Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Social conservatism is a belief in traditional morality and social mores and the desire to preserve these in present day society, often through civil law or regulation. Social change is generally regarded as suspect, while social values based on tradition are generally regarded as tried, tested and true. It is a view commonly associated with conservative religious groups, militarism and nationalism.
Opponents of social conservatism argue that tradition is not necessarily a source of wisdom. Many views and values, for instance, which were at one time viewed as "traditional" are now viewed as outdated or unacceptable. Proponents of social conservatism counter that many "modern" values are also vapid and corrupt, often pointing to the perceived deterioration of the family over the past century as a result of increased social acceptance of divorce and promiscuity.
The meaning of social conservatism may vary between locations, depending on the social, religious and nationalistic traditions of a particular locale. It may be, for instance, socially conservative to promote "traditional" marriage in a Protestant, mainstream Mormon, or Catholic community, but socially conservative to promote polygamy in a devoutly Muslim or fundamentalist Mormon community. What is considered to be socially conservative is therefore very much dependent on what is considered traditional.
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