Modern conservatism in America
American political thought and ideologies are firmly embedded in traditions. Family traditions have always been upheld in the United States of America (USA). This traditional thought process and the upholding of American history have almost gained iconic status in the United States. Modern American politics developed through numerous political upheavals like the American Revolution, the Civil War, and the Civil Rights Movement. All of these political upheavals have laid the foundation of modern American politics. International incidents like World War II also helped to shape the American political atmosphere. This has made Americans both conservative and progressive. Although it sounds paradoxical, it forms the framework of modern American conservatism.
Moreover, different types of modern conservatism are still existent in modern America. The primary ideology of modern American Conservatism and some of the types of this ideology are as follows:
What is modern conservatism in America
Despite the socio, political, and economic changes across the world, the people of the United States of America (USA) strongly believe in their roots and traditions. They put faith in the traditions that made the USA what it is today. However, it would be wrong to presume that American politics is not modern and progressive. Even the traditional thought processes of the American have undergone numerous changes and become contemporary and modern. This has led to the development of a new and innovative political thought process that has come to be known as 'modern conservatism.' Modern conservatism in America comprises contemporary political ideologies like individualism, anti-labor union, and pro-capitalism. However, even if these notions are quite modern, yet these ideas do not oppose the moral core of traditional American politics like equality, social justice, and personal liberty. Thus, this combination of both modern and conservative philosophies developed the notion of modern American Conservatism.
The American Constitution has undergone nearly twenty-seven amendments since it became operative in the year 1789. These amendments were made to make the Constitution more progressive and modern. Yet there are rules in place that make it impossible to change the core moral value of the Constitution. For example, the American Constitution upholds personal liberty and human rights. The Boston Tea Party and the American Revolution laid the foundation of a free and independent America. The American Independence meant that the European settlers would be governing themselves without any interference from the British Crown.
Additionally, they effectively overthrew a monarchical and feudal form of governance. When the Americans began agitating against the British Crown and decided to declare that the Americans are free of British rule, it became evident that an egalitarian government would be formed in America. This was the philosophy and the spirit of the American Constitution. The conservatism political ideology seeks to uphold this philosophy of the Constitution. They believe that all men are born equal and should be able to enjoy equal rights in the eye of the law. They believe that personal liberty should be vindicated at all costs. Moral and individual freedoms and liberties are quintessential of the American Constitution. Hence, modern American Constitutional Conservatism is embedded in the philosophy and framework of the American Constitution but has progressive motives as well.
This form of conservatism seeks to reduce government spending. Fiscal conservatism also aims at reducing the burden of tax on the common man as well as big corporations. Although this is a contemporary concept, it is also embedded in the American philosophy of capitalism. The entire American economy is pro-capitalism and anti-communism. As per this philosophy, the right to work with dignity is one of the fundamental rights of all human beings. The modern conservatives wish to uphold this philosophy. One of the methods of nurturing a pro-capitalist economy would be by giving tax benefits to business enterprises.
Similarly, reducing the tax burden on the common man means he will have more money on hand to spend. Subsequently, this will improve the standard of living of the Americans. This economic and political ideology has helped improve the American economy extensively. It is embedded in the policy of fiscal conservatism that deficit spending should be avoided. This also means that the government must create balanced budgets so that it does not overspend and exceed the budgetary constraints. This form of conservatism has proved to be beneficial and helped the USA emerge as the most robust economy in the world. Additionally, this policy is embedded in the philosophy that government spending should be done only for the welfare of the people. Hence, it is a conservative notion, and since it deals with budget and money, it is called fiscal conservatism.
Religious conservatism or Christian conservatism
The dominant religion in the USA is Christianity, and as a religion, it upholds family values. In Christianity, the family is considered to be an essential unit of society. Hence, the traditional value system, beliefs, and family structure must be preserved. The proponents of this form of conservatism believe in the preservation of traditional family values. However, this conservatism has also become progressive over the years. But the core idea of this social ideology lies in the conservation of conventional familial bonds and structure. The Americans strongly believe in preserving the culture that has been handed down to them over generations. A significant part of this culture is to strengthen family values. A substantial portion of it is taken from Christian theology that believes that family begins with the union of a man and woman in holy matrimony. Any other form of association is unacceptable by the proponents of this particular political ideology.
Thus, modern American conservatism deals with various aspects of the American political ideologies. Although the nation is a progressive and modern one, its people strongly believe in preserving their traditions and culture. A manifestation of this desire of contemporary American men and women can be found in the recent developments and changes that have been brought to the modern conservatism in American political ideology.
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Author: Frank Taylor