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CONSERVATISM
Key concepts
1) Hierarchy and organic society
o The term `organic society' refers to a belief, which became entrenched in traditional
conservative thought in the latter part of the 19th century.
o It was a reaction against the rise of liberal individualism.
o It proposes that society is more…

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3) Inequality
o The idea that humankind is naturally divided into a hierarchy is taken as natural and
inevitable.
o Conservatives gradually modified this view of the natural structure of society as it was
becoming clear that society was more fluid than it had ever been and people had begun…

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o Hobbes and Burke ­ individuals have a desire to be free and exercise all the rights, as well as
being intensely competitive and self-seeking.
o If allowed to flourish society would become `nasty, brutish and short' ­ Levianthan, 1651.
o In practice, people would consider themselves to be in…

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o Suspicious of constitutional reform.
o Remain largely authoritarian in their approach to many law and order issues, higher value on
order than personal liberty.
o However, social conservatives do in fact consider themselves to be reformers:
o Argue that social reform is a legitimate function, supporting the importance of…

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o Defence of property has included opposition to the introduction of common ownership, i.e.
nationalization, resistance to high property taxes, i.e. Thatcher attempting to replace local
property rates with a non-property-based poll tax in 1988.
o Heavy stress on law and order ­ since high crime levels tend to mostly…

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Authority ­ see key concepts
Private property ­ see key concepts

Different strands of Conservatism
Early Conservatism ­ the term `conservatism' is probably of French origin, referring to the reaction
against the ideas of the French Revolution.
It's tempting to see the origins of conservatism in reactionary ideas and thereby…

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Belief that welfare is a disincentive to Heavy emphasis on national self-interest
work and enterprise should be kept to a and patriotism
minimum Opposition to excessive immigration and
Support for a free market in Europe cultural diversity
USA: as above, plus: Opposition to European political
Preference for power to be…

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This was a moralistic and religious element. Many of society's problems, especially rising crime
rates, were blamed on the excessively liberal and permissive culture of the 1960's.
The main elements of contemporary US conservatism can be summarized:
o A religious and moral attitude to social issues.
o Opposition to socially…

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It was considerable and the challenges it posed to traditional conservatism were numerous:
o Society is made up of free individuals; it is not organic.
o Excessive state interference is counterproductive, holds back economic progress and inhibits
the development of a sense of self-responsibility.
o Traditional institutions may be challenged…

Comments

Old Sir

A very useful set of notes which surveys the most important elements of Conservative thinking in modern history. Students may wish to attach examples as evidence to meet AO2, (Evaluation and Analysis) when they make their own notes.

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