Talk:Essay:Best New Conservative Words

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Some suggestions

How about 'responsibility' (1737) and 'self-discipline' (1838)? MikeSalter 08:58, 10 January 2009 (EST)

Superb ideas!!! Fantastic. Please add them. I have some that will add also.--Andy Schlafly 09:19, 10 January 2009 (EST)

The list is good, but it doesn't say why they are conservative words. Perhaps something could be added related to this? Also, I have a suggestion: 'Rags to Riches'? *Hopeful* ETrundel 11:13, 10 January 2009 (EST)

What are the criteria for "conservative words" (as distinct from "liberal words"?) Reg32Idaho 14:10, 10 January 2009 (EST)

As per "radar", I suggest "sonar" and "laser" (also acronyms, from similar domain), and "radio".

(edit conflict) Words that express more precisely a conservative concept, or criticize more effectively a liberal characteristic. I'm going to insert Mike Salter's suggestions above, for example, and feel free to add your own.
The distribution of the words as a function of time (and perhaps what was happening at the time) will become illuminating.--Andy Schlafly 14:20, 10 January 2009 (EST)
P.S. I don't see sonar, laser and radio as adding any conservative insight.--Andy Schlafly 14:20, 10 January 2009 (EST)
Understood. But "radar" does? Reg32Idaho 14:27, 10 January 2009 (EST)
Yes, because it was the first and it has broader use than your other example.--Andy Schlafly 14:28, 10 January 2009 (EST)
I understand precedence going to the earliest word, but don't see how "radar" expresses more precisely a conservative concept, or criticizes more effectively a liberal characteristic. Reg32Idaho 14:33, 10 January 2009 (EST)
Your point is well-taken, and I agree this is borderline. However, I would still say that "radar" is a conservative concept/insight that is used effectively to convey a powerful conservative idea. Let's see what others think before deleting it.--Andy Schlafly 14:57, 10 January 2009 (EST)
Well, RADAR was created in Britain just before WW2 - indeed, it was one of the reasons why Britain defeated the Luftwaffe in the Battle of Britain. So I'm not really sure why it's on a list of American Conservative words when Britain is highly liberal by comparison to America. Also, I added one - 'self-determination'. ETrundel 15:13, 10 January 2009 (EST)

Frankly, I'm confused. I normally think of "radar" (in the non-scientific sense) as meaning perception. "In the public's radar" means "something the public notices." Is there a different conservative conception of the word? - Rod Weathers 15:14, 10 January 2009 (EST)
The inclusion of "radar" is debatable, but essentially it is a powerful self-defense mechanism conceptually analogous to the Reagan's concept of SDI and the Second Amendment, which liberals loathed.--Andy Schlafly 16:49, 10 January 2009 (EST)

Here's two:

  • pro-life (1976, though I'd prefer a better citation since the quote they have underneath is very anti-conservative.)
  • normalcy (1920 in the Conservative sense, although dated back to 1857 in a mathematical sense. In a rare glimmer of unbiased truth on a political subject, the WP article even states: "Furthermore, the concept apparently encapsulated what Americans wanted, since he was elected president over his Democratic opponent James Cox by the greatest margin since the popular vote was introduced.")

-Foxtrot 14:40, 10 January 2009 (EST)

Fantastic suggestions, both of them. Very insightful.--Andy Schlafly 14:57, 10 January 2009 (EST)

"elitism" (1947) - Seems to be used much more widely with this last election campaign. Reg32Idaho 15:26, 10 January 2009 (EST)

Conversely, "populism" and "grassroots," which have formed an important basis of conservative politics since 1980 (earlier?) - Rod Weathers 17:17, 10 January 2009 (EST)
"grassroots" is a good suggestion, and I just added it. "populism" is not a term used particularly by conservatives; nor does it yield any conservative insight that I am aware of.--Andy Schlafly 17:40, 10 January 2009 (EST)
Seriously? Populism is used continually to refer to Reagan, and more recently, George Bush and Sarah Palin, as they seek to speak for the "people" as opposed to "elites." Strikes me as deeply conservative. - Rod Weathers 17:44, 10 January 2009 (EST)
I don't doubt that liberals, the media, history books, and a diversity other people use the term. I doubt that any of the conservatives you mention, or any other conservatives, use the term much. It would be easy for you to prove me wrong, if I were wrong. I don't see anything conservative or insightful about the term. Majority rules? That's a mundane, almost meaningless concept at best. It begs the question of what the majority thinks at a particular time, which of course is very fickle.--Andy Schlafly 17:59, 10 January 2009 (EST)
Pat Buchanan calls himself a populist (though it notes Goldwater and Reagan would not use the term). [1] Rove calls Bush a populist on taxation [2]. I suppose there are two different concepts of the word: first, the classical "majority rules" idea which was rejected by the founding fathers in favor of checks and balances, and second, the modern term, conservative "populism," which refers to deriving your power from the people and relying on widely and deeply held conservative Christian values (example would be Palin's emphasis on the "real America" and blue collar workers) as opposed to deriving your power from intellectuals and media magnates. - Rod Weathers 18:21, 10 January 2009 (EST)
Phyllis Schlafly refers to the Goldwater ideology as populist, and she'd know! [3] - Rod Weathers 18:31, 10 January 2009 (EST)
The word populist has a far better tone than the word populism. Similarly, the word fundamentalist has a far better tone than fundamentalism. In political contexts, these are four completely different words. --RickD 18:32, 10 January 2009 (EST)
The problem comes when liberals attempt to use the terms as smears, and we stop using them as a result. I for one am proud to call myself a fundamentalist, and I know many other who feel the same way. - Rod Weathers 18:35, 10 January 2009 (EST)
Me too. I take pride in saying I believe in fundamentalism. All would agree that -ism added to almost any word gives it a negative tone, yes? For example, "science + t + ism = scientism" and scientism always refers to a bad set of science-related ideas. --RickD 18:42, 10 January 2009 (EST)

(Unindent) You have a point there. But now you have liberals calling muslim terrorists "fundamentalist muslims," to try to paint us with the same brush. - Rod Weathers 18:54, 10 January 2009 (EST)

The cites above are interesting but inconclusive. RickD's point in distinguishing "populist" from "populism" is superb. None of the above cites refer to "populism" in a conservative or even favorable light.--Andy Schlafly 19:00, 10 January 2009 (EST)


Andy, do you have a cite for the earlier attestation of "pro-life" than the one I provided? I think it's great that you've found a date that predates Roe v. Wade. -Foxtrot 18:38, 10 January 2009 (EST)


It's not an English word; it's Greek. The claim is hardly "Silly," ASchlafly. But given your other claims on the page, IE that "quote mining" A: is a word and B: Was never invented, I guess I can forgive you for thinking that. RaymondS 00:04, 11 January 2009 (EST)

Use of the Adjective "New"

Is "new" the right word to be using for terms that originated in the 1600's and 1700's? `I'm not saying they should be removed from the list, but referring to them as "new" implies that they were originated with the modern conservative movement. Maybe these should be referred to as Powerful or Significant conservative words, which makes their date of origin irrelevant. --DinsdaleP 12:10, 11 January 2009 (EST)


I used the Oxford English Dictionary to correct the years of origin for some conservative words--Saxplayer 12:45, 11 January 2009 (EST)

You made a mess of the entry. For example, the date you inserted for "conservative" is not for the political sense used here. Now I have to clean up your mess ....--Andy Schlafly 13:13, 11 January 2009 (EST)


This may be a cultural/linguistic difference, but in the UK 'spiritualism' has a very specific meaning, of belief in communication with the dead. This was very popular in the early twentieth century, even Conan Doyle was a believer, but has since abated, though there are spiritualist 'churches' and mediums around. I would have said that 'spirituality' was the opposite of materialism, or 'religious feeling', 'religiosity', 'belief'. MikeSalter 13:10, 11 January 2009 (EST)

Not a cultural difference, but a plurality of definitions. Spirit-conjuring charlatans like to use the term, but in a philosophic context, ti's opposed to materialism. A similar opposite is "idealism," which also a number of unrelated non-philosophical definitions. - Rod Weathers 13:17, 11 January 2009 (EST)