Portal:Conservatism
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Portal:Conservatism

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Conservatism is a political and social philosophy promoting traditional social institutions in the context of culture and civilization. The central tenets of conservatism include tradition, organic society, hierarchy, authority, and property rights. Conservatives seek to preserve a range of institutions such as religion, parliamentary government, and property rights, with the aim of emphasizing social stability and continuity. The more traditional elements--reactionaries--oppose modernism and seek a return to "the way things were".

The first established use of the term in a political context originated in 1818 with François-René de Chateaubriand during the period of Bourbon Restoration that sought to roll back the policies of the French Revolution. Historically associated with right-wing politics, the term has since been used to describe a wide range of views. There is no single set of policies regarded as conservative because the meaning of conservatism depends on what is considered traditional in a given place and time. Thus conservatives from different parts of the world--each upholding their respective traditions--may disagree on a wide range of issues. Edmund Burke, an 18th-century politician who opposed the French Revolution, but supported the American Revolution, is credited as one of the main theorists of conservatism in Great Britain in the 1790s.

According to Quintin Hogg, the chairman of the British Conservative Party in 1959: "Conservatism is not so much a philosophy as an attitude, a constant force, performing a timeless function in the development of a free society, and corresponding to a deep and permanent requirement of human nature itself." In contrast to the tradition-based definition of conservatism, some political theorists such as Corey Robin define conservatism primarily in terms of a general defense of social and economic inequality. From this perspective, conservatism is less an attempt to uphold traditional institutions and more, "a meditation on--and theoretical rendition of--the felt experience of having power, seeing it threatened, and trying to win it back".

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College Republicans at OSU.jpg
The College Republican National Committee is a national organization for college and university students who support the Republican Party of the United States. The organization is known as an active recruiting tool for the Republican Party and has produced many prominent Republican and conservative activists and introduced more party members to the Republican party than any other organization in the nation. The College Republicans were founded as the American Republican College League on May 17, 1892 at the University of Michigan. The organization was spear-headed by law student James Francis Burke, who would later serve as a Congressman from Pennsylvania. The inaugural meeting was attended by over 1,000 students from across the county, from Stanford University in the west to Harvard University in the east. Contemporary politicians also attended the meeting, including Judge John M. Thurston, Senator Russell A. Alger, Congressman J. Sloat Fassett, Congressman W. E. Mason, John M. Langston, and Abraham Lincoln's successor in the Illinois State Legislature, A. J. Lester. Then-Governor of Ohio William McKinley gave a rousing keynote speech.

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The struggle between the opponents and defenders of capitalism is a struggle between innovators who do not know what innovation to make and conservatives who do not know what to conserve.

-- Simone Weil, "The Power of Words" in Selected Essays 1934-1943 (1957)

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Churchill V sign HU 55521.jpg

On January 14, 1941, Victor de Laveleye, former Belgian Minister of Justice and director of the Belgian French-speaking broadcasts on the BBC (1940-1944), suggested in a broadcast that Belgians use a V for victoire (French: "victory") and vrijheid (Dutch: "freedom") as a rallying emblem during World War II. By July 1941, the emblematic use of the letter V had spread through occupied Europe, and on July 19, Winston Churchill put the British government's stamp of approval on the V for Victory campaign in a speech, from which point he started using the V hand sign.

Credit: G-Man

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