In my opinion, conservatism is always bad. Conservatism is always and everywhere at all times elite rule and only elite rule. Some support elite rule. I don’t. I support popular rule. I say elite rule is bad. Since elite rule is always bad, conservatism is always bad. Real simple.
In addition, conservatism is almost always dishonest. As an elite philosophy, you can either be honest about your goals and say you are working to better the elite and harm everyone else – say, the top 20% will benefit and the bottom 80% will be harmed, or you can lie and say you are out for everyone when you are not. It usually doesn’t work for conservatives to tell the truth, but now and then they do. Most people are not so stupid as to vote for an elite party when they are members of the non-elite group who will be harmed by the elite party. So conservatives, always and everywhere at all times, lie. They lie about their project. They have to, because often that’s the only way to get in.
But this continuous lying results in a destruction of Politics. There’s not much of a democracy left when almost the entire media is lying their fool heads off day and night. The population is bewildered at best or brainwashed at worst. This is the sort of “democracy” we have here in America. It’s hardly a democracy at all!
Erranter asks if we should not be bashing conservatives.
Doesn’t a conservative just mean someone who is fine with the way things are going, the status quo? There are places where the status quo is democracy and none of those above things. I don’t think it’s fair to attach “bad” to the very definition of conservative and “good” to progressive. That’s changing the definitions which people use to communicate and permanently attaching a moral judgment. It’s also unequivocal that conservatives are bad, because a part of this new definition is that they are bad.
Someone who is fine with the way things are going, the status quo – No, that is not what conservatism means.
Conservatism is elite rule. It always has been, it is now, and it always will be. Some things never change. Elites hate democracy. The Republican Party hates democracy. Notice how they are always trying to repress voter turnout. Heavy turnout is always bad for the elite Republicans. Given half a chance, sane electorates generally vote for popular rule (the Left) and against elite rule (the Right). Why would any electorate voluntarily vote against popular rule and for elite rule? They would have to be out of their minds (like the US electorate).
It’s hard to vote in elite rule. People don’t like it too much. So conservatives usually need to rule by dictatorship in one form or another. Once Latin America got rid of the dictatorships, the first thing the people did was vote in the Left.
There are only a few places on Earth where US style hard rightwing conservatives are actually voted into power, and those elections are problematic because the popular, anti-elite candidates of the Left are typically murdered.
El Salvador (though the Left is starting to win now)
That’s about it.
The conservatives in El Salvador, Guatemala, Colombia, Turkey and the Philippines all rule by terror. They all run death squads and slaughter the Left.
In the Philippines, conservatives run as populists who will fight and get rid of poverty, so that’s not really US conservatism.
In Colombia, Guatemala and El Salvador, conservatives usually run on a platform of “kill the Communists (the Left).”
Everywhere else on Earth, people generally vote in some sort of a liberal to socialist type government.
All of Africa has generally been run by popular Leftwing parties, with a few exceptions in Zaire and Kenya. They haven’t done a very good job of popular rule, but US style conservatism simply does not exist there.
In North Africa, most of the governments are socialist. Morocco was always the outlier, as it was ruled by a rightwing king, but he’s a dictator.
All of the Arab World is generally run by some type of socialist party or other. US style conservatism never takes power there.
All of the former Soviet Republics are now run by some type of socialist government or other.
All of Europe is being run by some type of socialist government or other, with the possible exception of Great Britain. The UK was always the outlier. US style conservatism ruled under Thatcher, but she was probably the most hated ruler in the 20th Century UK, and she couldn’t get much done.
Russia is run by a socialist regime under Putin.
The Iranian religious government has always been socialist in nature.
It’s hard to characterize the Karzai regime, but it is not US conservatism.
The Pakistani government is very hard to characterize, but it is not US style conservatism. The recently assassinated leader, Benazir Bhutto, was a socialist. The President, her widower, is also a socialist.
Since Independence, India, Nepal and Sri Lanka have generally been run by socialist regimes of one type or another.
Myanmar is run by a regime that calls itself socialist.
Singapore has a social democracy.
SE Asia has been run by socialists since 1975. Thailand typically had rightwing military government. Recently, a progressive, Thaksin, was elected. He was extremely popular, but the conservative elite threw him out in a coup like they often do. At any rate, US style conservatism does not exist in Thailand.
China is run by a socialist party.
Mongolia is run by socialists.
Japan has been a social democracy since 1945.
True, South Korea was always a rightwing regime, but recently they elected a leftwinger.
Taiwan was always ruled by a rightwing dictatorship, but I am not sure who is in power since independence. They have had a social democracy for a while now.
Indonesia was always run by a rightwing dictatorship, but they recently went to democracy. The present leader has begun a number of socialist programs.