Conservative people are those who, in short, assume that until proven otherwise, tradition dictates which rules a society should follow. However, neither their interpretation of reality goes through such literal statements, nor does this idea serve to detect conservatism where it lives, something useful to know the way of being of individuals and collectives.

In this article we will focus on the characteristics of conservative people .

The beliefs and traits of conservative people

Every country and culture has a different type of conservatism, so it is important to keep in mind that conservative people are conservative in many ways.

However, there are a number of typical characteristics that are usually a good indicator of whether traditions are relevant to someone. Let’s look at them.

1. Essentialist view of things

Conservative people tend to believe in essences, that is, in the idea that all things, animals, landscapes and people have an immaterial element that gives them identity.

From this perspective, there is no need to argue why certain things should continue to exist as they have done up to now, given that betting on the opposite option would be against the essentials. This is usually reflected in their way of using language and, in particular, in their appeals to what is “natural” and “unnatural” , expressions that do not mean anything beyond expressing opposition to a recent reform or alteration of something (examples: laws in favour of same-sex marriage, emergence of new technologies, etc.).

2. Emphasis on the nuclear family model

For sociological reasons, in countries with a Western tradition, conservative people defend a model of coexistence based on the nuclear family, that is to say, the one made up of husband, wife and sons and daughters. The reason is that, from this way of seeing things, it is the most balanced way of transmitting the culture that should be inherited by future generations , although there is no evidence that this is the case.

3. Gender role advocacy

Another characteristic of conservative people is that they oppose any measure that promotes gender equality from a collectivist perspective, i.e. from institutions and associations. The reason for this is partly the essentialism that we saw in the previous point, and partly the rejection of the possibility of their customs being questioned.

Thus, it is assumed that women have a role in managing the family resources , as well as in raising and reproducing, while the man should have the material and financial power of the family.

On the other hand, homophobia is common among conservative people, ranging from extremes in which people are assaulted because of their sexuality, to advocacy that homosexuals should not be assaulted but should have fewer rights (adoption, public kissing, etc.).

4. Respect for ancestors

Respect for ancestors is the backbone of the concept of people or nation that provides a good part of the identity of conservative people. This means that one is born with certain responsibilities and obligations not only to the rest of one’s fellow citizens, but also to those who have long since died but are connected to us by family ties.

5. Association between morality and religion

Conservative people, even non-religious practitioners, defend the idea that the morality of society emanates from religion and that it is right that this should be so. This means that it is assumed that believers in other religions or atheists do not have the same capacity to discriminate between good and evil.

6. Nationalism

Nationalism is the idea that there is an indestructible union between a people and a particular territory, and that everything that attempts against this union must be fought. This, which is also a consequence of typically conservative essentialism, means that everything that is considered “foreign” is only tolerated up to certain limits simply because it is so, on the one hand, and that attempts are made to suppress the customs of minorities belonging to cultures that have historically lived within the limits of what is considered “a single nation”.

7. Defending willpower

In conservatism it is very common to assume that things happen by the presence or absence of will power, whether individual or collective. That is why the interpretation of reality responds more to what is believed to be legitimate than to what is believed to work in practice, since it is assumed that if enough people want something, it will inevitably happen.

This is an idea that appears in attributing human characteristics to society , as if intentions and desires were in themselves what makes social phenomena advance.