Why am I Conservative? For me there is no alternative.
I live and breathe capitalism, enterprise and the power of the free individual.
Greed, predatory aggression, materialism, selfishness, these are the words that anti-capitalists use to exemplify why capitalism is evil, and you know what? They’re right, but only to an extent.
These are the natural negative traits of human beings, and capitalism harnesses them and funnels them, leading often to positive and beneficial results.
Unfortunately, this is not always the case, sometimes it can bring out the worst in us; that’s why we conservatives insist on personal responsibility, to mitigate the inevitable negative consequences of unbridled individualism and our capitalistic nature.
Communists, Socialists, and all other lefty utopian dreamers seek to change human nature. Not just to adjust it, mould it or re-shape it, but fundamentally change it. This is impossible, and that’s why their attempts to do so always end in disaster, poverty and misery.
Here’s some other buzzwords: innovation, aspiration, drive and creativity. These are positive aspects of humanity that capitalism facilitates. This is how problems are solved, this is how our civilisation advances and how prosperity is increased and spread to areas where poverty used to be.
We need private enterprise to capture the strengths of human nature and allow them the freedom to flourish and, indeed, to channel – as much as possible – human evils into something productive.
This is why utopian leftism always leads to dystopia; it necessarily has to crush the human spirit in order to oppress our natural aspirational desires. It is futile and tyrannical to try and quash our instinct for self-improvement and self-reliance, our energetic natural desire for providing for ourselves, our families and future generations. We conservatives understand that.
We human beings naturally take pride in achieving things for ourselves, in producing, creating and striding forward. Having an overbearing paternal state attempting (and always failing) to provide for us violates all of our natural virtues. Statism is inextricably linked to totalitarianism, to illiberalism and to failure.
Can the power of the state totally neutralise the dark sides of human nature and forever change it? Of course it cannot, and it is a folly to think otherwise.
Capitalism is not perfect, human beings and human society is not perfect, and this is what conservatives understand and these are the terms we work under. We do not seek utopia, for that is overreaching and there disaster lies.
Harnessing the natural instincts of humanity to advance civilisation and create prosperity is the conservative way, and the individual is the wellspring of conservatism.
I’m a conservative because I believe a society based on capitalism and the rule of law, underpinned by the essential freedoms: Free markets, free speech, free religion and freedom of protest, is the pinnacle of human civilisation. If we conserve this, there is no end in sight for human achievement, happiness and advancement.
Max Turner is a Customer Relationship Manager for a fleet management company
This article is part of our ongoing ‘Why I am a Conservative’ series, in which supporters of CfL talk about their beliefs and values. If you would like to take part please email email@example.com