Conservative IdeologyA reaction against radicalism
Traditional Conservatism Developed as a reaction against theexcesses of the French Revolution (theReign of Terror). Conservatives blamed the bloodbath onthe Enlightenment idea that humanbeings could consciously create politicalsociety.
Edmund BurkeStrongly opposed the efforts of his owngovernment (led by Prime Minister LordNorth) to coerce the American colonies.He believed the Americans were simplyasserting traditional English values.Strongly opposed French revolution, andthe entire idea that human beings couldcreate a new political society.
Burke’s contradictory positionson revolution American revolutionaries simplyreclaiming traditional British values thathad been lost with rise of capitalism, sotheir revolution was “conservative.” French revolutionaries trying to remakesociety, rejecting tradition in favor of newideas about rights (no tradition of rightsin France).
Conservative thought More influential in Europe and LatinAmerica than liberal thought. The major political conflicts in 20thcentury democracies have beenbetween conservatives and socialists,not liberals.
Traditional Conservative:Differences with liberalism1.The origin of political society.Conservatism argues that politicalsociety develops gradually over time outof custom and human experience.There is no social contract.
Differences with liberalism2. Human nature is not rational.People’s ability to reason is severelylimited, nor is the worldunderstandable and malleable.Therefore, efforts to improve a societywill likely have terrible unanticipatedconsequences.
Differences with liberalism3.The acceptance of authority. Membersof political society need to accept theirroles in order for the whole society to behealthy and strong. Challengingauthority is destabilizing.
Differences with liberalism4. Inequality is the natural order ofthings. Human beings are naturallyunequal. politically, people should defer to theirbetters to govern. socially, people need to acceptproblems like poverty, which societycannot solve.
Differences with liberalism5.The purpose of government.Government’s goal is to provide forhuman needs, especially the needs fororder, stability and control. Governmentis not formed to protect rights. In fact,the lack of order destroys people morethan tyranny.
Key values Tradition - including religious values.Tradition is grounded in generations ofreflection on ethical questions. Authority hierarchical. Governmentshould be strong in law & order, tocontrol the unruly elements in society.
Conservatism & change Not opposed to all change, but it isshould be gradual, a slow evolution. Conservatives are not fascists, peopleon the extreme right of the politicalspectrum. Fascists believe human willcan remake society. Fascists are radicalreactionaries.
Traditional conservatism& the economy Opposed to free market capitalismbecause it broke down old social roles. Acceptance of social welfare for thepoor. No fear of an active large governmentbecoming tyrannous because the elitewould be the governors.
Contemporary conservatism Ideology of the Republican Party in theU.S. Conservative thought in the U.S.different than Burke’s because it grewout of classical liberalism. Support for capitalism Suspicious of government power
Contemporary conservatismU.S. conservatism has influencedconservative ideology elsewhere.Margaret Thatcher’s government inBritain in the 1980s more like U.S.conservatism (contemporary) than liketraditional.
Contemporary conservatives See justice as equal opportunity, notequal outcome; Advocate market incentives to achievesocially desirable goals, rather than thegovernment; Prefer state and local government actionover federal, which is potentiallytyrannous.
Example of a contemporaryconservativeBarry Goldwater,Arizona senator& candidate forpresident in1964.
Contemporary conservatismDeveloped after WWII in response to theseperceived threats: Soviet communism The rise of government welfare in U.S. Political protests, including civil rightsmovement Urban riots in 1967 & 68
How was government welfaredangerous? Created high expectations about beingentitled to government aid Created a giant bureaucratic state Created a culture of permissiveness;society blamed & not individual failure
Can the U.S. achieve equality?Yes, but only in this sense: Equality means equal opportunity Can be achieved through the free market Affirmative action programs unfair
Government role Limited but powerful in its sphere -national security and domestic order. Should support free market mechanism.
The New Right in the UnitedStatesShares some attributes of traditionalconservative ideology1. Importance of tradition, religion, &morality2. Suspicious of talk about rights
The New Right in the UnitedStates Emphasis on traditional moral values Strongly oppose abortion, homosexuality,and sex education in the schools. Strongly support state-sponsored prayer inpublic schools. Critical of women’s rights movement, whichis blamed for myriad social problems.
The New Right in the UnitedStatesReligious groups on the right were notpolitically mobilized until 1976, Reagan’sfirst run for the White House.With his win in 1980, they haveincreasingly exercised power within theGOP.
The New Right in the UnitedStatesTension in the Republican party betweencontemporary (economic) conservativesand New Right (social) conservatives.At issue:Role of government in private lives.Globalized economy & free trade.
Example of a New RightconservativePatrick Buchananserved under threeRepublican presidents;Ran for GOPpresidential partynomination in 1992but lost to George Bush, Sr.
The New Right in the UnitedStates Breaks with contemporary conservatismon these issues: Can be critical of free market & globaleconomy Less concerned with individual rights thanmoral values Not concerned with large, activegovernment, if it promotes moral values
Compare & contrastContemporary vs. New Right What role should government play?
Compare & contrastContemporary vs. New Right What role should government play?Contemporary: limited - economic liberty; law & orderNew Right: activist to ensure morality
Compare & contrastContemporary vs. New Right Should welfare benefits to single womenwho have children be cut?
Compare & contrastContemporary vs. New RightShould welfare benefits to single womenwho have children be cut?Contemporary: Yes; tax relief importantNew Right: No; it might encourage abortion
Compare & contrastContemporary vs. New RightShould government policies treathomosexuality like other civil rights?
Compare & contrastContemporary vs. New RightShould government treat homosexuality like othercivil rights?Contemporary: Yes; government should be small & stay out ofprivate lives.New Right: No; it violates morality & threatens the family
Compare & contrastContemporary vs. New Right Support for NAFTA and free trade?
Compare & contrastContemporary vs. New Right Support for NAFTA and free trade?Contemporary conservatism Yes, policies support capitalism & economicgrowthNew Right No, policies cause economic disruptions forAmerican workers & their families
Conservatives & drug policy Former Governor Gary Johnson pushedfor reform of drug policy, to decriminalizemarijuana and possibly heroin. He is a Republican; what type ofconservative is he?
Conservatives & drug policy A contemporary (classical liberal)conservative. He argued that decriminalization wouldlead to reduced crime and permit somegovernment regulation. He did notmention morality.