In the eyes of many, the term ‘conservative’ is a derogatory term – a term used to describe those whose opinions have fallen out of mainstream media in the last 3 years. Seriously though, the idea that Conservatism is ‘extremist’, ‘far right’ or ‘hateful’ is absurd. Literally 4 years ago Australia elected a conservative Prime Minister, Tony Abbott – who won in a landslide ICYMI – and just 10 years ago Australia’s second longest serving Prime Minister (second only to, yes, another conservative) John Howard was in power.
You might be feeling, like many people in Australia, isolated and disillusioned by the mainstream media portrayal of conservatives and Conservatism. Maybe you think various conservatives actually talk sense and express what you’re thinking and feeling.
Maybe you’re a closet conservative. Here’s 10 signs that show you might be one.
1. You hate looking at your payslip and seeing all that tax come out
You worked hard for that money right? The feeling of working hard for the duration of your pay period only to see 20-25% of that money (at least for young people like me, professionals are often closer to 40%) marked under the big heading ‘Tax’ is something that can get you pretty annoyed. Actually when you stop to think about the percentage of time you ‘work for the government,’ you begin to wonder what the government is spending all its money on!
2. You think that people should just be allowed to say what they want to say and think what they want to think
You might not like what they have to say, but you’ll sit there quietly and patiently and let people have their turn. Perhaps you feel like you can’t say things you think are true and right. You know you’re not homophobic, or racist, or bigoted or whatever other term the media wants to slap on you today, you just hold an honest and fair opinion. You notice that what you believe and think has suddenly become ‘hate speech’ despite it being ok just a few years ago.
3. You go to church/are religious
Chances are, you are someone who cares for a number of marginalised people; widows, orphans, veterans, those with a disability, the poor, the homeless, the elderly, the single mum. You probably believe that these people all have inherent worth in society by virtue of their humanity – indeed as you probably believe that all life is of inherent value and worth. You probably aren’t ashamed of Australia’s and the west’s Judeo-Christian heritage, its morality and ethics.
4. You think people need to take responsibility for their own actions
Because of 3., while you think that the idea of forgiveness and compassion is important, you also think that people need to take responsibility for their own actions. If people commit serious crimes (e.g murder, sex offences, domestic violence, fraud) you think they should be held strongly accountable to the criminal justice system. If people choose to make poor decisions with their life (e.g money, career, working, lifestyle) you think that, to some extent, they should know some of the consequences of those decisions.
5. You read The Australian or watch Sky News
You probably think that there is very little quality outside these news outlets (a few columns in the Daily Telegraph excepted). You want “actual” news and want a considered opinion on the topic.
6. You don’t quite understand/relate to campus terminology
‘Safe spaces’, ‘trigger warnings’, ‘micro-aggressions’, ‘hate speech’, ‘mansplaining‘, ‘manspreading’, ‘white privilege’ are probably terms you had to look up on urban dictionary the first time you heard them. You probably don’t quite understand why they are a thing and if you do, you probably think they are a bit out there. Sticks and stones can break my bones but words cannot hurt me right? Moreover, you believe that there is a standard of ‘decency’ which would subsume just about all of these.
7. You’re a bit of a meme junkie
You totally know that meme was a bit edgy, but you liked it anyway. You secretly wanted to love react a lot of the memes on our page. You’re probably a little bit cheeky at times and don’t mind stirring the pot. Maybe you watched Malcolm Turnbull’s
‘sycophant’ speech and smirked just that bit too much.
8. You’re under 25 and know/are friends with a conservative
This might sound a bit silly, but the fact that you can tolerate a conservative in your life probably says that you’re not too far off the conservative mindset. You probably think they are a pretty decent girl or guy and agree with some of the things they say.
9. You would describe yourself as ‘in the centre’ or ‘a swing voter’
Ok so back to some more serious points. It’s no secret that the Liberal Party is the natural party of government, it has been in power far longer than any other party. Australians see parties who are in some way supportive of conservative values as sensible, responsible governments. Most people who describe themselves as ‘in the the centre’ or whose vote fluctuates from party to party would actually subscribe to many of the points above and so have a natural tendency to vote with the more conservative side of politics. They may for a time be seduced by a policy of the day to vote on the other side of politics but find many of their underlying values aligning more closely with traditional and conservative ideology.
10. You have ‘liked’ the Usyd Conservative Club page
Ok, shameless plug, but if you find yourself resonating with the things in this article, like our page The University of Sydney Conservative Club to engage more with conservative ideas, hear about our events and find out if you are a closet conservative.