Does a ‘conservative’ argument make someone a conservative?

Conservative isn’t a political philosophy. It’s a political position which is more about change (or the desire for none) which picks and chooses ideologies to suit its cause.

– commenter John Humphreys today.

If conservatism was just about change, then it could be found, and is found, in a range of ideologies. In 2006, for example, leftist intellectual David McKnight tried to make a case for parallels between the green political movement and conservatism.

While I argued at the time that a green-conservative political alliance was a fanciful idea, this wasn’t because the greens lack ‘conservative’ attitudes to environmental change. On that subject, there is no group in Australia more conservative than the greens. Indeed, many of them could be classified as reactionaries as well as conservatives, wanting to roll back industrial society as well as preventing it from expanding any further. But on other issues, the greens tend to adopt conventional left-wing goals of greater equality that are not ‘conservative’ in their implications.

Many others on the left take a ‘conservative’ position on some actual or proposed changes. Continue reading “Does a ‘conservative’ argument make someone a conservative?”