What are the positive qualities of conservatives


[lat.] K. (also: conservatism) is a political worldview that emphasizes the strengths of tradition, preserves or strengthens the prevailing political order and protects the given distribution of power and wealth from criticism. The three most important principles of K. are therefore identity, security and continuity.

The political K. is of anti-modern origin; it emerged as a counter-movement to the ideas of the Enlightenment and the principles of reason and criticism. Against this, the K. relies on the consolidation and priority of faith and an associated (divine or secular) order which (in contrast to the demand for equality in the French Revolution (French Revolution)) emphasizes the hierarchical element (E. Burke ). From a conservative point of view, societies form an organic whole in which individuals and social groups have to perform their various tasks for the benefit of all, and society as a whole is held together by habits and customs. In this respect, an order of the top and bottom (in which an elite is just as necessary as the middle and lower classes) is a necessary social condition for K. Progress and change are not fundamentally excluded, but initially require general approval and approval. Despite all the diversity, a positive relationship with dealing with and exercising power is an essential element of conservative thinking. Two main trends can be identified, which differ in the different assessments of the role of the state and the individual:

1) In continental Europe, the (possibly authoritarian) state plays a central, positively valued role. Conservative orderliness is directed towards him, he is the "natural" place of political power and decision-making and ultimately has to take on social responsibility.

2) In Anglo-American K., the individual (possibly creating order himself) plays the central, positively valued role, which is reinforced by national identity and national symbols (as an expression of common values ​​and goals). In contrast, the state is viewed negatively as the embodiment of anonymous power and lack of freedom. Security is the result of individual strength and assertiveness; individual responsibility and private economic principles are positively associated with the K.

The specific dt. K. was decisively influenced by two political results of the term of office O. v. Bismarck's coined: a) He defused the fundamental conflict between economic liberalism and the labor movement (i.e. the social question) by banning social democracy (socialist laws) and building a (insofar conservative) social and welfare state (social legislation, social security). b) Furthermore, he succeeded in deciding the traditional (in FRA e.g. since the French Revolution, in the USA constitutionally decided) conflict between church (churches) and state for supremacy in society in favor of the latter (Kulturkampf).

The permanent solution of these central social conflicts secured the authority of the anti-liberal state in DEU (long term) and essentially consolidated the conservative state idea. The democratic institutions in DEU were therefore established relatively late and (with the end of the First World War) in a crisis situation. The German K. supported the democracy of the Weimar Republic only in the short stability phase, otherwise tended towards authoritarian solutions and in 1933 voted for the Enabling Act. Despite participating in the resistance (towards the end of National Socialism), the K. had little importance after the Second World War. The rapid development of the Christian Democratic Union (Christian Democratic Union of Germany (CDU)) and Christian Social Union (Christian Social Union (CSU)) to popular parties that took up the conservative element, but with the Christian-social ones, also contributed to this , economically liberal and especially the technically progressive currents. Today, also due to the long term of office of (moderately) conservative governments, the German K. supports the democratic institutions.
See also:
Political order
French Revolution
Labor movement
Social security
World war
Weimar Republic
National Socialism
Christian Democratic Union of Germany (CDU)
Christian Social Union (CSU)

Source: Schubert, Klaus / Martina Klein: Das Politiklexikon. 7th, updated and exp. Edition Bonn: Dietz 2020. Licensed edition Bonn: Federal Agency for Civic Education.