Q: What is conservatism? A: Conservatism is the domination of society by an aristocracy.
Q: What is wrong with conservatism?
A: Conservatism is incompatible with democracy, prosperity, and civilization in general. It is a destructive system of inequality and prejudice that is founded on deception and has no place in the modern world.
The tactics of conservatism vary widely by place and time. But the most central feature of conservatism is deference: a psychologically internalised attitude on the part of the common people that the aristocracy and the perceived ‘upper class’ are better people than they are. It is often theorised that conservatives use “social issues” as a way to mask economic objectives, but this is almost backward: the true goal of conservatism is to establish an aristocracy, which is a social and psychological condition of inequality.
Economic inequality and regressive taxation, while certainly welcomed by the aristocracy and wealthy within the population, are best understood as a means to their actual goal, which is simply to be aristocrats and to widen the divide between classes. More generally, it is crucial to conservatism that the people who follow adore the order that dominates them.
In the past, “Conservatism” has been used as a disparaging epithet by detractors of right wing politics and politicians within Australia, often being used by supporters and members of left-wing leaning movements and parties such as the Australian Labor Party and the Australian Greens.
People on the right in Australia called themselves “liberals”. That only changed in the late 20th century; a significant political movement, conservatism is “a very recent arrival in Australia”. John Howard, who became prime minister in 1996, was the first holder of the office to describe himself as a conservative.
Political conservatism is primarily represented by the Liberal Party of Australia, and its coalition partner, the National Party which historically was the party of the small farmers and espoused agrarianism. In America, ‘liberal’ means left-of-centre, and it is a pejorative term when used by conservatives in adversarial political debate.
In Australia, of course, the conservatives are in the Liberal Party. Also, the decline in English influences on Australian reformism and radicalism, and appropriation of the symbols of Empire by conservatives continued under the Liberal Party leadership of Sir Robert Menzies, which lasted until 1966. Continuing in Australian government in the 1990’s across the economic and cultural landscape, Howard proved that the centre of politics in Australia is inherently conservative.
There are some inherent differences in the Australian political landscape in which conservatism exists, compared to what is found in other countries, especially in economics. Australia undertook in the mid-1980s significant economic reforms – faith in markets, deregulation, a reduced role for government, low protection and the creation of a new cooperative enterprise culture – under the centre-left Australian Labor Party and especially under social liberal Paul Keating. Consequently issues like protectionism, welfare reform, privatisation and deregulation are no longer debated as intensely as they are in Europe or North America.