Sunday, December 05, 2004

am I a conservative?

Andrew Stuttaford quotes the following from an email
"... Conservatism, as I see it, is ultimately about acknowledging and respecting the lessons of experience in shaping and preserving the social, political, and economic institutions that make a society "work." ...
I've read things like this before, and the most striking thing about it is that by this quite reasonable definition, I'm not much of a conservative.

I do think there are good reasons to respect tradition, but I have no compunction about overthrowing long-standing traditions that I find repugnant. Honor killings are one example. There may be good social effects of such extreme intolerance of sex outside of marriage that it carries an automatic death sentence, whether voluntary or not. It may be very effective in keeping marriage strong and families intact. And it certainly carries the weight of long tradition in some parts of the world. But it is a repugnant practice and I want it ended. Tradition can bite me.

I think the only real description for my point of view is liberal-in-the-old-sense. I believe in liberty. I believe that people should not use force on other people except in self-defense or the defense of others. And I think the government is just a bunch of people, so they should follow the same restrictions.

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