Core values of conservatism.

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Isobel Wilson
Human Nature
Pessimistic view of human nature.
The deepest conservatives take the Roman Catholic view that humankind is born
with original sin and must therefore remain severely flawed in character. However
much individuals try, they will be unable to achieve perfection.
Individuals are driven by basic appetites. These include the desire for physical
prosperity, for property, for power and to avoid deprivation.
Human nature is not a constant, but is always changing as the nature of society itself
changes. The conservative philosopher Karl Popper, for example, criticised all
ideologies on the grounds that they have been based on a fixed view of human
nature. This was, for him, an error which invalidated all ideologies. Thus, there may
be periods when people mostly crave freedom and the pursuit of individualism,
while at other times they may be fearful and crave security and welfare.
Humankind is sorely in need of a firm government of benevolent rulers, who need
to be firm, but have the people's general interests at heart. Edmund
"There are individuals and there are families. There is no such thing as
society"-Thatcher 1984
The causes of crime and disorder, conservatives believe, lie with the individual.
This directly opposes the more liberal view that it is the result of economic and
social deprivation. The practical application of these beliefs therefore involves
exemplary punishment rather than social remedies. ­ 2011 London riot
Disraeli advocated that conservatives accept the need for universal suffrage, but
this did not imply that people could be completely trusted with government. The
conservative view of representation is that governments should not slavishly
follow the fluctuating desires and demands of the people, but should use their
wise judgement to serve the best interests of the whole community. In a modern
context, this is reflected in the conservative suspicion of the referendum as a
governing mechanism.
Thatcher's free market policies seemed to tap into the fundamental desires of many
people for individualism and free the shackles of government.
Conservatives affirm that humankind's most basic need is for order and security.
Thomas Hobbes declared that life in the state of nature is `nasty, brutish and
short'-Leviathan. Thus the need for order and security.

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Isobel Wilson
Ever since Hobbes, conservatives have preferred strong government and have
tended to favour the community's needs for security over the rights of
individuals-2012 burglar law change.
Edmund Burke criticised the French Revolution saying that it sacrificed order and
security in order to impost abstract theories which were premature, unnecessary
and not generally supported by the majority of the people. Since Burke,
conservatives have always erred on the side of caution and preserving order.…read more

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Isobel Wilson
principle, the party was opposed to the reforms, but it had to recognise that they
were both popular and seemingly successful. It therefore reached a pragmatic
approach to retain Labour's radical initiatives.…read more


Old Sir

A succinct and useful introduction to the central themes within Conservative philosophy.

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