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Social conservatism is a political or moral ideology that believes government and/or society have a role in encouraging or enforcing what they consider traditional values or behaviors based on the belief that these are what keep people civilized and decent. A second meaning of the term social conservatism developed in the Nordic countries and continental Europe. There it refers to liberal conservatives supporting modern European welfare states. Social conservatism is distinct from cultural conservatism which focuses on cultural aspects of the issues, such as protecting one's culture, although there are some overlaps.
The accepted meaning of traditional morality often differs from group to group within social conservatism. Thus, there are really no policies or positions that could be considered universal among social conservatives. There are, however, a number of principles to which at least a majority of social conservatives adhere. Social conservatives in many countries generally: favor the pro-life position in the abortion controversy and oppose embryonic stem cell research; oppose marriages not between one man and one woman, especially same-sex marriage; view the nuclear family model as society's foundational unit; oppose expansion of civil marriage and child adoption rights to couples in same-sex relationships; promote public morality and traditional family values; oppose secularism and privatization of religious belief; support the prohibition of drugs, prostitution, premarital sex, non-marital sex and euthanasia; and support the censorship of pornography and what they consider to be obscenity or indecency.
Most Christian democratic parties around the world are socially conservative.
 Social conservatism and economics
There is no necessary link between social and fiscal conservatism; some social conservatives[who?] are otherwise apolitical, centrist or left-wing on economic and fiscal issues. Social conservatives may support a degree of economic intervention. Many Social Conservatives support the fair market i.e. a free market with labour, social and environmental considerations. This concern for material welfare, like advocacy of traditional mores, will often have a basis in religion. Examples include the Christian Social Union of Bavaria, the Family First Party and National Party of Australia, and the communitarian movement in the United States.
There is more overlap between social conservatism and paleoconservatism, in that they both have respect for traditional social forms. However, paleoconservatism has a strong cultural conservative strain which social conservatism, in and of itself, is not necessarily allied with.
 Social Conservatism and American Political Parties
In American politics, the Republican Party (United States) is currently the largest political party with socially conservative ideals incorporated into its platform. Voters who are concerned with socially conservative issues often support the Republican Party, although there are also socially-Conservative Democrats who break ranks with the party platform. Despite this, there have been instances where the Republican Party's Nominee has been considered too socially progressive by social conservatives. This has led to the support of third party candidates whose philosophies more closely parallel that of Social Conservatism.  While many social conservatives see third parties as a viable option in such a situation, some high-profile social conservatives see the excessive support of them as dangerous. This fear arises from the possibility of Vote splitting.  An example of this would be if a Republican who is moderately socially-conservative is considered too progressive on social issues to be supported. A third party candidate (such as Constitution Party), who is more socially conservative, would then be backed by a faction of the social conservatives. In the resulting general election, the social-conservatives split the conservative voting bloc between the center-right Republican and third-party candidate, thus allowing the socially progressive Democrat to attain the relative majority (plurality) of the popular vote. Social Conservatives, like any other interest-group, usually must find a balance between pragmatic electability and ideological principles when supporting candidates.
 List of social conservative political parties
- National Party of Australia
- A large number of Liberal Party of Australia, Family First Party and to a lesser extent Australian Labor Party members in Australia are also considered socially conservative.
 Czech Republic
- A number of Union for a Popular Movement members in France as considered socially conservative.
- including the Christian Democratic Party, UMP affiliate
- Christian Democratic Union (Christian democrat)
- Christian Social Union of Bavaria
- Deutsche Zentrumspartei (ZENTRUM) (German Centre Party)
- Partei Bibeltreuer Christen (PBC) (Party of Bible-abiding Christians)
- Partei für Arbeit, Umwelt und Familie (AUF-Partei) (Party for Labour, Environment and Family)
- Party of Bible-abiding Christians
and, with nationalist and separatist ideas
- Reformed Political Party
- Party for Freedom
- Christian Democratic Appeal (Christian democrat)
 New Zealand
 United Kingdom
- British National Party
- Christian Party
- Christian Peoples Alliance
- The Cornerstone Group, a faction of the Conservative Party
- Democratic Unionist Party
- British National Front
- Ulster Unionist Party
 United States
 See also
- Pro-life movement
- Social conservatism in Canada
- Social progressivism
 Further reading
- Carlson, Allan, The Family in America: Searching for Social Harmony in the Industrial Age (2003) ISBN 0-7658-0536-7
- Carlson, Allan, Family Questions: Reflections on the American Social Crisis (1991) ISBN 1-56000-555-6
- Fleming, Thomas, The Politics of Human Nature, (1988) ISBN 1-56000-693-5
- Gallagher, Maggie, The Abolition of Marriage: How We Destroy Lasting Love (1996) ISBN 0-89526-46 4-1
- Himmelfarb, Gertrude, The De-moralization Of Society (1996) ISBN 0-679-76490-9
- Hitchens, Peter, The Abolition of Britain. (1999) ISBN 0-7043-8117-6
- Jones, E. Michael, Degenerate Moderns: Modernity As Rationalized Sexual Misbehavior. (1993) ISBN 0-89870-447-2
- Kirk, Russell, The Conservative Mind, 7th Ed. (2001) ISBN 0-89526-171-5
- Magnet, Myron, Modern Sex: Liberation and Its Discontents (2001) ISBN 1-56663-384-2
- Medved, Diane and Dan Quayle, The American Family: Discovering the Values That Make Us Strong (1997) ISBN 0-06-092810-7
- Sobran, Joseph, Single Issues: Essays on the Crucial Social Questions (1983) ISBN 1-199-24333-7.
 External links