Social conservatism  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Social conservatism is a political or moral ideology that believes the government has a role in encouraging or enforcing traditional values or behaviors based on the belief that these are what keep people civilized and decent. A second meaning of the term social conservativism has developed in the Nordic countries and continental Europe. Here it refers to liberal conservatives supporting modern European welfare states. Social conservatism is distinct from cultural conservatism which focuses on cultural aspects of the issues, such as protecting one's culture, although there are some overlaps.

The accepted meaning of traditional morality often differs from group to group within social conservatism. Thus, there are really no policies or positions that could be considered universal among social conservatives. There are, however, a number of principles to which at least a majority of social conservatives adhere. Social conservatives in many countries generally: favor the pro-life position in the abortion controversy and oppose embryonic stem cell research; support the death penalty, oppose same-sex marriage and other marriages social conservatives consider the establishment of to be contrary to traditional marriage, and the nuclear family model as society's foundational unit; oppose expansion of civil marriage and child adoption rights to couples in homosexual relationships; promote public morality and traditional family values; oppose secularism and privatization of religious belief; support the prohibition of drugs, prostitution and euthanasia; and support the censorship of pornography and what they consider to be obscenity or indecency.

Many Christian democratic and Islamic parties around the world are socially conservative.

Social conservatism and economics

There is no necessary link between social and fiscal conservatism; some social conservatives are otherwise apolitical or even arguably left-wing on economic issues. Social conservatives may support a degree of economic intervention. This concern for material welfare, like advocacy of traditional mores, will often have a basis in religion. Examples include the Christian Social Union of Bavaria, the Family First Party and Democratic Labor Party of Australia, and the communitarian movement in the United States.

There is more overlap between social conservatism and paleoconservatism, in that they both have respect for traditional social forms. However, paleoconservatism has a strong cultural conservative strain which social conservatism, in and of itself, is not necessarily allied with. John Burger, wrote in Crisis magazine in 2005: "The presence of a significant population of culturally Catholic immigrants offers hope that their culture will permeate a decadent American society and contribute to the re-evangelization of native-born Catholics... Abortion is still illegal in most Latin American countries. And in most areas, it's not even part of a person’s consciousness."



Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Social conservatism" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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