I don’t really believe in “conservatism”. I disagree with the frame. The word denotes holding on to something in the past, “the good ol’ days”, etc. That’s not necessarily correct. I think that when we talk about conservatives, we’re often talking about something else than holding to a past or a tradition or a mythology.
Personally, I don’t want to “conserve” much of anything that I see in government or culture. Instead, I want to think about the purpose of government, the social role of the church, civics, and what’s important as a culture. If the current way works, then good. If it doesn’t work, then let’s try something else.
What I believe isn’t necessarily an old way, or the old way. Surely, though, some of my ideas are ancient, just like some “progressive” or “liberal” views are ancient. But I don’t hold on to them because they are old. I hold them because I believe they are good and have value.
As we move into the next election cycle, I’ll be testing ideas using reason, experience, and a personal value system. I’ll do my best to avoid taking mental shortcuts with labels like “conservative” and “progressive”. I’ll try to think of everyone as a “citizen”, and the election as “democracy”. Maybe that change in posture will help me stay engaged.