conservatism(redirected from Conservatist)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Financial.
See R. Kirk, The Conservative Mind (rev. ed. 1960); J. Habermas, The New Conservatism (1989); T. Honderich, Conservatism (1991); C. Robin, The Reactionary Mind (2011).
- any social and political doctrine which seeks to defend the institutions and social values of the existing order.
- any relatively stable set of POLITICAL ATTITUDES in support of the status quo, i.e. policies which seek to sustain or renovate rather than reconstruct the social fabric. As such, conservatism is the opposite of radicalism.
- support for the British Conservative Party. Conservative political ideology, in its modern forms, first manifested itself as a reaction to the French Revolution. Edmund Burke, in his Reflections on the French Revolution (1790), produced a classic statement in defence of the old order. His central argument was that the established social and political institutions should be defended because they existed; they had grown ‘organically’. Hence, they were a better guide to action than any theoretical construction, no matter how rational the latter may seem. Burke's ideas have provided a core theme. Conservatism has rarely been based on any overtly stated political philosophy, since the danger is that it could be regarded as ‘abstract’ and ‘ideological’.
adherence to all that is old, outmoded, and stagnant and hostility and opposition to progress and to everything that is new and progressive in society, science, technology, and art.