It's a misnomer, actually, but I wanted to pose a serious question.
What do Conservatives want to conserve?
Seriously. It occurred to me the other day when I was fuming about something or other that "Canada's New Government" did, or the stance of "The Conservative Party of Canada" that I didn't really know the answer.
So I thought about it. They're obviously not concerned about conserving energy, or resources in general. Especially Canada's Conservatives. Canada's conservatives might be interested, but if they vote for the Conservatives, then they don't. So they're not interested in conserving a viable economy or ecology.
Are they interested in conserving traditional values? Values like misogyny, xenophobia, homophobia, contempt for the poor, religious mania, senseless nationalism and other forms of bigotry? That seems closer to the truth. Many conservatives, based on rants caught on tape and revealed years later, or their back-door strategy to ban abortions, or their insistence on abstinence-only education, their resistance to mainstream biology, their wars of profit against brown people, their fanatic demonization of illegal aliens, their inability to reach out to minorities of all kinds, their constant claims that their "way of life" is under attack (which it is, and that's probably a good thing, because their way of life consisted of privelege for straight, white, Christian, rich men) and other behaviuors, that these values might be what they're mostly interested in preserving.
Are they interested in conserving money, and running a tight financial ship? Not in the States, certainly, and in Canada, Conservatives are riding the surpluses that the Liberals created to score cheap points with the electorate.
Are they interested in conserving government? Definitely not in the States, and it seems that our cons are following the lead on this one.
Are they interested in conserving the power of a ruling oligarchy? Fuck yes.
Are they interested in conserving an unsustainable economic model? Oh, fuck yeah.
Are they interested in conserving the model of a "traditional family" that has only existed for the last hundred years or so, and only in affluent societies? Is the pope a conservative in a funny hat?
Are they interested in conserving voter confidence and accountability? No fucking way.
It seems to me that conservatives are mostly interested in conserving what's worst for society at large: traditional values based on hate and fear, the power of a ruling elite, even in a democracy, and the political influence of corporations.
Conservation and conservatism are at odds. The conservatives need to change their name.