Conservative Principles

Sunday, March 7, 2021 – Conservative Principles

I grew up conservative because my mum was a conservative, and when I finally realized what conservatives were, I changed my mind immediately. ~ Elton John

Liberalism is trust of the people tempered by prudence. Conservatism is distrust of the people tempered by fear. ~ William E. Gladstone

The central conservative truth is that it is culture not politics that determines the success of a society. The central liberal truth is that politics can change a culture and save it from itself. ~ Daniel Patrick Moynihan

A radical generally meant a man who thought he could somehow pull up the root without affecting the flower. A conservative generally meant a man who wanted to conserve everything except his own reason for conserving anything. ~ G. K. Chesterton

A conservative believes nothing should be done for the first time. ~ Thomas Fuller

A Conservative is a fellow who is standing athwart history yelling Stop! ~ William F. Buckley, Jr.

Conservative, n: A statesman who is enamored of existing evils, as distinguished from the Liberal who wishes to replace them with others. ~ Ambrose Bierce

You say you are conservative – eminently conservative – while we are revolutionary, destructive, or something of the sort. What is conservatism? Is it not adherence to the old and tried, against the new and untried? We stick to, contend for, the identical old policy on the point in controversy which was adopted by “our fathers who framed the Government under which we live” – while you with one accord reject, and scout, and spit upon that old policy, and insist upon substituting something new. True, you disagree among yourselves as to what that substitute shall be. You are divided on new propositions and plans, but you are unanimous in rejecting and denouncing the old policy of the fathers. ~ Abraham Lincoln, Speech to the Cooper Institute, 27 February 1860

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

I’m a Christian first and a mean-spirited, bigoted conservative second, and don’t you ever forget it. ~ Ann Coulter

White-collar conservative flashin’ down the street, pointing that plastic finger at me, they all assume my kind will drop and die, but I’m gonna wave my freak flag high. ~ Jimi Hendrix

I’m conservative, but I’m not a nut about it. ~ George H. W. Bush

Liberal and conservative have lost their meaning in America. I represent the distracted center. ~ Jon Stewart

A liberal is a person who believes that water can be made to run uphill. A conservative is someone who believes everybody should pay for his water. I’m somewhere in between: I believe water should be free, but that water flows downhill. ~ Theodore White

If a conservative is a liberal who’s been mugged, a liberal is a conservative who’s been arrested. ~ Tom Wolfe

Come, come, my conservative friend, wipe the dew off your spectacles, and see that the world is moving. ~ Elizabeth Cady Stanton

I do not know which makes a man more conservative, to know nothing but the present, or nothing but the past. ~ John Maynard Keynes

A conservative is someone who believes in reform. But not now. ~ Mort Sahl

The idea of the sacred is quite simply one of the most conservative notions in any culture, because it seeks to turn other ideas – uncertainty, progress, change – into crimes. ~ Salman Rushdie

All conservatism is based upon the idea that if you leave things alone you leave them as they are. But you do not. If you leave a thing alone you leave it to a torrent of change. ~ G. K. Chesterton

Expect poison from the standing water. ~ William Blake

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

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

When a nation’s young men are conservative, its funeral bell is already rung. ~ Henry Ward Beecher

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

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

The modern conservative is engaged in one of man’s oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness. ~ John Kenneth Galbraith

The problem of social organization is how to set up an arrangement under which greed will do the least harm. Capitalism is that kind of a system. ~ Milton Friedman

It is easy when we are in prosperity to give advice to the afflicted. ~ Aeschylus

Capitalism has destroyed our belief in any effective power but that of self-interest backed by force. ~ George Bernard Shaw

Advocates of capitalism are very apt to appeal to the sacred principles of liberty, which are embodied in one maxim: The fortunate must not be restrained in the exercise of tyranny over the unfortunate. ~ Bertrand Russell

The crippling of individuals I consider the worst evil of capitalism. Our whole educational system suffers from this evil. An exaggerated competitive attitude is inculcated into the student, who is trained to worship acquisitive success as a preparation for his future career. ~ Albert Einstein

A conservative is a man with two perfectly good legs who, however, has never learned how to walk forward. ~ Franklin D. Roosevelt

Although it is not true that all conservatives are stupid people, it is true that most stupid people are conservative. ~ John Stuart Mill

Political tags – such as royalist, communist, democrat, populist, fascist, liberal, conservative, and so forth – are never basic criteria. The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire. ~ Robert A. Heinlein

A conservative is a man who is too cowardly to fight and too fat to run. ~ Elbert Hubbard

Good for you, you have a heart, you can be a liberal. Now, couple your heart with your brain, and you can be a conservative. ~ Glenn Beck

A conservative is a man who just sits and thinks, and mostly sits. ~ Woodrow Wilson

I never dared to be radical when young for fear it would make me conservative when old. ~ Robert Frost

In the Tea Party era, it is the restless conservative Republican who has become passion’s plaything, the toy of impetuous romance, an erotomania only intensified by the lusting for an upstart savior. ~ James Wolcott

I claim neither liberalism nor conservatism – one tends to be airheaded while the other tends to be brick-headed. ~ Criss Jami

Ostensibly rigorous and realistic, contemporary conservatism is an ideology of denial. Its symbol is a smile button. ~ Christopher Lasch

Grumbling is the death of love. ~ Marlene Dietrich

To hear complaints is wearisome to the wretched and the happy alike. ~ Samuel Johnson

When any fit of gloominess, or perversion of mind, lays hold upon you, make it a rule not to publish it by complaints. ~ Samuel Johnson

Do not weep; do not wax indignant. Understand. ~ Baruch Spinoza

Opposition may become sweet to a man when he has christened it persecution. ~ George Eliot

When I talk to anyone or read the writings of anyone who has any axe to grind, I feel that intellectual honesty and balanced judgment have simply disappeared from the face of the earth. Everyone’s thought is forensic, everyone is simply putting a “case” with deliberate suppression of his opponent’s point of view, and, what is more, with complete insensitiveness to any sufferings except those of himself and his friends. ~ George Orwell, Facing Unpleasant Facts: 1937-1939