because that's what "evil conservatives" do - look out for the "wealthy" and "privileged"
Uhm, well, historically.....
That is, there are (obviously) strong links between conservatism and the right wing, and historically the right-wing supports the powerful over the lower classes, however this be defined.
Depending on the setting, right wing movements can support the existence of an aristocracy of some type -- a general hereditary nobility, a monarchy, both, etc. -- ....many times in response to a counter movement. There are moderate associations between the support of the status quo and the right-wing, in addition.
More precisely, the phrases right-wing and rightist indicate support for a hierarchical society justified by an appeal to natural law or tradition.
So, while the link between the support of the powerful and conservatism is not as strong as between that and the right-wing, it is strong enough.
About as strong as the support of the weak and modern liberalism.
As far as classical liberalism, I don't believe such was ever an explicit goal, but obviously, given what classical liberalism is, liberty for all is useful in resisting the actions of the powerful against the meek.
I appreciate the thoughtful tone of your post lu61f3r, however you should have read a little deeper into that Wiki entry.
First of all, what we call a “conservative” in this country bears little (if any) resemblance to “conservative” as it was understood in the 18th and 19th centuries, particularly in America. Modern American conservatives are more akin to classical liberals. Now this certainly does not hold true for all conservatives, there are all kinds of conservatives, some of whom do lean a little closer to classical conservatism – but none in this country would support a hierarchical society, an aristocracy, or a monarchy. Nor would I characterize any political ideology that supported such as “right wing.” Classical liberalism resides on the right, and the concepts of hierarchy, aristocracy, and monarchy are inimical to liberal ideals of freedom, the rule of law and equality under the law.
Sure, the Wiki points out that the terms “right-wing” and “left-wing” actually originated in the French National Assembly in the late 18th century where the nobles sat to the president’s right and the commons to the left – the left representing the radical, reforming or socialist element of a political party and the right representing the conservative or reactionary element. But this is of absolutely no use to us today, particularly in America, if these terms were ever relevant or appropriate.
Truth be told, it is almost pointless to debate political ideologies today because we have so screwed up and confused what it means to be on the left, right or center – or to be liberal, conservative, Democrat or Republican. To be honest, I know of no 2 people who think entirely alike when it comes to politics or political ideology. That’s not to say there are aren’t 2 people who do think entirely alike, I just have not met them in my 57 years of wanderings about the country or even during my work on the Hill.
Personally I happen to agree more with Hayek in that I don’t see the political spectrum as a simple straight line but as a triangle with socialism, conservatism and liberalism (as in classical liberalism) each pulling at one of the corners.
The Wiki entry you relied on above cites Hayek’s theory in which he posits that these three forces, socialism, conservatism and liberalism each pull at their corner of the triangle and that in the 20th century socialists pulled the hardest and shifted the entire political spectrum to the left or in the direction of socialism. I believe Hayek is right in that assessment. I have become even more convinced of this since reading his chef-d’oeuvre “The Road to Serfdom.” We can actually see this leftward shift in the politics of the right in the form of crony capitalism and this affinity for big government by establishment Republicans in the last 100 years (something one would never associate with the right prior to the 19th century).
Personally, I reject the traditional theories of what comprises those characteristics of the right which you cited above; especially those that associate any sort of central, authoritarian, hereditary or monarchical authority with the right.
If one must view political ideologies as a straight line, I would put any authoritarian ideology, no matter its form, on the left. This would mean communism, socialism, Marxism and even fascism – which has been mistakenly attributed as a far-right ideology. Any authoritarian/totalitarian ideology, and fascism is, by design, an authoritarian/totalitarian political system, is diametrically opposed to the ideals of classical liberalism, which I would place on the right of the political spectrum.
Beyond that declaration I dare not go as political ideologies are so numerous, diverse and ill-defined, that to attempt to lump one or another of them into this camp or that is merely an exercise in meaningless rhetoric.
I will, however, acknowledge that in this country the conservative movement, while it shares much with classical liberalism, does indeed contain elements of conservatism (as you point out above), though I would not characterize those elements as being on the right as you have, but more toward the center or center-left.
As for your contention that modern liberalism (the left) supports the “weak,” I would submit that this is only rhetoric and optics and not a real support for the weak.
For instance, when LBJ launched his “War on Poverty” with his “Great Society” programs, the black nuclear family in the inner cities was a strong institution and blacks had, since the conclusion of the Civil War, been climbing steadily out of the abyss and by the 50’s and 60’s had risen in income and accomplishment significantly (though still with a long way to go to be sure). After a couple of decades of LBJ’s “Great Society,” whose programs were supposed to help those “weak,” we saw the complete disintegration of the black nuclear family and the rise of a dependent and eventually an entitlement mentality amongst inner city poor and minorities! Many simply stopped even trying to make their lives better on their own and turned more and more toward government to lead a subsistence lifestyle as a slave to government handouts! This is what a leftist welfare state agenda always results in, even if the intentions are to genuinely help.
The left SAYS it wants to “help” the weak in society, but the price of that help is ALWAYS a surrender of personal sovereignty and liberty to the state. And the further left one goes the more liberty that is seized in the advancement of an equality of outcomes. That is what the left represents. The right seeks an equality of opportunity under the “Rule of Law” and the left represents an equality of outcomes under the “Rule of Man.”
Personally, I prefer the former to the latter. But that's just me.