Americans, do you live in a country where there is a “hate speech” exception to free speech? Do you live in a country where an expansive welfare state is a thing of national pride that you happily participate in? Do you live in a country where civilians can’t keep and bear arms?
Congratulations, you now know several things that “conservatives have conserved”.
And yes, that question of “what have conservatives conserved” wasn’t meant to be anything more than a rhetorical question and nothing less than an accusation. But there will be an answer anyways.
The Progressive/Leftist beliefs of where we were going was just accepted by most. Oh, not the end result we are seeing now, but the ideology that brought us here. Those beliefs didn’t yet threaten people’s sense of “normalcy”.
Conservatism, and a social and political movement, only came about when the threat of the Left had become so obvious that we could no longer trust people to dismiss it as to unnormal to be safely ignored. Most people dismissed the threat because it sounded crazy to them. The Left worked to undermine that and waited for their Fabian moment.
Conservatives had to step up to the threat when no one else even bothered. They not only had to get their ducks in a row, but grok the enemy, which is something that most people still haven’t quite figured out. Conservatism, as well, was never a singular movement. Conservatives went from fringe or even nothing to being a viable alternative.
It only seems like the opposite because America used to have far more ablative armor in our mores and social values. Even slowing down the march of the Left was a victory. Some reversals (e.g. 2nd Amendment, and at least for a while over Affirmative Action and legitimacy of the Welfare state) did happen. That we are not like Europe is proof that Conservatism HAS conserved.
What we see are many “mugged by reality types” who don’t notice any problem until it is too late and either affects them directly or encroaches on their sense of “normalcy”. Most of those who ask “what have conservatives conserved”, willfully ignore the danger until too late. They, in their sudden realization of the threat, think that the battle has just begun and the conservatives preemptively surrender when in reality the battle was lost and focus shifted on a battle not yet lost. They then far too often ignore the warning shouted to them until the rot causes it all to fall down.
If you want to fight back against the Left, you have to reclaim all the fundamental precepts and underlying ethos that the Left changed sub rosa. Fighting futilely against the consequences is conceding to the cause.
Conservatism is the beliefs, norms, and ethos that makes America America, and the importance of protecting those core values. Those who say “what have conservatives ever conserved?” are focused on their own sense of “normalcy”—not about America. Those who ask “what have conservatives ever conserved?” aren’t actually asking what conservatives have conserved—the answer to which is “everything we still have as America”—but what unequivocal loss has been totally reversed. The reversal of the Left’s victories will take longer than those victories took to be achieved.
And yes, while actual progress of reversing the replacement of America’s values and ethos, the Left will likely rack up additional wins—hopefully not permanent ones—but that just emphasized the need to focus on defensible positions and delaying while the real battle against the Progressive Left is fought.