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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, human imperfection, organic society, hierarchy, authority, and property rights. Conservatives seek to preserve a range of institutions such as monarchy, religion, parliamentary government, and property rights, with the aim of emphasizing social stability and continuity. The more extreme 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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Ronald Ernest Paul (born 1935) is an American medical doctor and was a Republican U.S. Congressman for the 14th congressional district of Texas, which encompasses the area south and southwest of the Greater Houston region. According to a 1998 study published in the American Journal of Political Science, Paul had the most conservative voting record of any member of Congress since 1937. His son Rand Paul was elected to the United States Senate for Kentucky in 2011, making the elder Paul the first Representative in history to serve alongside a son or daughter in the Senate. Paul has been called the "intellectual godfather" of the Tea Party movement. He has gained prominence for his libertarian positions on many political issues, often clashing with both Republican and Democratic Party leaders. Paul has run for President of the United States twice before, first in 1988 as the nominee of the Libertarian Party and again in 2008 as a candidate for the Republican nomination. On May 13, 2011, he formally announced he would run again in 2012 for the Republican presidential nomination. A 2010 scientific poll conducted by Rasmussen Reports among likely voters found Ron Paul and Barack Obama to be statistically tied in a hypothetical 2012 presidential election contest.

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To be conservative, then, is to prefer the familiar to the unknown, to prefer the tried to the untried, fact to mystery, the actual to the possible, the limited to the unbounded, the near to the distant, the sufficient to the superabundant, the convenient to the perfect, present laughter to utopian bliss.

— Michael Oakeshott, On Being Conservative (1962)

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Latin Conservatism is a political ideology in southern Europe that was founded by noted Savoyard thinker Joseph de Maistre and which reached its peak in Spain under Francisco Franco. In contrast to Burkean Conservatism, which originated at about the same time, Latin Conservatism is uncompromising in its belief in the need for order. While Burke supported constitutionalism and some degree of democracy, Maistre, like Thomas Hobbes before him, though with a more religious tone, supported authoritarianism as the only means of avoiding violent disorder. Maistre, a diplomat who had to flee for his life during the French Revolution, became convinced that ultra-liberal ideas, particularly Rousseau's theory of a "general will", had led to the horrors of the French Revolution and the bloodshed of the Napoleonic Wars. In forceful terms he compared the situation of his day to the Book of Genesis.

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