RE: The Two Sides of the Coin - The Act Settlement of 1701

You are viewing a single comment's thread:

It is sad when such mere connotations so overshadow a words actual etymology and definition that Conservatism, which originally referred to conserving the rights and liberties free societies acknowledge, now is considered to be nothing more than Fascism. Likewise Liberalism, which originally referred to the civil rights of free people and the necessity to tolerate the decisions free people themselves make of how to mutually conduct their personal lives.

I have long considered my self to be a Classical Liberal intent on conserving the rights and liberty free societies protect.

I am neither a Conservative nor a Liberal by the modern understanding of those terms.

I read Locke when still a child. It was formative for me, as one of the first philosophical works I was acquainted with I found both understandable in the main, and just as agreeable. Later, my read of Paine bore that same patina of agreeable rationality.


I agree that the etymology of words is extremely important. When the meaning of a word changes all of the propositions that depend on the term become invalid.

The term liberal has been in use since antiquity. The term "liberal arts" referred to a curriculum based on the trivium. The three legs of the trivium are "grammar, logic and rhetoric." The ideas associated with the term liberal were important in the Roman Republic, the Florentine Republic, the English Parliament and US Republic.

I think it is a great word.

The term "conservative" in politics has a very clean etymology. The picture shows the ngram of "conservative" from 1750 to present. I show both the capitalized and lower case version of the word to emphasize a point.

The term "conservative" became prominent in the English lexicon in the 1830s when the Tory Party rebranded as the "Conservative Party."

The capitalized version was popular because it was a "brand."

The ideology called "Conservatism" is the ideology of The Conservative Party.

I think it is important to have brand names for political parties. Political parties routinely change their position on issues.

The organizing principles of the Conservative Party were written in a document called "The Tamworth Manifesto." The Tamworth Manifesto states that a primary goal of the party was the maintain the supremacy of the established church. The established church of England is the Anglican Church.

I suspect that the Conservative Party took its name from "Le Senat Conservateur." The Senat Conservateur was the group that allowed Napoleon to crown himself king.


The meaning of the term "conservative" will be relative to the current political situation.

The term "conservative" is dangerous because it is relative. What is the group trying to conserve? In most cases, people are trying to conserve the social order or the supremacy of a religion.

The Conservative Party became the dominant party in England.

The idea that Liberalism means socialism came about in the early 1900s when the Liberal Party of England formed a coalition with the Labour Party. The coalition was led by Lloyd George and introduced a young Liberal named Winston Churchill.

The coalition fell apart because socialism is illiberal. Conservatives took to calling members of the Labour Party "liberal."

Hegel used the term "sublate" to describe the way that terms change over time and often turn into their opposites.

Modern liberalism came out of this partisan mess.

As for Fascism

The kings of England were German. Kaiser Wilhelm II was the grandson of Queen Victoria of England. The German Empire had developed a political philosophy based on the English Conservative Party. The Conservatives of Germany were advanced the idea of an empire. This would not be far from the ideas of Napoleon who used the term "conservative"

The fascist parties that sprang up after WW I were based on the basic structure of the German Conservative Party.

The term "conservative' entered the American political lexicon after World War II. This is where people developed the idea that conservatism is about conserving the liberties of the people.

The etymology of conservative is a little bit cleaner than "liberal."

To an extent the American use of the term "conservative" is radically different from the way that the Tories used the term conservative in the 1830s. The Tories were the people who fought against the US Revolution. When the Republican Party adopted the term "conservative" the party adopted a term created by the enemies of the US Founders.

Of course, partisan definitions will change with the policy positions of the parties. Every conservative movement is relative to the thing the movement wants to conserve. Al Qaeda and the Taliban are actually conservative movements. They want to conserve a radical form of Islam.

Posted via


What a wonderful exegesis and contribution to my grasp of history. I have often wondered at the visceral antipathy people have to the words conservative and liberal, and it is my lack of understanding of English history that caused me to not understand. I have not previously grasped that my understanding of conservative as meaning the retention of human rights was not shared by folks who oppose conserving the power of the Anglican Church, for example, and you explanation has struck me like an epiphany.



The three things that floored me in my study of Partisan History was the fact that the Kings of England were German. Royalists funded the universities that produced Kant, Hegel and that group. This is probably why these ideologies tend to dictatorships.

The second thing that floored me was that the Tories rebranded their party as the Conservative Party. The Tories were the people who fought against the Revolution.

Conservatives in America are supporting the ideology of the people who fought against the US Founders in the Revolutionary War.

The last thing that astounded me was that the Liberal Party and the Republican Party were both founded in 1850s and had a similar platform.

The Republican Party was the Liberal Party and the Democratic Party was the Conservative Party up until the Civil Rights Movement.

The reason we equate the terms "liberal" and "socialism" is simply that the Liberal Party fell apart and Conservatives took to calling members of the Labour Party "Liberal."

The Politicians destroyed our lexicon.