Article by Marquis Van De Mark
The basic tenets of conservative politics were first written by the philosopher John Locke, an English philosopher and physician who’s considered by many to be one of the founding fathers of modern thought. Locke was an atheist who believed in the supremacy of secular humanism – in other words, he believed that if humans were allowed to proceed unencumbered through life by either theocratic superstition or governmental interference, that we could achieve our greatest potential as citizens of the world. His theories were influential from Russia to the Americas, and had a profound impact upon the founding fathers of the united states, with special notation for his contributions to liberal theory.
And that’s the funny part: Conservative politics have their roots in liberal theory. Conservatism as it is now, of course, is not Locke’s conservatism at all, but that kind of irony tends to be lost on people who consider themselves conservatives.
Conservative politics these days are vastly different from Locke’s liberal theory, though of course most conservatives still pay lip service to the notion of non-interference from government interest. Of course, they do so for a different reason. Locke’s motivation was to produce a free and unencumbered people able to proceed through life on and by their own means, repressed by none and free to communicate with all.
Conservative politics today, on the other hand, focus on a lack of governmental interference in order to maintain the stratification of the classes. Government policies as a whole tend to be aimed toward things that will help the working and middle classes – stuff like jobs programs, health care, welfare, unemployment benefits and the like. These programs are pricey, but on balance they more than pay for themselves by providing jobs and training and helping the underclass gain some sort of enfranchisement.
Conservative politics tend to say they oppose that – and all government spending – in principle. However, you’ll find very few conservatives who oppose military spending, the bank bailout, or other governmental programs that favor big business. So they’re clearly not in tune with the principles that Locke put forth. They merely pick and choose the talking points that most favor themselves for their upcoming campaigns.
And that’s without even touching Locke’s other premise – that religion is superstition and god is a crutch used to oppress the working class. If you can find a single conservative in modern America who held those views, you’d have found literally one-in-a-million.
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