As we saw in earlier posts conservatism is, among other things, about avoiding change, not having to adjust to new ways. The leisure class is able to be conservative in this regard because they don’t work for their living and are shielded from change by their economic power. The middle class is more likely to jump on new ideas and to try to direct change to meet their own ends.
"— a more or less protracted and laborious effort to find and to keep one’s bearings under the altered circumstances."
“are conservative because they cannot afford the effort of taking thought for the day after tomorrow; just as the highly prosperous are conservative because they have small occasion to be discontented with the situation as it stands today.”
“The accumulation of wealth at the upper end of the pecuniary scale implies privation at the lower end of the scale.”
"(1) by the inertia proper to the class itself,
(2) through its prescriptive example of conspicuous waste and of conservatism, and
(3) indirectly through that system of unequal distribution of wealth and sustenance on which the institution itself rests.
To this is to be added that the leisure class has also a material interest in leaving things as they are. Under the circumstances prevailing at any given time this class is in a privileged position, and any departure from the existing order may be expected to work to the detriment of the class rather than the reverse.”
As I have mentioned before, the whole concept of conservatism was a revelation to me later in life than I want to admit. I can remember a particular conversation with my boss in Utah (also a Mormon bishop) in which he pointed out to me that poor people are also often quite conservative; at which point I threw up my hands and acknowledged ignorance on the topic. More than a decade later, Veblen provided me with an explanation for this, which I found very satisfying even though I know the world has changed a great deal since 1899 when his book was published.