A Defense of Existing Value1
The conservative attitude that I seek to describe, and begin to defend, in this paper is a bias in favour of retaining what is of value, even in the face of replacing it by something of greater value. I consider two ways of valuing something other than solely on account of the amount or type of value that resides in it. In one way, a person values something as the particular valuable thing that it is, and not merely for the value that resides in it. In another way, a person values something because of the special relation of the thing to that person. There is a third idea in conservatism that I more briefly consider: namely, the idea that some things must be accepted as given, that not everything can, or should, be shaped to our aims and requirements.
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