Good Faith Conservatism

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Conservative stock photo making a bad faith argument

Good Faith Conservatism is necessary for the balance of power. However, much of the modern conservative movement has lost the ability to debate in god faith, and have devolved into contrarianism and trolling.

A prime example in U.S. politics is Obamacare, which was taken entirely from Mitt Romney's conservative healthcare plan that maintains privatization and insurance monopolies. As soon as it was embraced by progressives, it became a socialist takeover that will lead to "death panels". This is the opposite of good faith.

A more recent example of the exact same thing can be found in the 2024 bipartisan immigration bill, which offered everything conservatives have been asking for but was opposed because it would take away an important wedge issue.

The Yin and Yang of Partisanship

The world needs advocates for sensible policy, not spending more than we can afford, and not letting progress leave behind those who don't wish to be on the cutting edge. The path to achieving this is not to demonize conservatives and treat them as an out-group, but to acknowledge the important role that good faith conservatism plays, and recognize, be open and accepting when conservatives debate in good faith.

This can also be encouraged if we all reject the use of out-group bias and terminology in our political discourse generally. Neither side is the enemy--we are on the same side! We all win when a compromise is found that brings us further towards our goal of a happier society that doesn't break the bank or limit our freedom.

Regardless of what belief you are advocating, using the psychology of persuasion and the rules of good debate will help you make your point even better.

Universal Conservative Values

There are many traditionally conservative values that are not partisan. They simply reflect the priorities and perspectives of the conservative mind. Progressives may place their political priorities on other things, or have a different view of how to fulfill these values, but they absolutely share these universal values. Too much polarizing rhetoric tries to paint the out-group as not sharing our universal values, which is dehumanizing and untrue.

Examples of these universal conservative values are:

  • Government efficiency--our tax money should not be wasted. We can disagree on whether some functions are inherently wasteful and should be abandoned, but if the government is going to do something it should do it cost-effectively.
  • Strong families. Some may disagree on who can form a family, but we all want them to thrive. Nobody is trying to destroy families, just make them more inclusive.
  • Freedom of speech, religion, and economics. We all want to think what we want, say what we want, and buy what we want. Nobody wants authoritarian communism or fascism, so stop using that straw man.

Using the most unhinged people on the Internet as counter-examples to this narrative is not a good faith argument, and leads to polarization. Progressives, libertarians, and conservatives all share more values than they have differences. It is time we started treating each other that way.

Multimedia Arguments for Better Discourse

The recent US 2.0 series on Hidden Brain has one of the best, most insightful analysis of political polarization and how we can use our understanding of psychology to improve the ways that we understand the other side of the political divide and how we can work better together.

Debate world champion explains how to argue

The Ivy - Good Faith