Social conservatism


Social conservatism is a
political philosophy Political philosophy or political theory is the philosophical Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, existence, knowledge Knowledge is a familiarity, awareness, or un ...

political philosophy
and variety of
conservatism Conservatism is an aesthetic Aesthetics, or esthetics (), is a branch of philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, Metaphysics, existence, Epistemology, kno ...
which places emphasis on traditional power structures over social pluralism. Social conservatism in North America rose in the early 19th century as a reaction against the perceived anti-Christian and anti-constitutional aspects of slavery, as articulated by
William Wilberforce William Wilberforce (24 August 175929 July 1833) was a British politician, philanthropist, and a leader of the movement to abolish the Atlantic slave trade, slave trade. A native of Kingston upon Hull, Yorkshire, he began his political career ...

William Wilberforce
Abraham Lincoln Abraham Lincoln (; February 12, 1809 – April 15, 1865) was an American statesman and lawyer who served as the 16th from 1861 until in 1865. Lincoln led the nation through the , the country's greatest moral, cultural, constitutional, and ...

Abraham Lincoln
. They also engaged with the economic insecurity of lower-class
Protestant Protestantism is a form of that originated with the 16th-century , a movement against what its followers perceived to be in the . Protestants originating in the Reformation reject the Roman Catholic doctrine of , but disagree among themselves ...
McCarthyism McCarthyism is the practice of making accusations of subversion Subversion (from the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken ...
and other challenges to social institutions. Social conservatives often promoted the organisation and politicisation of social issues. Sociologist
Harry F. Dahms Harry F. Dahms is Professor of Sociology, co-director of the Center for the Study of Social Justice and co-chair of the Committee on Social Theory at the University of Tennessee. Dahms's primary research and teaching areas are theoretical sociolog ...
suggests that social conservatism relates to a "commitment" to traditional values concerned with family structures, sexual relations, patriotism, gun ownership and Military invasion, military invasions, describing Christian doctrinal conservatives (Anti-abortion movement, anti-abortion, List of Christian denominational positions on homosexuality, anti-gay marriage) and gun-use conservatives (pro-NRA) as the two domains of ideology within. Social conservatives also value the rights of religious institutions to participate in the public sphere, thus supporting accommodationism, government-religious endorsement and opposing state atheism.

Social conservatism and other ideological views

Some social conservatives (such as George W. Bush and Michael Gerson) are otherwise free trade and market supporter on economic and fiscal issues. Social conservatives may sometimes support Economic interventionism, economic intervention where the intervention serves moral or cultural aims. Historian Jon Wiener has described social conservatism as historically the result of an appeal from "Elite, elitist preservationists" to lower-class workers to 'protect' wealth from immigration. Many social conservatives support a balance between protectionism and a free market. This concern for material welfare, like advocacy of traditional mores, will often have a basis in religion. Examples include the Christian Social Union of Bavaria, the Family First Party and Katter's Australian Party, and the Communitarianism, communitarian movement in the United States. There is more overlap between social conservatism and paleoconservatism, in that they both have respect for traditional social forms. Social conservatism is not to be confused with Economic interventionism, economically interventionist conservatism, where conservative ideas are combined with Keynesian economics and a welfare state, which is practised by some European conservatives, e.g. one-nation conservatism, one-nation conservatives in Britain or Gaullism, Gaullists in France.

Social conservatism by country


In Canada, social conservatism, though widespread, is not as prominent in the public sphere as social conservatism in the United States, in the United States. It is prevalent in all areas of the country but is seen as being more prominent in rural areas. It is also a significant influence on the ideological and political culture of the western provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and British Columbia. Compared to social conservatism in the United States, social conservatism has not been as influential in Canada. The main reason is that the neoconservative style of politics as promoted by leaders such as former Prime Ministers such as Paul Martin and Stephen Harper have focused on fiscal conservatism, with little or no emphasis on moral or social conservatism. Without a specific, large political party behind them, social conservatives have divided their votes and can be found in all political parties. Social conservatives often felt that they were being sidelined by officials in the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada and its leadership of so-called "Red Tories" for the last half of the twentieth century and therefore many eventually made their political home with parties such as the Social Credit Party of Canada and the Reform Party of Canada. Despite the Reform Party being dominated by social conservatives, leader Preston Manning, seeking greater national support for the party, was reluctant for the party to wholly embrace socially conservative values. This led to his deposition as leader of the party (now called Canadian Alliance) in favor of social conservative Stockwell Day. The party's successor, the Conservative Party of Canada, despite having a number of socially conservative members and cabinet ministers, has chosen so far not to focus on socially conservative issues in its platform. This was most recently exemplified on two occasions in 2012 when the current Conservative Party of Canada declared they had no intention to repeal same-sex marriage or abortion laws.

Islamic world

Most Muslim countries are somewhat more socially conservative (such as Tajikistan, Malaysia and Indonesia) than neighbouring countries that are not Muslim. However, due to their interpretation of Islamic law also known as Shariah, they have some differences from social conservatism as understood in the nations of West Europe, North America and Oceania. Many people believe that the Islamic type of conservatism is more a part of Conservatism, Religious conservatism than Social conservatism.

Arab world

The Arab world has recently been more conservative in social and moral issues due to the Arab Spring, Arab spring.


Hindu social conservatism

Hindu social conservatism in India in the twenty first century has developed into an influential movement. Represented in the political arena by the Right-wing politics, right-leaning Bharatiya Janata Party. Hindu social conservatism, also known as the Hindutva movement, is spearheaded by the voluntary non-governmental organisation Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. The core philosophy of this ideology is nativism (politics), nativism and sees Hinduism as a national identity rather than a religious one. Due to an inclination towards nativism (politics), nativism, much of its platform is based on the belief that Islamic and Christian denominations in India are the result of occupations, and therefore these groups should be uprooted from the Indian subcontinent by converting their members back to Hinduism. In terms of political positions, Hindu social conservatives in India seek to institutionalise a Uniform civil code of India, Uniform Civil Code (which is also a directive under Article 44 of the Constitution of India) for members of all religions, over the current scheme of different personal laws for different religions. For instance, polygamy is legal for Muslims in India but not Hindus.

Muslim social conservatism

There are several socially conservative Muslim organisations in India, ranging from groups such as the Indian Union Muslim League which aim to promote the preservation of Indian Muslim culture as a part of the nation's identity and history.

South Africa

Social conservatism had an important place in Apartheid South Africa ruled by the National Party (South Africa), National Party. Pornography, gambling and other activities that were deemed undesirable were severely restricted. The majority of businesses were forbidden from doing Sunday shopping, business on Sunday. Despite the legalisation of same-sex marriage and polygamy, in modern-day South Africa, the population remains heteronormative on issues such as homosexuality with 80% of the population against homosexuality.

United States

Social conservatism in the United States is a right-wing politics, right-wing political ideology that opposes progressivism, social progressivism. It is centered on the preservation of what adherents often call 'traditional' or 'family values', though the accepted aims of the movement often vary amongst the organisations it comprises, making it hard to generalise about ideological preferences. There are, however, a number of general principles to which at least a majority of social conservatives adhere, such as Anti-abortion movements, opposition to abortion and opposition to same-sex marriage. The Republican Party (United States), Republican Party is the largest political party with socially conservative ideals incorporated into its platform. Other socially conservative parties include the American Solidarity Party, the Constitution Party (United States), Constitution Party and the Prohibition Party. Social conservatives are strongest in the South, where they are a mainstream political force with aspirations to translate those ideals using the party platform nationally. In recent decades, the supporters of social conservatism played a major role in the political coalitions of Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush.

Other areas

There are also Social Conservative movements in many parts of the world (in Latin America, East Europe, Balkans, Caucasus, Central Europe, Mediterranean countries, Southeast Asia, Oceania, etc).

List of social conservative political parties


*Prosperous Armenia


* Democratic Labour Party (Australia), Democratic Labour Party * Katter's Australian Party * Pauline Hanson's One Nation * Liberal Party of Australia * National Party of Australia


* Freedom Party of Austria * Austrian People's Party * Christian Party of Austria


* Christen-Democratisch en Vlaams (Christian democracy, Christian democrat) * New-Flemish Alliance (Flemish Movement, Nationalist) * Vlaams Belang (Flemish Movement, Nationalist) * Humanist Democratic Centre

Bosnia and Herzegovina

* Alliance of Independent Social Democrats


* Alliance for Brazil * Social Christian Party (Brazil), Social Christian Party * Brazilian Labour Renewal Party


* GERB * IMRO – Bulgarian National Movement * Bulgarian Socialist Party

Czech Republic

*Christian and Democratic Union – Czechoslovak People's Party


*Danish People's Party

El Salvador

*Nuevas Ideas *Nationalist Republican Alliance


*Conservative People's Party of Estonia, Conservative People's Party *Estonian Reform Party

Faroe Islands

* Centre Party (Faroe Islands), Centre Party


* True Finns * Christian Democrats (Finland), Christian Democrats


* Movement for France * National Rally * The Republicans (France), The Republicans


* Alternative for Germany * Family Party of Germany * Alliance C – Christians for Germany


*Alliance of Patriots of Georgia


* Greek Solution * Independent Greeks * New Democracy (Greece) * Other small parties


* Hungarian Justice and Life Party * Fidesz * Christian Democratic People's Party (Hungary) * Jobbik


* Bharatiya Janata Party * Indian Union Muslim League * Shiv Sena * Maharashtra Navnirman Sena * National People's Party (India), National People's Party * Indian National Congress


* Prosperous Justice Party * Gerindra


* Aontú * Renua Ireland * Fine Gael * Fianna Fail


* Shas * Agudat Yisrael * Degel HaTorah * The Jewish Home, The Jewish Home - HaBayit HaYehudi * Tkuma (political party), National Union - Tkuma * Noam (political party), Noam * Otzma Yehudit * New Hope (Israel), New Hope * Likud


* The People of Family (''Il Popolo della Famiglia'') * Christian Italy (''Italia Cristiana'') * Union of the Centre (2002), Union of the Centre * Lega Nord * Brothers of Italy * National Movement for Sovereignty * Diventerà Bellissima


* Liberal Democratic Party (Japan), Liberal Democratic PartyInada, Miho; Dvorak, Phred
"Same-Sex Marriage in Japan: A Long Way Away?"
. ''The Wall Street Journal''. 20 September 2013. Retrieved 31 March 2014.
* Komeito


*National Alliance (Latvia), National Alliance


* Patriotic Union (Liechtenstein), Patriotic Union


*Order and Justice


* Alternative Democratic Reform Party * Déi Konservativ


* United Malays National Organization (UMNO) * Malaysia United Indigenous Party (BERSATU) * Homeland Fighters' Party (PEJUANG)


*Social Encounter Party *National Action Party (Mexico), National Action Party *Institutional Revolutionary Party


*Party of Socialists of the Republic of Moldova


* Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA) * Christian Union (Netherlands), Christian Union (CU) * Denk_(political_party), Political Movement Denk (Denk) * Reformed Political Party (SGP) * Forum for Democracy (FvD)

New Zealand

*Conservative Party of New Zealand *New Zealand First *New Zealand National Party *ACT New Zealand


* People's Democratic Party (Nigeria), People's Democratic Party


* Christian Democratic Party (Norway), Christian Democratic Party * The Christians (Norway), The Christians Party * Conservative Party (Norway) * Progress Party (Norway)


* Law and Justice * United Poland * The Republicans (Poland), The Republicans * Civic Platform


* CDS – People's Party * Chega (political party), Chega * Social Democratic Party (Portugal), Social Democratic Party


* Social Democratic Party (Romania), Social Democratic Party * People's Movement Party * Alliance for the Union of Romanians


* United Russia * CPRF * LDPR * A Just Russia


* Christian Democratic Movement * Direction – Social Democracy * Network (Slovak party), Network * Slovak National Party * We Are Family (Slovakia), We Are Family * Kotleba – People's Party Our Slovakia


* Slovenian Democratic Party * New Slovenia


* Vox (Spanish political party), Vox *People's Party (Spain), People's Party


* Serbian Radical Party * Dveri * Healthy Serbia * Better Serbia * People's Freedom Movement (Serbia), People's Freedom Movement * Serbian Party Oathkeepers * Serbian Right

South Africa

* African Christian Democratic Party * Democratic Alliance (South Africa), Democratic Alliance

South Korea

* People Power Party (South Korea) * Democratic Party of Korea * People Party (South Korea), People Party * Minsaeng Party


*Alternative for Sweden *Sweden Democrats *Christian Democrats


*Swiss People's Party *Federal Democratic Union of Switzerland *Evangelical People's Party of Switzerland *Christian Social Party (Switzerland), Christian Social Party


* Justice and Development Party (Turkey), Justice and Development Party * Nationalist Movement Party * Felicity Party * Great Unity Party

United Kingdom

* Heritage Party (UK), Heritage Party * UK Independence Party * Conservative Party (UK), Conservative and Unionist Party

Scotland Only

* Alba Party

Northern Ireland only

* Democratic Unionist Party * Traditional Unionist Voice * Aontú

United States

* Republican Party (United States), Republican Party * Constitution Party (United States), Constitution Party * Prohibition Party * American Solidarity Party (social issues) * Christian Liberty Party

Social conservative factions of political parties

* Christian Democratic Party (France), Christian Democratic Party (The Republicans (France), The Republicans) * Blue Labour (Labour Party (UK), Labour Party) * Cornerstone Group (Conservative Party (United Kingdom), Conservative Party) * House Freedom Caucus (Republican Party (United States), Republican Party) * Republican Study Committee (Republican Party (United States), Republican Party) * Blue Dog Coalition (Democratic Party (United States), Democratic Party) * Paleoconservatism * Traditionalist conservatism * Social conservatism in Canada * Social conservatism in the United States * Pro-life movement * Family values

See also

*Christian right *Social inertia: the prevention of social change *Social liberalism *Victorian morality




Further reading

*Allan C. Carlson, Carlson, Allan, ''The Family in America: Searching for Social Harmony in the Industrial Age'' (2003) *Allan C. Carlson, Carlson, Allan, ''Family Questions: Reflections on the American Social Crisis'' (1991) *Fleming, Thomas, ''The Politics of Human Nature,'' (1988) *Gallagher, Maggie, ''The Abolition of Marriage: How We Destroy Lasting Love'' (1996) * Himmelfarb, Gertrude, ''The De-moralization Of Society'' (1996) *Hitchens, Peter, ''The Abolition of Britain''. (1999) *Jones, E. Michael, ''Degenerate Moderns: Modernity As Rationalized Sexual Misbehavior''. (1993) *Kirk, Russell, ''The Conservative Mind,'' 7th Ed. (2001) *Magnet, Myron, ''Modern Sex: Liberation and Its Discontents'' (2001) *Medved, Diane and Dan Quayle, ''The American Family: Discovering the Values That Make Us Strong'' (1997) *Sobran, Joseph, ''Single Issues: Essays on the Crucial Social Questions'' (1983) .

External links

* {{DEFAULTSORT:Social Conservatism Social conservatism, Conservatism Right-wing ideologies Social philosophy, Conservatism Social policy, Conservatism Political science terminology