition that the law cannot protect anyone unless it binds everyone, and cannot bind anyone unless it protects everyone.

Then the appearance arises that the task is to map “liberalism”, or “progressivism”, or “socialism”, or whateverthefuckkindofstupidnoise-ism, onto the core proposition of anti-conservatism.

No, it a’n’t. The task is to throw all those things on the exact same burn pile as the collected works of all the apologists for conservatism, and start fresh. The core proposition of anti-conservatism requires no supplementation and no exegesis. It is as sufficient as it is necessary. What you see is what you get:

The law cannot protect anyone unless it binds everyone; and it cannot bind anyone unless it protects everyone.
Frank Wilhoit

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