Cultural conservatism

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Cultural conservatism is described as the preservation of the heritage of one nation, or of a shared culture that is not defined by national boundaries.[1][page needed] Other variants of cultural conservatism are concerned with culture attached to a given language such as Arabic.[citation needed]

The shared culture may be as divergent as Western culture or Chinese culture. In the United States, the term cultural conservative may imply a conservative position in the culture war. They believe strongly in traditional values and traditional politics, and often have an urgent sense of nationalism.[citation needed]

Cultural conservatism is distinct from social conservatism,[citation needed] although there are some overlaps. Social conservatives believe that the government has a role in encouraging or enforcing what they consider traditional values or behaviors. A social conservative wants to preserve traditional morality and social mores, often through civil law or regulation. Social change is generally regarded as suspect.


In the Republic of Ireland prior to the 1980s and 1990s, cultural conservatism, in the form of support for the Irish language, Gaelic culture and Roman Catholicism, was a force of major political importance. It was associated in particular with the Fianna Fáil party.

United States[edit]

In the United States, cultural conservative has increasingly been used as a replacement for the terms Christian right or religious right.[by whom?] In the US, cultural conservative may imply a conservative position in the culture wars.[citation needed]

An example of a cultural conservative in the broader sense is Allan Bloom (who was a political liberal), arguing in The Closing of the American Mind against cultural relativism. Another example is Senator Jim Webb (D-Virginia), author of Born Fighting.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


Further reading[edit]

  • John J. Langdale III, Superfluous Southerners: Cultural Conservatism and the South, 1920–1990. Columbia, MO: University of Missouri Press, 2012.