PS 240 Conservatism

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PS 240 Conservatism

  1. 1. ConservatismDr. Christopher S. Rice
  2. 2. What IS a conservative?(cc) 2008 Flickr user NewsHour
  3. 3. Michael Oakeshott
  4. 4. SamuelHuntington
  5. 5. Russell Kirk
  6. 6. All conservatives want toconserve/preserve something (hence the name) (duh)
  7. 7. 2ways of consideringconservatism as an ideology
  8. 8. Conservatism asresisting change
  9. 9. Conservatism as adistinctive political position
  10. 10. Classical Conservatives vs.Individualist Conservatives
  11. 11. (cc) 2008 flickr user FundenburgDivisions run deep…
  12. 12. How Conservatism differs from other ideologies1. 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.
  13. 13. How Conservatism differs from other ideologies1. 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. “To be conservative…is to prefer thefamiliar to the unknown, to prefer thetried to the untried, fact to mystery, theactual to the possible, the limited to theunbounded, the near to the distant, thesufficient to the superabundant, theconvenient to the perfect, presentlaughter to utopian bliss.”Michael Oakeshott“On Being Conservative”
  15. 15. It is easier to say whois a conservative rather than what conservatism is.
  16. 16. How Conservatism differs from other ideologies1. 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.
  17. 17. How Conservatism differs from other ideologies1. 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.
  18. 18. How Conservatism differs from other ideologies1. 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.
  19. 19. IS conservatism an ideology?
  20. 20. The public interest “is whatmen would choose if they sawclearly, thought rationally,acted disinterestedly andbenevolently.”William F. Buckley
  21. 21. Are Buckley and otherconservatives making Marx’s mistake?
  22. 22. Classical (Burkean) Conservatism
  23. 23. Sir Edmund Burke
  24. 24. A reaction to the French Revolution
  25. 25. 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.
  26. 26. IMPOSSIBLE!
  27. 27. slow the modernization ofsociety as much as possible
  28. 28. The Problem of Abstract Rights
  29. 29. the historical development of rights
  30. 30. PROBLEM: Abstract demands for rights canlead to redistribution of land and money.
  31. 31. Conservatives Say:Politics based on abstractrights promotes individualismat the expense of historicalunderstanding, mitigatinginstitutions and the bonds thathold society together
  32. 32. protection of private property provides social stability
  33. 33. Noblesse Oblige
  34. 34. Undesirable Results of Capitalism
  35. 35. What to do?
  36. 36. Human Nature
  37. 37. human beings are,and always will be, flawed
  38. 38. Original Sin
  39. 39. Rationality?
  40. 40. Law of Unintended Consequences
  41. 41. Weak Rationality
  42. 42. Atomistic Individualism Vs.Organic/ Interconnected Individualism
  43. 43. Social Fabric
  44. 44. Liberty worthwhile ONLYwhen properly ordered
  45. 45. Government notperceived as an obstacle
  46. 46. Conservatives & Change
  47. 47. Reckless & Rapid
  48. 48. Ideological Change Change based onpreconceived ideological notions which give noconcession to the inherent limits of the human condition.
  49. 49. The Problem of Innovation
  50. 50. An “Anti-Ideology”?
  51. 51. Reform change that is slow, thoughtfullyconsidered and based on the past
  52. 52. Conservatism and Democracy
  53. 53. The Natural Aristocracy
  54. 54. Concentration of Power
  55. 55. “Little Platoons”
  56. 56. 21 Century stConservatism: 4 Strands
  57. 57. TraditionalConservatism
  58. 58. IndividualistConservatism
  59. 59. The NewChristian Right
  60. 60. Neoconservatism
  61. 61. 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

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