Thursday, March 16, 2023

Conservatism Is Love


On today's menu: a hodge-podge of different ruminations regarding conservatism and love.

Let's start with a salient question: is conservatism a philosophy of love? My response: absolutely, yes! Or at least it is meant to be. Further question: if conservatism = love, than what is it a love of? Answer: conservatism is a love of tradition, history, the past, the present, the future, family, friends, neighbors, community, strangers, the poor, the affluent, sinners, and on and on...

This is the tweet that prompted that little thought experiment:

Dr. Pitt is, of course, correct. Conservatism, as a political philosophy, is inextricably linked to tradition, which is, in turn, linked to faith. In the Western context, that faith is an Abrahamic one (i.e. Christianity and Judaism). And, though I am no theologian, doesn't the Bible teach us to love?

And love requires more than one party; unless you are okay with only loving yourself. So who should we love? A good starting point: family and friends. Family should anchor us in a distinct way. Friends, too, should build upon this foundation of love and acceptance. 

But, beyond your immediate circle, one should have a deep love for their community. This, though, requires an element of trust. I write about that here.

When we learn to trust others and to welcome "outsiders" into our circles, we grow as humans. Though this may sound cold and self-maximizing, there is a rational utility in association. When we learn to socialize with people outside of our inner-family and close friend group, we can (potentially) gain a great deal: economic-connectedness (wherein associating with an individual of higher socio-economic status could benefit you financially or occupationally), a feeling of belonging, deeper connectedness to the fabric of society, increased civic awareness, and - I think most importantly - established norms of trust with like-minded people. This last point is the essence of the term "social capital". 

Often, we throw the term social capital around a little too willy nilly; I, too, have been guilty of this. But what does it really mean? Eh, I'll save that for another post...

Anyway, follow Dr. Daniel Pitt on Twitter @DanJTPitt for some worthwhile and thought-provoking political commentary.

Signing off... 


  1. The opposite of community is solitary individuals, wired to technology and social media, told to be outraged and what to think. . Vapid and easy to manipulate..

  2. Precisely! We are not free-floating, atomistic entities; we are a part of something much larger! In regards to technology, I don't think luddism is the answer (not that you suggested that it was). I've spoken to some people who wish to throw their IPhone in the ocean and retreat into nature. This is obviously no solution. I think the answer lies in moderation!