Is there any reason to discriminate among the rival claims self-proclaimed conservatives make for being truly conservative? This article argues that at least some of these claims can legitimately be dismissed by an independent third. Drawing on and critically interrogating the theories of conservatism provided by Huntington, Oakeshott, as well as Brennan and Hamlin, this article argues that many characterizations of conservatism mistake contingent circumstances explaining why people historically were or conceivably might be reluctant to promote social change for a fully-formed conservative ideology. Not least, risk- and uncertainty-centred accounts, which have gained in popularity as of recently, constitute no viable basis for plausible claims to being truly conservative. Rather than specifying what it takes to be a true conservative, these accounts provide a formalized description of one kind of contingent circumstances that may lead a principled non-conservative to adopt conservative political attitudes.