Conservatism : Authoritarian, Paternalistic, One Nation, Christian Democracy

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  • Conservatism : Authoritarian, Paternalistic, One Nation, Christian Democracy
    • Christian Democracy
      • After World War Two, continental conservatives abandoned their authoritarian beliefs
      • Christian democracy - An ideological tradition within Europe conservatism that is characterised by a commitment to the social market and qualified economic intervention
      • Support from the idea of the ‘social market’ economy, which has been widely influential across much of continental Europe
      • Their new form of conservatism was committed to political democracy and influenced by the paternalistic social traditions of Catholicism
      • These new Christian democratic parties practiced a form of democratic corporatism that highlighted the importance of intermediate institutions, such as churches, unions and business groups, bound together by the notion of ‘social partnership’.
      • Sympathy for subsidiary has allowed Christian democrats to favour decentralisation
      • As Protestantism is associated with the idea of spiritual salvation through individual effort, it's social theory has often been seen to endorse individualism and extol the value of hard work, competition and personal responsibility
      • In contrast to the traditional stress on the nation, Christian Democracy, particularly in Germany, also supported the Catholic principle of subsidiarity, the idea that decisions should be made by the lowest appropriate institutions
      • They recognise the need for government intervention to protect infant industry
      • Christian Democratic parties to practice Keynesian welfare policies draw more heavily on flexible and pragmatic ideas
      • Catholic social theory, in contrast, has traditionally focused on the social group rather than the individual, and stressed balance or organic harmony rather than competition
      • Social Market - An economy that is structured by market principles but which operates in the context of a society in which cohesion is maintained through a comprehensive welfare system and effective public service
      • The market is not so much an end in itself as a means of generating wealth in order to achieve broader social goals
    • One Nation Conservatism
      • Traced back to Benjamin Disraeli (1804-81), UK prime minister in 1868 and again 1874-80.
      • Disraeli wrote against a background of growing industrialisation, economic inequality and, in continental Europe, revolutionary upheaval
      • He tried to draw attention to the danger of Britain being divided into ‘two nations: The Rich and Poor’. His arguments were based on prudence and principle
      • Wealthy and powerful most shoulder the burden of social responsibility, which in effect, is the price of privilege
      • One Nation conservatism can thus be seen as a form of Tory welfarism
      • Growing social inequality contains the seed of revolution, reform would therefore be sensible, because in stemming the tide of revolution, it would ultimately be in the interests of the rich
      • Organic conservative belief that society is held together by an acceptance of duty and obligations
      • He suggested that wealth and privilege brought with them social obligations, in particular a responsibility for the poor or less well off
      • Disraeli developed his political philosophy in two novels The novels emphasised - The social obligation, in stark contrast to the extreme individualism dominant within the political establishment
      • The stance was based of a need for a non - ideological, ‘middle way’. Between the extremes of Laissez - Faire liberalism and social state planning. A balance between rampant individualism and overbearing collectivism
      • The purpose of One Nationism, for instance, is to consolidate hierarchy rather than to remove it, and it's wish to improve the conditions of the less well-off is limited to the desire to ensure that the poor no longer pose a threat to the established order
    • Paternalistic Conservatism
      • It reflects a suspicion of fixed principles, whether revolutionary or reactionary
      • A lesson he drew from the French revolution was that change can be natural or inevitable in which case it should not be resisted
      • ‘A state without means of some change’ he suggested ‘is without means of its conservation’
      • Edmund Burke created a more flexible and successful Anglo American conservatism
      • Tradition, order, authority, property and so on - will be safely only if policy is developed in the light of practical circumstances and experience
      • Pragmatic conservatives support neither the individual nor the state in principle but are prepared to support either, or more frequently recommend a balance between the two, depending on what works.
    • Authoritarian Conservatism
      • Authoritarianism is the belief in or the practice of government ‘from above’, in which authority is exercised over a population with or without its consent.
      • Authoritarian thus differs from authority. The latter rests on legitimacy and in that sense arises ‘ from below’.
      • Authoritarian thinkers typically base their views on either a belief in the wisdom of established leaders or the idea that social order can only be maintained by unquestioning obedience.
      • The practice of government ‘from above’, which is associated with monarchical absolutism, traditional dictatorships and most forms of military rule, is concerned with the repression of opposition and political liberty, rather than the more radical goal of obliterating the distinction between the state and civil liberty.
      • Populism - A belief that popular instinct and wishes are the principal legitimate guide to political action, often reflecting distrust or hostility towards political elites.


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