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80 of 6,095 quotations related to Conservatism

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Arendt, Hannah
The most radical revolutionary will become a conservative the day after the revolution.

1968 - from On Revolution
Bartley, Robert L.
The big temptation to conservatives, and especially conservative intellectuals, is self-realizing pessimism. As many rising movements have discovered, it is easier to tear down than build. Conservatism in particular, in its view of human nature and in its recent historical experience, has a strong pessimistic strain. Sometimes conservatives seem unhappy unless they are losing. They need to guard against seizing on a few receding waves as evidence that the tide has turned against them.

Feb. 09, 1997 - from a collection of essays published under the title "On the Future of Conservatism" by Commentary magazine
Bierce, Ambrose
Conservative: a statesman who is enamoured of existing evils, as distinguished from the Liberal, who wishes to replace them with others.

1906 - from The Devil's Dictionary
Borges, Jorge Luis
I am a conservative man, something which is in itself a confession of pessimism.

Bork, Robert
What we sense is that something has gone very wrong with America's moral and social infrastructure. Our real problem is the cultural revolution that swept America in the '60s. That is not to say that economic issues are not important, but that the cultural and social issues are far more important to Americans. We must re-fight the [cultural] battles we lost in the '60s. The counter-march will not be easy; but if conservatism is to live, we must do it.

Oct. 01, 1997 - from a speech to the International Conservative Congress in Washington
Buckley, William F.
Conservatism is the politics of reality.

attributed
Carlyle, Thomas
All great peoples are conservative; slow to believe in novelties; patient of much error in actualities; deeply and forever certain of the greatness that is in law, in custom once solemnly established, and now long recognized as just and final.

1843 - from Past and Present
Chesterton, Gilbert K.
The business of Progressives is to go on making mistakes. The business of Conservatives is to prevent mistakes from being corrected.

Apr. 19, 1924 - from a column in the Illustrated London News
He is a very shallow critic who cannot see an eternal rebel in the heart of a conservative.

from Varied Types
Coolidge, Calvin
We make no concealment of the fact that we want wealth, but there are many other things we want much more. We want peace and honor, and that charity which is so strong an element of all civilization.

Jan. 17, 1925 - from a speech to the American Society of Newspaper Editors



Crombie, David  
Canadians live with liberal rhetoric, but we conduct our lives as social conservatives.

1982 - quoted in Radical Tories, by Charles Taylor
D'Souza, Dinesh
... the liberal's operating impulse seems to begin with indignation, a sense of passion, a sense of outrage. A lot of sentences begin, "I' m shocked and appalled." Whereas the conservative's operating impulse seems to be cynicism, kind of a chuckle or a horse laugh.

Jan. 1995 - from "Forbidden Thoughts", a discussion published in American Enterprise by the American Enterprise Institute
... the conservative view of the world, because it expects less of human nature, is less indignant, and thus less susceptible to the kind of manic enforcement of taboos that we are beginning to see in American intellectual life and on campus. If you think that human nature is perfectible, you are much more upset if you see deviation.

Jan. 1995 - from "Forbidden Thoughts", a discussion published in American Enterprise by the American Enterprise Institute
Davidson, Donald
... modern [conservatives] prefer to grasp the particular. They want something to engage both their reason and their love. They distrust the advice of John Dewey to 'use the foresight of the future to refine and expand present activities.' ... They are learning how to meet the subtlest and most dangerous foe of humanity - the tyranny that wears the mask of humanitarianism and benevolence. They are attacking Leviathan.

1938 - from The Attack on Leviathan
Emerson, Ralph Waldo
There is always a certain meanness in the argument of conservatism, joined with a certain superiority in its fact.

Fisher, Douglas  
The media has trumpeted the invariable failure of 'social conservatism' in Eastern Canada, but this overlooks the history of the country's public opinion, and the way it can sway from one pole to another.

Dec. 17, 2000 - from "It couldn't happen here, could it?", published by Sun Media
Frum, David  
... conservatives, much more than liberals, are worried about the problem of how do you reconcile democracy, and not just institutional democracy but the real feeling that the mass of the people should rule, with other values that are important. That is a thing that conservatives worry about a lot: How do you reconcile it with liberty and respect for property and respect for traditional religious values?

Oct. 30, 1994 - from an interview on the C-SPAN program Booknotes
There are large and continuing divisions among conservatives. In my view, the gravest and most intractable of them involve issues of nationality, such as immigration, trade, and America's overseas commitments. Compared to those splits, the disagreements between religious or cultural conservatives and economic conservatives loom small.

Feb. 09, 1997 - from a collection of essays published under the title "On the Future of Conservatism" by Commentary magazine
Economic conservatives of a certain sort get all twitchy when social conservatives nag them about the break-up of the family. Sophisticated people want to talk about capital formation and the deficit; they imagine that it is only the Savonarolas who would fret about divorce, illegitimacy, and the dwindling vitality of marriage and family in America. In fact, however, the cultural changes that worry social conservatives are likely to make it much more difficult for economic conservatives to win elections in the years ahead. What constituency can there be for Social Security reform and reductions in the welfare functions of government in a society where an ever-rising proportion of the female electorate -- which is 52 percent of the total electorate -- has come to depend on Social Security and welfare?

Feb. 09, 1997 - from a collection of essays published under the title "On the Future of Conservatism" by Commentary magazine
Gairdner, William D.  
[The true conservative is] prepared to defend the full range of natural differences that arise from the free expression of talent and effort in each human being, and thus will refuse in principle to forcibly equalize society. He generally seeks local solutions to human problems rather than any homogenizing state action. He is naturally anti-egalitarian, and finds poisonous and immoral the idea of forcibly levelling society, of trying to raise the weak by weakening the strong.

Sep. 01, 1997 - from "Conservatism in a Nutshell", published on The Canadian Conservative Forum



All government must be structured to protect man from his own worst proclivities. One manís cruelty is bad enough, but multiplied by millions it produces tyranny. Therefore, because we know there is a wide range of abilities and intelligence, virtues and vices, the raw will of the people as a whole needs to be tempered, or "filtered," by the experience and prudence of the best and wisest among us.

Sep. 01, 1997 - from "Conservatism in a Nutshell", published on The Canadian Conservative Forum
Gingrich, Newt
Conservatism in its modern form starts with [the] Magna Carta ... It comes down through the English civil war, is codified by John Locke, picked up by Jefferson and the other Founding Fathers, and enters the Declaration of Independence with the words that we are endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights. In this Anglo-American model, power comes from God to the citizen and is loaned by him to the state. In the European model, power comes from God to the King and is loaned by him to the citizen. This basic difference explains why [the American] Constitution begins: 'We, the people ...'

Nov. 01, 1997 - from a speech delivered at the International Conservative Congress, quoted by National Review Magazine
We're prepared to place our trust in the people to reshape the government. Our liberal friends place their trust in the government to reshape the people.

1998 - from a campaign rally speech
Gladstone, William E.
 Liberalism is trust of the people tempered by prudence; Conservatism is distrust of the people tempered by fear.

Grant, R.W.
Conservatives rail against the 'bad' art of [photographer Robert] Mapplethorpe or [performance artist Karen] Finley, and the debate quickly degenerates into a food fight over artistic taste. But the issue here is not bad art versus good art; the real issue is whether the individual should be compelled to support any art.

1999 - from The Incredible Bread Machine, published by Fox and Wilkes
Hazlitt, Henry
Every ... leftist calls himself a liberal! ... We are the true adherents of liberty. Both words--liberal and liberty--come from the same root. We are the ones who believe in limited government, in the maximization of liberty for the individual and the minimization of coercion to the lowest point compatible with law and order. It is because we are true liberals that we believe in free trade, free markets, free enterprise, private property in the means of production; in brief, that we are for capitalism and against socialism. Yet this is the philosophy, the true philosophy of progress, that is now called not only conservatism, but reaction, the Radical Right, extremism...

Nov. 29, 1964 - from "Reflections at 70", a speech to friends and admirers at the New York University Club on his 70th birthday
Huntington, Samuel
The impulse to conservatism comes from the social challenge before the theorist, not the intellectual tradition behind him. Men are driven to conservatism by the shock of events, by the horrible feeling that a society or an institution which they have approved of or taken for granted ... may suddenly cease to exist.

from his essay "Conservatism as an Ideology", published in American Political Science Review
Inge, William Ralph
There are two kinds of fools: one says, "This is old, therefore it is good"; the other says, "This is new, therefore it is better."

Kesler, Charles
The abandonment of natural right imperils both property rights and popular virtue, freedom and morality, limited government and good government. Unfortunately, many conservatives ... have renounced the central principles of the American founding, leaving conservatism in many respects almost indistinguishable from liberalism. If in the next century the United States is to regain its republican spirit and rescue constitutional government from its new nullifiers and secessionists, then the conservative movement will first have to rediscover what about America it is trying, after all, to conserve.

Jun. 08, 1998 - from his essay "What's Wrong With Conservatism"
Kirk, Russell
The twentieth-century conservative is concerned, first of all, for the regeneration of spirit and character -- with the perennial problem of the inner order of the soul, the restoration of the ethical understanding, and the religious sanction upon which any life worth living is founded. This is conservatism at its highest.

1953 - from The Conservative Mind



[The conservative believes] in a transcendent order, or body of natural law, which rules society as well as conscience.

1953 - from The Conservative Mind
The intelligent conservative combines a disposition to preserve with an ability to reform.

from The Intelligent Woman's Guide to Conservatism
[Conservatives have an] affection for the proliferating variety and mystery of human existence, as opposed to the narrowing uniformity, egalitarianism, and utilitarian aims of most radical systems.

1953 - from The Conservative Mind
[The conservative] thinks of political policies as intended to preserve order, justice, and freedom. The ideologue, on the contrary, thinks of politics as a revolutionary instrument for transforming society and even transforming human nature. In his march toward Utopia, the ideologue is merciless.

1993 - from The Politics of Prudence
First, the conservative believes that there exists an enduring moral order. That order is made for man, and man is made for it; human nature is a constant, and moral truths are permanent.

1993 - from "Ten Conservative Principles", in the second chapter of The Politics of Prudence
Second, the conservative adheres to custom, convention, and continuity.

1993 - from "Ten Conservative Principles", in the second chapter of The Politics of Prudence
Third, conservatives believe in what may be called the principle of prescription. ... Conservatives sense that modern people are dwarfs on the shoulders of giants, able to see farther than their ancestors only because of the great stature of those who have preceded us in time.

1993 - from "Ten Conservative Principles", in the second chapter of The Politics of Prudence
Fourth, conservatives are guided by their principle of prudence. Burke agrees with Plato that in the statesman, prudence is chief among virtues. Any public measure ought to be judged by its probable long-run consequences, not merely by temporary advantage or popularity.

1993 - from "Ten Conservative Principles", in the second chapter of The Politics of Prudence
Fifth, conservatives pay attention to the principle of variety. They feel affection for the proliferating intricacy of long-established social institutions and modes of life, as distinguished from the narrowing uniformity and deadening egalitarianism of radical systems.... The only true forms of equality are equality at the Last Judgment and equality before a just court of law; all other attempts at leveling must lead, at best, to social stagnation.

1993 - from "Ten Conservative Principles", in the second chapter of The Politics of Prudence
Sixth, conservatives are chastened by their principle of imperfectibility.... To seek for utopia is to end in disaster.... All that we reasonably can expect is a tolerably ordered, just, and free society, in which some evils, maladjustments, and suffering will continue to lurk. By proper attention and prudent reform, we may preserve and improve this tolerable order.... The ideologues who promise the perfection of man and society have converted a great part of the twentieth-century world into a terrestrial hell.

1993 - from "Ten Conservative Principles", in the second chapter of The Politics of Prudence



Seventh, conservatives are persuaded that freedom and property are closely linked. Separate property from private possession, and Leviathan becomes master of all.

1993 - from "Ten Conservative Principles", in the second chapter of The Politics of Prudence
Eighth, conservatives uphold voluntary community, quite as they oppose involuntary collectivism.... In a genuine community, the decisions most directly affecting the lives of citizens are made locally and voluntarily. Some...are carried out by local political bodies, others by private associations: so long as they are kept local, and are marked by the general agreement of those affected, they constitute healthy community. But when these functions pass by default or usurpation to centralized authority, then community is in serious danger.

1993 - from "Ten Conservative Principles", in the second chapter of The Politics of Prudence
Ninth, the conservative perceives the need for prudent restraints upon power and upon human passions.... A state in which an individual or a small group are able to dominate the wills of their fellows without check is a despotism, whether it is called monarchical or aristocratic or democratic.

1993 - from "Ten Conservative Principles", in the second chapter of The Politics of Prudence
Tenth, the thinking conservative understands that permanence and change must be recognized and reconciled in a vigorous society.... The conservative knows that any healthy society is influenced by two forces, which Samuel Taylor Coleridge called its Permanence and its Progression.... He thinks that the liberal and the radical, blind to the just claims of Permanence, would endanger the heritage bequeathed to us, in an endeavor to hurry us into some dubious Terrestrial Paradise. The conservative, in short, favors reasoned and temperate progress; he is opposed to the cult of Progress, whose votaries believe that everything new necessarily is superior to everything old.

1993 - from "Ten Conservative Principles", in the second chapter of The Politics of Prudence
The best way to rear up a new generation of friends of the Permanent Things is to beget children, and read to them o' evenings, and teach them what is worthy of praise: the wise parent is the conservator of ancient truths. As Edmund Burke put it, 'We learn to love the little platoon we belong to in society.' The institution most essential to conserve is the family.

1993 - from The Politics of Prudence
Kristol, Irving
[Conservatism] Our revolutionary message ... is that a self-disciplined people can create a political community in which an ordered liberty will promote both economic prosperity and political participation.

1983 - from Reflections of a NeoConservative, Basic Books, New York
L'Amour, Louis
... even a rebel grows old, and sometimes wiser. He finds the things he rebelled against are now the things he must defend against newer rebels...

1984 - from The Walking Drum
Lippmann, Walter
The principles of the good society call for a concern with an order of being - which cannot be proved existentially to the sense organs - where it matters supremely that the human person is inviolable, that reason shall regulate the will, that truth shall prevail over error.

1955 - from The Public Philosphy
Lombardi, Vince
... the quality of each manís life is the full measure of that manís personal commitment to excellence and to victory... it teaches that work and sacrifice and perseverance and competitive drive and the selflessness, a respect for authority is the price that each and every one of us must pay to achieve any goal thatís worthwhile.

Jun. 22, 1970 - from his last public speech
MacIntyre, Alasdair
Liberalism is often successful in preempting the debate ... so that [objections to it] appear to have become debates within liberalism. ... So-called conservatism and so-called radicalism in these contemporary guises are in general mere stalking-horses for liberalism: the contemporary debates within modern political systems are almost exclusively between conservative liberals, liberal liberals, and radical liberals. There is little place in such political systems for the criticism of the system itself, that is, for putting liberalism in question.

1988 - from Whose Justice? Which Rationality?, Duckworth, London



Morton, William L.  
Finally there is what I would call the end of philosophic individualism, or the extinction of the true liberal. The radical survives, and the socialist, but the liberal who was an individualist, a nationalist, and an internationalist -- who was also, be it acknowledged, at his best a humanitarian, and a man of generous instincts and magnanimous mind -- that kind of liberal is gone with the top hat and the frock coat. The world is the poorer for his going, and it behoves conservatives to remember that they are in fact his residuary legatees, and that the liberal spirit now finds almost its sole dwelling place in conservative minds.

1982 - quoted in Radical Tories, by Charles Taylor
Moynihan, Daniel Patrick
Somehow Liberals have been unable to acquire from birth what Conservatives seem to be endowed with at birth: namely, a healthy skepticism of the powers of government to do good.

Feb. 15, 1969 - from an essay in the New York Post
Newman, Peter C.  
Conservatives usually prefer twin beds, which may contribute to the fact that Canada has more Liberals.

quoted in Columbo's New Canadian Quotations by John Robert Columbo
Nixon, Richard Milhouse
In assembling a staff, the conservative leader faces a greater problem than does the liberal. In general, liberals want more government and hunger to be the ones running it. Conservatives want less government and want no part of it. Liberals want to run other people's lives. Conservatives want to be left alone to run their own lives.... Liberals flock to government; conservatives have to be enticed and persuaded.

from Leaders
Norris, Kathleen
In any free society, the conflict between social conformity and individual liberty is permanent, unresolvable, and necessary.

O'Leary, Grattan  
Conservatism today, national humanistic conservative thought, has nothing to do with hard, implacable, unyielding dogmatism; it is beholden to neither big business, super patriots, nor to technological materialism; but is actually a form of dissent, skeptical of liberalism with one foot planted firmly in the clouds and asking itself what are the tolerable limits of the state's activity.

quoted in Columbo's New Canadian Quotations by John Robert Columbo
O'Rourke, P.J.
... charity is an axiom of conservatism. Charity is one of the great responsibilities of freedom. But, in order for us to be responsible - and therefore free - that responsibility must be personal.

O'Sullivan, John
The Tories have never been loved. When all is said and done, they are the party that specializes in telling unpleasant truths and dealing with intractable problems. Like the Republicans in the United States, the Tories are the stern "Daddy" party as opposed to the indulgent "Mommy" parties of Labour and the Democrats.

Jun. 6, 2001 - from "Time are too good for Britain's Tories", published in the National Post
Conservatives need to be reintroduced to ideas which they dimly recall but whose power and authority they have forgotten. One of those ideas is conservatism itself, since even some conservatives have been seduced by the notion of Thatcherism as an ideological project.

Feb. 16, 1999 - from his lecture to the Centre for Policy Studies in London, England
When a country is at ease with itself, conservatism is largely unnecessary. It will exist as a set of prudent maxims - existing institutions embody the wisdom of previous generations; prejudice, experience and habit are better guides than reason, logic and abstractions - but these will have little political purchase. When something like the French Revolution comes along, however, these maxims become vital political truths.

Feb. 16, 1999 - from his lecture to the Centre for Policy Studies in London, England



We seem to be in one of those periods, like America in the 1950s, when a general contented prosperity makes radicalism impossible and conservatism unnecessary. With nothing solid to fight against, conservatives have nothing particular to say. Or rather they have nothing general to say.

Feb. 16, 1999 - from his lecture to the Centre for Policy Studies in London, England
Conservatism is an ornery beast that hibernates in the summer and wakes up in winter. When political storms rage and radicals attack the fundamental institutions of society, then conservatism emerges angrily from its cave to do battle. But when the political climate is mild and pleasant as now ó with a rising Dow, low unemployment, moderate social policies like welfare reform, and no clear and present danger from abroad ó then conservatives either cultivate their gardens or, if they are philosophically minded, sit around in circles under the sun speculating on what the next battle will be about. The conservatism of the future is being shaped, debated, and tested in these circles today. What are these groups? What do they believe? And which among them is likely to prevail?

Oct. 11, 1999 - from the opening of "Types of Right: Why Conservatives Break Down", published in National Review
Pearlstein, Mitchell B.
The conservative movement has an acute ear for freedom. It needs to improve its ear for equity. The right must demonstrate as much interest as the left in questions of race, poverty, urban decay, and an issue that likely will continue to swell in salience over the next couple of years, that of growing income inequality, be it real or a by-rote liberal charge.

May 5, 1998 - from "The Conservative Movement: What Color For Its Tent?", published by the Center of the American Experiment
Reagan, Ronald Wilson
I believe the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism. I think conservatism is really a misnomer, just as liberalism is a misnomer for the liberals ... The basis of conservatism is a desire for less government interference or less centralized authority or more individual freedom, and this is a pretty general description also of what libertarianism is.

Jul. 01, 1975 - from an interview published in Reason Magazine
Salisbury, Lord
The perils of change are so great, the promise of the most hopeful theories is so often deceptive, that it is frequently the wiser part to uphold the existing state of things, if it can be done, even though, in point of argument, it should be utterly indefensible.

c. 1890 - quoted in A Question of Leadership, by P.Clarke, Harmondsworth : Penguin, 1991
Scruton, Roger
The autonomous individual is the product of practices which designate him as social. The individual man is the man who recognises that he is no mere individual ... Individual freedom is the great social artifact which, in trying to represent itself as nature alone, generates the myth of liberalism.

1984 - from The Meaning of Conservatism
The conservative philosophy of liberty proceeds from the conservative philosophy of authority, authority which is to be found in the social order.

1984 - from The Meaning of Conservatism
It is a remarkable fact that people recognise authority... in social arrangements, in institutions, and in the state. It is equally remarkable that this authority can command their allegiance... For conservatives, legitimacy is as much a matter of prejudice as it is of reason... The condition of society presupposes this general connivance, and a conservative will seek to uphold all those practices and institutions - among which, of course, the family is pre-eminent - through which the habits of allegiance are acquired.

1984 - from The Meaning of Conservatism
'The dogma of conservatism ... [is] startling and even offensive to many whose feelings it none the less quite accurately describes.

1984 - from The Meaning of Conservatism
Stelzer, Irwin
... conservatism is alive and well -- or perhaps merely alive. For it is threatened from without with death by 1,000 cuts, and from within by the willingness of some ... to expand the reach of the government they profess to distrust.

Feb. 1997 - from "On the Future of Conservatism", a symposium organized by Commentary Magazine



Stockman, David A.
Implicit in the conservatism of the Right is a profound regard for the complexity and fragility of the social and economic order; and a consequent fear that policy interventions may do more harm and injustice than good. By contrast, the activist impulses of the Left derive from the view that a free society is the natural incubator of ills and injustices. The Left assumes that society has an infinite capacity to absorb the changes it imposes on it.

1986 - from The Triumph of Politics
Thatcher, Margaret
I was brought up by a Victorian Grandmother. We were taught to work jolly hard. We were taught to prove yourself; we were taught self reliance; we were taught to live within our income. You were taught that cleanliness is next to Godliness. You were taught self respect. You were taught always to give a hand to your neighbour. You were taught tremendous pride in your country. All of these things are Victorian values. They are also perennial values. You donít hear so much about these things these days, but they were good values and they led to tremendous improvements in the standard of living.

1983 - LBJ Radio, quoted in As I Said to Denis: The Margaret Thatcher Book of Quotations, edited by Iain Dale
Conservative governments which increase taxation lose elections.

Dec. 22, 1997 - from a speech at the International Conservative Congress, as quoted in National Review
If I were to sum up the international conservative position today I would say it was sound but unimaginative. It is sound because there is no need for a fundamental re-thinking of basic principles, as had to happen in the 1970s. It is unimaginative because conservatives have been slow and timid in applying those principles to the new threats that face us today.

Dec. 22, 1997 - from a speech at the International Conservative Congress, as quoted in National Review Magazine
... conservatives applaud attachment to the values and institutions which unite us -- and that means promoting and protecting a sense of national identity.

Dec. 22, 1997 - from a speech at the International Conservative Congress, as quoted in National Review Magazine
Viereck, Peter
The conservative principles par excellence are proportion and measure; self-expression through self-restraint; preservation through reform, humanism and classical balance; a fruitful nostalgia for the permanent beneath the flux; and a fruitful obsession for unbroken historic continuity. These principles together create freedom, a freedom built not on the quicksand of adolescent defiance but on the bedrock of ethics and law ... The core and fire-center of conservatism, its emotional ťlan, is a humanist reverence for the dignity of the individual soul. This is incompatible with fascist or Stalinist collectivism; incompatible with a purely mechanistic view of man; incompatible with a purely economic view of history.

1949 - from Conservatism Revisited
Webster, Daniel
Liberty exists in proportion to wholesome restraint.

Will, George F.
Conservatives rightly associate the culture of gambling with habits of mind inimical to self-government. However, when they ascribe gambling's explosive growth to government's ravenousness for revenues, they neglect their possible complicity. An indiscriminate celebration of wealth, disassociated from concern for the moral worth of the ways of acquiring wealth, may help explain why gambling and conservatism have waxed simultaneously.

Jun. 27, 1999 - from his column "Gambler nation"
A determined assault on poverty is not only compatible with conservatism, but should be one of its imperatives in an urban, industrialized society.

from The Pursuit of Happiness and Other Sobering Thoughts
Wilson, James Q.
Without liberty, law loses its nature and its name, and becomes oppression. Without law, liberty also loses its nature and its name, and becomes licentiousness.