Conservatism as a political and social philosophy promotes retaining traditional social institutions in the context of culture and civilisation. The central tenets of conservatism include tradition, human imperfection, organic society, hierarchy, authority, and property rights. Some conservatives seek to preserve things as they are, emphasising stability and continuity, while others, called reactionaries, oppose modernism and seek a return to “the way things were”.
Conservatives are typically characterised as holding political views that favour free enterprise, private ownership, and socially conservative ideas. Fiscal conservatives favour prudence in government spending and debt. Cultural conservatives support the preservation of the heritage of one nation, or of a shared culture that is not defined by national boundaries. Religious conservatives principally apply the teachings of particular religions to politics, sometimes by merely proclaiming the value of those teachings, at other times by having those teachings influence laws.