27 Apr 2012

The roots of conservatism

While on the Shetland Islands (source of my surname but not my family), I thought a little bit about life on distant islands.

These people needed to be self-reliant because their connections to other places were so unstable. Sometimes the "regular" supply boat would not show up, sometimes a passing boat would sink, delivering a windfall of goodies.

In most cases, they needed to be careful with their resources, since rescues and bailouts were neither certain nor cheap. (Compare that perspective with Italians and Greeks who have had easy access to food and trade for millennia.)

That's why Scots and other people in harsh environments (including farmers!) hesitate to trust others, embrace "good" ideas, etc.

That's why most of these people practice what they preach: Don't live beyond your means because you can't borrow your way out of a shortage.

Please give me your thoughts on the origins and impacts of conservatism? As opposed to what "Conservatives" (Republicans, Tories, et al.) say?