Static Conservatism

Overview: In the psychological sense, conservative minded people prefer the known to the unknown, for the axiom that there lies danger in the unknown. This is true, however growth can only come from exploring the unknown. Static conservatism is what we refer to people who do not look outside their worldview for competing information, while traditional conservatism adds on to what is working. Static conservatism doesn’t seek to add or change at all, and assumed completion or total knowledge. It is an absolutist and totalitarian mindset.

These are the ones who focus solely on the law, and not the spirit of it. The pharisees who perceive themselves to be the upper class of the Church. The parents who use the scripture Exodus 20:12 (honor thy father and mother) to justify a command to their children solely on the basis of being the parent, and fail to look deeper than that.

Static conservatism as a mindset applies to any person who refuses to look outside their belief structure for evidence of a higher way of being, or governing, or acting. In a personality context, people assert the traits they posses and claim they are supreme, that the way they do things is the best possible way. Now it may be so that it is the best possible method, but it is the mindset of “I don’t need to evaluate what I am doing, what I am thinking, to see if there’s a possibility that I am wrong.” Society mainly places this trope on closed minded conservatives, who refuse to deviate from “the way they do things”, be it political, personal, parental, etc. The truth is that each person does this, though if you are very liberal by temperament (high in trait openness) it applies to concepts outside your moral map. For example, in the research conducted by Jonathan Haidt, moral foundations theory has explained the current culture war as a disagreement between the legitimacy of certain moral foundational pillars (care, fairness, loyalty, authority, sanctity). “Much of our present research involves applying the theory to political “cultures” such as those of liberals and conservatives. The current American culture war, we have found, can be seen as arising from the fact that liberals try to create a morality relying primarily on the Care/harm foundation, with additional support from the Fairness/cheating and Liberty/oppression foundations. Conservatives, especially religious conservatives, use all six foundations, including Loyalty/betrayal, Authority/subversion, and Sanctity/degradation.” It is a tendency for liberal types to dismiss conservative points of view because they do not use the other variables within their moral tapestry. (It should be noted that Haidt is on the political left.)

People who blindly follow traditions (hyper conservative types) cannot change when it is required of them. Christ ran into these people when dealing with the Jews who could not look outside of their theological cognitive dissonance. Members in the Church who treat people belonging to the LGBTQ+ community as less than them also suffer from this mentality. (They will gasp when anything outside the heterosexual cis-gender categories are mentioned, tell their children not to associate with them, and their close-mindedness can drive people away from the Church when otherwise they would have stayed is they had been treated the same as any other member.)

These conservative minded people rely mainly on the authority principle for order. (Child must obey parent.) These people unknowingly teach others to put on an act around them. The liberally minded people will think “My actions or arguments are based on my desire to love or care for this person, so it cannot be wrong. The other person must be acting out of malevolence.” And will not be willing to take a critique of their actions or question if their behaviors or attitudes are the best for the situation.

Example Scenarios:

  • People who won’t investigate the Church A Bible! A Bible! We have got a Bible, and there cannot be any more Bible.”
  • I am their parent, I know how to raise my child better than anyone (even better than those who study it, while they give their child mental illness and depression).
  • “I know that’s what the prophet said, but I disagree and I don’t want to think about it further. The prophets have been wrong on stuff before.”
  • “You can only be a good Church member if you are a Republican.”
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