What is conservatism?

The true definition of a philosophy is ultimately determined by the consensus of the intellectuals that help to shape that philosophy. Political philosophies are one of the most open and mailable schools of thought one can imagine. At any given moment, the definition of conservatism is being debated by thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of scholars, politicians, comities, constituencies, and activists. The fact that bloggers are now part of the conservative equation should be some indication of just how wide open the door is when it comes to compiling an answer.

Part of the trouble of composing a true definition for exactly what conservatism is is the sheer variety in definitions depending on who you ask. It differs from place to place. Ask a Cuban or a Columbian what a conservative is and you’ll get a completely different answer than if you ask a Frenchman or a German what conservatism is and yet another answer from a Japanese man or a Korean. Even in America, the definition of conservatism differs dramatically. Ask Ron Paul what conservatism is and you’ll get a completely different answer than you would if you were to ask Mike Huckabee — and Sean Hannity would bash them both. The truth is that the definition of conservatism evolves and changes.

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