One of the main ontological foundations of conservative thought, often seen as a form of thought about a particular political stance or political life and distinguished from other competing ideologies by making the defense of the traditional social order is the concept of tradition. The essence of the conservative doctrine has been formed by reactions against destruction of societies by some revolutionary developments in Western Europe from the 18th century. These reactions were expressed for the first time during and after the bourgeois revolution of 1789. This is because the revolution overthrew establishment and all the social structures and institutions that nourish this system in the name of “freedom, equality and fraternity” and tried to substitute a rational and enlightened world order instead. The newly established political order, on the one hand, tried to expel the traditional and religious values that constitute the backbone of society, and on the other hand led to large-scale political and cultural changes. Those who think that this change in the guidance of radical Enlightenment will not only be limited to French society, but will spread to European countries over time and cause social and political developments that could not be reversed, have laid the foundations of conservative ideology as a worldview and a political attitude. Therefore, conservatism can be said to be a form of thought opposed to the idea of “change for change” as a paradigm that embodies the desire to preserve. Although the main element of this form of thinking is faith for pragmatism, insufficiency of reason, authority, hierarchy and ownership, it should be noted that the main pillar and supported view of conservatism is tradition. Because the tradition, being the central theme of conservative thought, is not just the sum of some rituals, customs and traditions brought by society from the past. Tradition is the memory, source and basis of society. It is the whole of the values that ancient wisdom has created that cannot be worn out. It is the institutionalization of the forms of belief and the traditions arising from the culture of coexistence. In the article it will be argued that while conservatism is a stance based on tradition it is also a tradition itself by attempting to sociologically read the concept of tradition, which constitutes the ontological basis of conservatism.
Conservatism, Tradition, Ideology, French Revolution, Enlightenment.