Conservatism
Dr. Christopher S. Rice
What IS a conservative?
All conservatives want to
conserve/preserve something
     (hence the name)
           (duh)
2
ways of considering
conservatism as an
     ideology
Conservatism as
resisting change
Conservatism as a
distinctive political position
Classical Conservatives
             vs.
Individualist Conservatives
Divisions run deep…
How Conservatism differs
            from other ideologies
1. Rather than being defined in terms of abstract
   principles...
How Conservatism differs
            from other ideologies
1. Rather than being defined in terms of abstract
   principles...
“To be conservative…is to prefer the
familiar to the unknown, to prefer the
tried to the untried, fact to mystery, the
act...
It is easier to say
            who
is a conservative rather than
 what conservatism is.
How Conservatism differs
            from other ideologies
1. Rather than being defined in terms of abstract
   principles...
How Conservatism differs
            from other ideologies
1. Rather than being defined in terms of abstract
   principles...
How Conservatism differs
            from other ideologies
1. Rather than being defined in terms of abstract
   principles...
IS conservatism an ideology?
The public interest “is what
men would choose if they saw
clearly, thought rationally,
acted disinterestedly and
benevolen...
Are Buckley and other
conservatives making
   Marx’s mistake?
Classical (Burkean)
   Conservatism
A reaction to the French
      Revolution
A few basic points…
• Accepted some increase in
  democratization, but retained a belief in
  the importance of strong aut...
IMPOSSIBLE!
slow the modernization of
society as much as possible
The Problem of Abstract Rights
the historical development of rights
PROBLEM:
 Abstract demands for rights can
lead to redistribution of land and
             money.
Conservatives Say:
Politics based on abstract
rights promotes individualism
at the expense of historical
understanding, mi...
protection of private property
   provides social stability
Noblesse Oblige
Undesirable Results of
    Capitalism
What to do?
Human Nature
human beings are,
and always will be,
    flawed
Original Sin
Rationality?
Law of Unintended
  Consequences
Weak Rationality
Atomistic Individualism
           Vs.
Organic/ Interconnected
     Individualism
Social Fabric
Liberty worthwhile ONLY
when properly ordered
Government not
perceived as an obstacle
Classical Conservative Model of Freedom
     (Ball and Dagger, Political Ideologies and the Democratic Ideal)



         ...
Conservatives & Change
Reckless & Rapid
Ideological Change
   Change based on
preconceived ideological
  notions which give no
concession to the inherent
   limit...
The Problem of Innovation
An “Anti-Ideology”?
Reform
 change that is slow,
     thoughtfully
considered and based
     on the past
Conservatism and
  Democracy
The Natural Aristocracy
Concentration of
    Power
“Little Platoons”
21 Century
    st

Conservatism:
  4 Strands
Traditional
Conservatism
Individualist
Conservatism
The New
Christian Right
Neoconservatism
Irving Kristol on
        Neoconservatism
• Support for welfare state, opposition
  to bureaucratic paternalism &
  intrus...
PS 240 Conservatism Fall 2008
PS 240 Conservatism Fall 2008
PS 240 Conservatism Fall 2008
PS 240 Conservatism Fall 2008
PS 240 Conservatism Fall 2008
PS 240 Conservatism Fall 2008
PS 240 Conservatism Fall 2008
PS 240 Conservatism Fall 2008
PS 240 Conservatism Fall 2008
PS 240 Conservatism Fall 2008
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in …5
×

PS 240 Conservatism Fall 2008

805 views

Published on

0 Comments
0 Likes
Statistics
Notes
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Views
Total views
805
On SlideShare
0
From Embeds
0
Number of Embeds
43
Actions
Shares
0
Downloads
0
Comments
0
Likes
0
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

PS 240 Conservatism Fall 2008

  1. 1. Conservatism Dr. Christopher S. Rice
  2. 2. What IS a conservative?
  3. 3. All conservatives want to conserve/preserve something (hence the name) (duh)
  4. 4. 2 ways of considering conservatism as an ideology
  5. 5. Conservatism as resisting change
  6. 6. Conservatism as a distinctive political position
  7. 7. Classical Conservatives vs. Individualist Conservatives
  8. 8. Divisions run deep…
  9. 9. How Conservatism differs from other ideologies 1. Rather than being defined in terms of abstract principles of justice, conservatism is commonly defined in relation to changing historical contexts. 2. Conservatism can be considered more of a disposition or temperament, rather than a strict belief system. 3. Conservatism as a belief system (if it is a belief system at all) is marked by many internal tensions. 4. Conservatives, because of their lack of agreement over philosophical principles, tend to unite around specific issues. 5. Conservatives, according to Charles Kessler, often find it easier to say what they are against than what they are for. Specifically, they often tend to oppose aspects of liberal capitalism.
  10. 10. How Conservatism differs from other ideologies 1. Rather than being defined in terms of abstract principles of justice, conservatism is commonly defined in relation to changing historical contexts. 2. Conservatism can be considered more of a disposition or temperament, rather than a strict belief system. 3. Conservatism as a belief system (if it is a belief system at all) is marked by many internal tensions. 4. Conservatives, because of their lack of agreement over philosophical principles, tend to unite around specific issues. 5. Conservatives, according to Charles Kessler, often find it easier to say what they are against than what they are for. Specifically, they often tend to oppose aspects of liberal capitalism.
  11. 11. “To be conservative…is to prefer the familiar to the unknown, to prefer the tried to the untried, fact to mystery, the actual to the possible, the limited to the unbounded, the near to the distant, the sufficient to the superabundant, the convenient to the perfect, present laughter to utopian bliss.” Michael Oakeshott “On Being Conservative”
  12. 12. It is easier to say who is a conservative rather than what conservatism is.
  13. 13. How Conservatism differs from other ideologies 1. Rather than being defined in terms of abstract principles of justice, conservatism is commonly defined in relation to changing historical contexts. 2. Conservatism can be considered more of a disposition or temperament, rather than a strict belief system. 3. Conservatism as a belief system (if it is a belief system at all) is marked by many internal tensions. 4. Conservatives, because of their lack of agreement over philosophical principles, tend to unite around specific issues. 5. Conservatives, according to Charles Kessler, often find it easier to say what they are against than what they are for. Specifically, they often tend to oppose aspects of liberal capitalism.
  14. 14. How Conservatism differs from other ideologies 1. Rather than being defined in terms of abstract principles of justice, conservatism is commonly defined in relation to changing historical contexts. 2. Conservatism can be considered more of a disposition or temperament, rather than a strict belief system. 3. Conservatism as a belief system (if it is a belief system at all) is marked by many internal tensions. 4. Conservatives, because of their lack of agreement over philosophical principles, tend to unite around specific issues. 5. Conservatives, according to Charles Kessler, often find it easier to say what they are against than what they are for. Specifically, they often tend to oppose aspects of liberal capitalism.
  15. 15. How Conservatism differs from other ideologies 1. Rather than being defined in terms of abstract principles of justice, conservatism is commonly defined in relation to changing historical contexts. 2. Conservatism can be considered more of a disposition or temperament, rather than a strict belief system. 3. Conservatism as a belief system (if it is a belief system at all) is marked by many internal tensions. 4. Conservatives, because of their lack of agreement over philosophical principles, tend to unite around specific issues. 5. Conservatives, according to Charles Kessler, often find it easier to say what they are against than what they are for. Specifically, they often tend to oppose aspects of liberal capitalism.
  16. 16. IS conservatism an ideology?
  17. 17. The public interest “is what men would choose if they saw clearly, thought rationally, acted disinterestedly and benevolently.” William F. Buckley
  18. 18. Are Buckley and other conservatives making Marx’s mistake?
  19. 19. Classical (Burkean) Conservatism
  20. 20. A reaction to the French Revolution
  21. 21. A few basic points… • Accepted some increase in democratization, but retained a belief in the importance of strong authorities. • Accepted some aspects of capitalism, but feared that the economic liberties of individuals posed moral dangers to the good of society. • Wanted to protect the world from the onslaught of rapid social, economic and technological changes.
  22. 22. IMPOSSIBLE!
  23. 23. slow the modernization of society as much as possible
  24. 24. The Problem of Abstract Rights
  25. 25. the historical development of rights
  26. 26. PROBLEM: Abstract demands for rights can lead to redistribution of land and money.
  27. 27. Conservatives Say: Politics based on abstract rights promotes individualism at the expense of historical understanding, mitigating institutions and the bonds that hold society together
  28. 28. protection of private property provides social stability
  29. 29. Noblesse Oblige
  30. 30. Undesirable Results of Capitalism
  31. 31. What to do?
  32. 32. Human Nature
  33. 33. human beings are, and always will be, flawed
  34. 34. Original Sin
  35. 35. Rationality?
  36. 36. Law of Unintended Consequences
  37. 37. Weak Rationality
  38. 38. Atomistic Individualism Vs. Organic/ Interconnected Individualism
  39. 39. Social Fabric
  40. 40. Liberty worthwhile ONLY when properly ordered
  41. 41. Government not perceived as an obstacle
  42. 42. Classical Conservative Model of Freedom (Ball and Dagger, Political Ideologies and the Democratic Ideal) OBSTACLE: Radical ideas, innovation; passions, desires, lack of restraint AGENT: GOAL: Inter- Order, stability, connected, harmony, “organic” continuity individuals
  43. 43. Conservatives & Change
  44. 44. Reckless & Rapid
  45. 45. Ideological Change Change based on preconceived ideological notions which give no concession to the inherent limits of the human condition.
  46. 46. The Problem of Innovation
  47. 47. An “Anti-Ideology”?
  48. 48. Reform change that is slow, thoughtfully considered and based on the past
  49. 49. Conservatism and Democracy
  50. 50. The Natural Aristocracy
  51. 51. Concentration of Power
  52. 52. “Little Platoons”
  53. 53. 21 Century st Conservatism: 4 Strands
  54. 54. Traditional Conservatism
  55. 55. Individualist Conservatism
  56. 56. The New Christian Right
  57. 57. Neoconservatism
  58. 58. Irving Kristol on Neoconservatism • Support for welfare state, opposition to bureaucratic paternalism & intrusion • Respect for the free market • Support for traditional values and religion (vs. “counterculture”) • Opposition to “egalitarianism” • Strong anti-communist foreign policy

×