The Relevance of Conservatism 1

Conservatism matter to the most fundamental of human relationships - the family.

Since the recent election, many of our leftist media outlets have been asking what conservatives stand for.  They claim that the Republican party will have to reshape itself toward their cherished economic and social positions in order to remain politically relevant.

This series will explain why this isn't true.  The time-honored principles of Conservatism are highly relevant today, because they are based on reality and an accurate understanding of human nature.  In point of fact, the principles of conservatism represent the only force which stands between America and economic and societal disaster.

Vince Lombardi was one of the greatest coaches in NFL history.  Legend has it that after a particularly bad defeat for his Green Bay Packers, and at the first meeting of training camp prior to each new football season, he would reacquaint his team with the fundamentals of what they were there for.  "Gentlemen," quoth he while holding out a brown object, "this is a football..."

The conservative movement has suffered perhaps the greatest defeat in living memory.  For lo these many years, conservatives have clung to the belief that America is a naturally conservative country, that conservatism is right in principle and in practice, and that in order to prevail all we have to do is properly contrast our policies with the failures of liberalism.

Well, we could hardly ask for a more blatant, monumental failure than ongoing the Obama depression, or a starker contrast between him and Mitt Romney.  In 2008, many voters were deluded by media bias as to Obama's heartfelt extreme liberalism; this time around everybody knew exactly what was being offered by whom.  And they chose liberalsm.

So, like Vince Lombardi's team, it's time for us to revisit the fundamentals.  What is conservatism?  Why does it matter?  Why is it worth fighting for, and why have thousands given their lives for conservative American principles over the centuries?

What Conservatism Is

In practice, conservatives stand for a societal form of the "precautionary principle" which states that nothing new should be tried before it can be proved to be safe.  Proving any kind of negative is clearly impossible.  We've criticized the left for overuse of this idea in trying to ban just about any form of technical innovation because it can't be proved that it's "safe."

Environmentalists have tried to stop hydraulic fracking, for example, even though it's led to huge reductions in energy costs and promises to make the US actually energy independent.  Greenies feel so strongly about this that the EPA has falsified ground water tests in an effort to justify their desire to ban fracking.

Although we criticize leftists for applying the precutionary principle to technology, conservatives embrace a from of the precautionary principle when it comes to social norms.  Conservatives prefer to rely on laws, customs, and traditions which are known to work.  Conservatives don't want to try new customs on a wide scale until they can be shown to be safe, particularly if history shows that the "new" ideas have been tried in the past and are already known not to work.

Precautionary Families

The traditional nuclear family is the best example: it predates history itself, and is found in nearly the same form in virtually every society in every time and place.   Over at least six thousand years of recorded history and who knows how much more than that, humanity has found that the best way to take care of children is for a man and woman to make a long-term commitment to each other and work together to raise the children that naturally result when men and women hang out together.  Parents worked to earn whatever resources were needed to care for their children, and children took care of their parents when the parents got old.

It makes logical as well as emotional and evolutionary sense for parents to make huge investments in their children: until the last century, children were the only form of old-age investment.  Even today, they remain the only one which the government can't easily steal.  This also created ties between the generations: when parents became grandparents, they helped their children figure out how to overcome the problems of parenthood themselves for everyone's mutual benefit.

For most of human history, women couldn't generate enough food to feed themselves.  As a practical matter, women had to depend on men to feed them and their children.  That gave women a strong incentive to avoid sex unless a man made a long-term commitment to support her and care for her.

Modern welfare systems mean that women no longer have to depend on men.  As a result, more than half the children being born to women under 30 are born out of wedlock.  With the passage of time, it's become clear that children who're brought up in fatherless "families" do far worse than children in traditional families.

A conservative needn't cite the precautionary principle to argue that our experiment in funding unwed childbirth has led to disaster - we're in our 3rd and 4th generation of kids growing up without knowing anyone who's married or has a job.  We can see the results in cities like Detroit and Baltimore which are losing population and reverting to wilderness.

Multiplying non-workers helps Democrats buy votes by promising to increase welfare benefits and other goodies, but the resulting sexual promiscuity is disastrous for society.  Dr. Unwin documented more than eighty former civilizations in "Sexual Relations and Cultural Behavior," J. D. Unwin (Frank M. Darrow 1969); all societies which became sexually permissive collapsed.

In the old days, a woman wouldn't give herself to a man unless he married her because she'd have no way to feed her children.  A woman doesn't have to worry about that any more because welfare will pay her expenses.  The sexual permissiveness which the welfare system makes possible is multiplying non-workers at the expense of workers and will lead to disaster when the work can't get done any more.

This conservative reluctance to mess with proven family structures underlies much of the opposition to gay "marriage."  Early studies are suggesting that kids brought up in homosexual "families" don't do as well as kids in traditional families.  The results of these studies are politically incorrect and the researchers are being attacked as unscientific because they got the wrong answer, but the data trend in that direction.

Again, conservatives are skeptical that "couples" who can't reproduce through mutual cooperation will be inclined to raise children as intensively as married couples.  Anything that diminishes parental involvement in child raising harms society in the long term.

We don't have enough studies yet to show that gay marriage is unarguably harmful to children, but a conservative reading of the precautionary principle means that we won't be surprised when the early research findings are confirmed.

This article has discussed the damaging results of our experiments with a welfare system and suggests that our experiments with "progressive" non-traditional family structures won't work out well.  The next discusses our equally disastrous experiments with "progressive" education, and why conservative principles matter enormously to the lives of our children.

Will Offensicht is a staff writer for and an internationally published author by a different name.  Read other articles by Will Offensicht or other articles on Society.
Reader Comments

There another aspect to this sexual permissiveness. There have been 30,000,000 plus abortions since Roe vs Wade. Each of these abortions touch these women in many ways. It is my opinion that once a woman has an abortion she is going to much more likely to vote democrat than republican because of her choices. The democrats getting up on the stage and saying that they are in favor of women's health is just so much hot air. They couldn't care less about her health, it's her vote that they want. The woman is not going to feel comfortable going with the republican party because of their platform. I don't say this to try and and change the republican platform but to point out how difficult it will be to change people's minds. Those women and many in their families will follow her. It is really a tough challenge.

I think that the first thing that needs to be done is not trying to make ourselves into democrat-lite but to clean house at the top in the republican party. The leaders in DC, NY, Boston etc have given us Ford, Bush I, Dole, Bush II, McCain, and Romney. You complain of the weak effort that Romney made when he couldn't differentiate us from the liberals. He couldn't because he is not a conservative. Ditto the other weaklings that they have given us over the years. We must throw off the yolk of the North East dominance of the party and run as true conservatives or we can pack it in. With obama getting 4 million+ less votes than in 08' do you really have to study this problem for very long?

January 29, 2013 5:55 PM
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