Why do ordinary people vote conservatively

Guest comment: The bourgeois and the conservative

Politics is actually quite simple: there is left and right. Left is everything that is not right - and right is everything that is bad. This is the common political prejudice of our time. In between there are many phantoms. None is as popular as the proud cipher "bourgeois". Everyone wants to be like that, in Germany the old 68ers of the Greens as well as the fool's edge at the very edge of the AfD.

It's even easier in Austria. If turquoise-blue was a bourgeois coalition, little has changed under turquoise-green. And if the Neos had pushed through the privatization of three garbage cans in the Viennese coalition negotiations with the SPÖ, then someone would have been found who would have recognized this as a bourgeois variant. One group is cornering this development: the Conservatives. They should therefore start to define why they are not civil.

The bourgeois

In the search for the bourgeois camp, the clearest traces can be found in history and the faded contours in contemporary history. In France's political play of colors after 1848, the bourgeoisie stood between the red left and the white right. You embody the liberal political center. From the left they are accused of preventing the emancipation of the working class, from the right of betraying the corporate order. 100 years later this division has become obsolete: the social question has been decided in favor of the left and the right is ostracized as contrary to the system. Nevertheless, "bourgeois" is reborn after 1945 and used as a substitute for a self-designation - the term no longer has any social or systemic significance. "Bourgeois" becomes a synonym for a new virtue which, in the chest tone of self-confident naivety, uses reason, morality and decency as political categories.

At this point, the rule of thumb should be remembered: If in politics the common sense of the enlightenment and the attitude of the decent are invoked with moral standing sentences, the suspicion is well founded that the perplexity is great. So it's no wonder that in Germany, from the Greens to the AfD - in Austria from Werner Kogler to Norbert Hofer - everyone likes to see themselves as a "bourgeois force". Why? Reason, morality and decency are subjective categories. They are good for private life, they cannot be objectified for the political.

The conservative

The bourgeois as a moral monstrance can therefore confidently be given up and left to those who would like to be Praetorians of castles in the air. As a major political category, it has long since lost its meaning. As a private person, the conservative can be bourgeois, but politically he is not. He is not in the middle, but to the right of her; he does not believe the liberal-bourgeois assumption that more progress brings more freedom. With the political left, he forms a pair of opposites in all areas.

In the fundamental judgment, the two differentiate that the conservative does not base his political thinking on utopias, but on reality. The climate debate is one example. Naturally, the conservative advocates the preservation of livelihoods. He promotes regionally sustainable production, protects the natural landscape and knows about the importance of a medium-sized company structure. That is not enough for the left. He saves with driving bans, CO2-Taxing and declaring climate emergencies all over the world (including China, India and Russia). He uses this to argue in a utopian and thus classically left-wing fashion.

In addition to the relation to reality, order is a second conservative central concept. In contrast to the liberal, the point of reference is not the individual, but the whole. This whole cannot be constructed abstractly, but grows together. So while the globalist starts out from the world community in which everyone is equal, the conservative refers to the historically grown state unity with its own cultural identity. This principle of order recognizes the equality of people in terms of rights, taking into account their differences in terms of facts.

In the political arena, a prejudice-free discussion of everything that is surrounded by the smell of the conservative is the rare exception. At best, one associates a few calendar sayings with "conservative" ("Preserving the fire instead of worshiping the ashes"). The arguments are generally dismissed as backward. It is the fault of those who believe they are conservative without knowing why: those insubstantial nostalgics who consider themselves conservative noblemen because they manically want to keep everything from change in order to actually only have their very personal complex with modernity to manage something.

More self-confidence

If something is to be preserved for its own sake, it belongs in a museum, but not in politics, and conservatives should be able to adhere to that too. Conversely, you would do well to put your own history of ideas at the center of the argument instead of making yourself the enemy of your political opponents with sentimentality to the past. A confident, conservative position knows where it stands and therefore also knows where its place is.

If you are looking for where you belong, the advice of the former Federal Chancellor and SPÖ boss Bruno Kreisky is helpful: "Learn history." The minimum of conservative history can be found in the following narrative: In order to ensure the clarity of the voting behavior in France after 1789, those who were in favor of order sat on the right. Those who were in favor of the overthrow sat on the left. In the middle were usually those who couldn't quite make up their minds. Even more than 200 years after the revolution, it remains true that the conservatives are on the right.