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Portal:Conservatism

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Introduction

Conservatism is an aesthetic, cultural, social, and political philosophy, which seeks to promote and to preserve traditional social institutions. The central tenets of conservatism may vary in relation to the traditional values or practices of the culture and civilization in which it appears. In Western culture, conservatives seek to preserve a range of institutions such as organized religion, parliamentary government, and property rights. Adherents of conservatism often oppose modernism and seek a return to traditional values.

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. Conservative thought has varied considerably as it has adapted itself to existing traditions and national cultures. For example, some conservatives advocate for greater government intervention in the economy while others advocate for a more laissez faire free market economic system. 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 earlier paradoxically supported the American Revolution, is credited as one of the main theorists of conservatism in the 1790s. (Full article...)

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Official Portrait of President Reagan 1981-cropped.jpg
Ronald Wilson Reagan (1911–2004) was the 40th President of the United States (1981–1989), the 33rd Governor of California (1967–1975) and prior to that, a radio, film and television actor. Some of his most notable roles are in Knute Rockne, All American and Kings Row.

As president, Reagan implemented sweeping new political and economic initiatives. His supply-side economic policies, dubbed "Reaganomics," advocated reducing tax rates to spur economic growth, controlling the money supply to reduce inflation, deregulation of the economy, and reducing government spending. In his first term he survived an assassination attempt, took a hard line against labor unions, and ordered military actions in Grenada. He was reelected in a landslide in 1984, proclaiming it was "Morning in America." His second term was primarily marked by foreign matters, such as the ending of the Cold War, the 1986 bombing of Libya, and the revelation of the Iran–Contra affair.

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Reversing Britain’s economic decline was such a huge and painful undertaking that, at least until the later years, the economy had to come first.

In fact, though flawed in some respects, the speech with its emphasis on remoralising society and on strengthening the family, deserves re-reading.

It does not though, reveal much about his essential philosophy, which with Keith — as with most professional politicians — remained below the surface.

The kind of Conservatism which he and I — though coming from very different backgrounds — favoured would be best described as "liberal", in the old-fashioned sense. And I mean the liberalism of Mr Gladstone not of the latter day collectivists.

That is to say, we placed far greater confidence in individuals, families, businesses and neighbourhoods than in the State.

— Margaret Thatcher, Keith Joseph Memorial Lecture ("Liberty and Limited Government"), 11 January 1996

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Benjamin Disraeli (1804 – 1881) was a British Prime Minister, parliamentarian, Conservative statesman and literary figure. Starting from comparatively humble origins, he served in government for three decades, twice as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. Although his father had him baptised to Anglicanism at age 12, he was nonetheless Britain's first and thus far only Prime Minister who was born into a Jewish family—originally from Italy. He played an instrumental role in the creation of the modern Conservative Party after the Corn Laws schism of 1846.

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