Musings —11.08.2011 01:00 AM—
Good question. Hacks and flaks use the word all the time, these days to describe political parties, to describe politicians, to describe someone’s position on the ideological spectrum. Because conservatives increasingly dominate our politics at all levels — federally, locally, and everywhere in between — the word gets used a lot.
But is it the right word? Are the people being called “conservative” (mainly by journalists, because journalists are in the shorthand business) truly “conservative?” Like I say, it’s a crucial question, because we indisputably live in a conservative era.
In Europe, for the first time in generations, conservative political parties tower over the landscape. David Cameron in Britain, Angela Merkel in Germany, Nicolas Sarkozy in France, Silvio Berlusconi in Italy — along with conservative dominance in Finland, Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, Austria, Poland and Belgium.
The European Union, its present economic predicament aside, has been a conservative union since 2005. One of the few socialists, Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou, quit this week.