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Tag Archives: conservatism

For various reasons, I’ve been thinking about the links and differences between conservatism and libertarianism. They are many, and the question is complex.

However, when it all comes down to it, it seems to me there is one very simple reason why conservatism and libertarianism conflict. The main tenet of conservatism is to try to change things as less as possible, lest you make things worse. Although it is rarely explicitly stated, this means conservatives are fairly content with the current situation. Oh, sure, they might have their grumbles about this or that, but for them, the overall score is good. Hence, refusal to change: they fear the unseen/unknown consequences of the change will worsen things rather than improve them.

Although one can appreciate this necessary caution around political action and social tinkering, a libertarian can’t conform to this description for a very simple reason. The present day situation is totally unacceptable to the libertarian, and he sees precious little going well. Liberty is attacked from everywhere. State power is ever increasing, and individual freedom is becoming a joke. Nothing much to be “preserved” there for the libertarian. Nothing worth tolerating the permanent injustice and infringement of people’s rights anyway.

At the end of the day, it seems the conservative is more easily satisfied than the libertarian.