A2 Government and Politics: Conservatism Part Two

Revision summary for EDEXCEL A2 Government and Politics: Conservatism Part Two.

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  • Created on: 08-01-11 18:27

Outline in detail a Paternalistic Conservatives vi



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Paternalistic Conservatism (State as a father figure)  - They believed in the feudal notion of noblesse oblige and the fatherly role of the state, placing an equal stress on the authoratitive nature of the state and on the need to help the poor. Tory Welfarism helped to preserve the position of social hierachy since, once aided by the welfare state, the poor no longer posed a threat to the social order.

Example: Disraeli/ Macmillan 1950's - Macmillan employed concious regulation in 'the middle way' arguing that the economy should be actively monitored to avoid errors, but not with complete interference so as to prevent economic progress. The aim of this policy was to provide a basic standard of living. Traditional Conservatives defend this as a pragmatic approach.

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Outline the New Right approch to authority + detai

  • Neo Liberal free economy
  • Neo Conservative strong state
  • Example
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Neo Liberal Free Economy (Lack of authority) - The Neo-Liberal views of the New Right consider the state as coercive and unfree, collectivism destroying individual initiative and self respect. They believe that the individual and the market would flourish and favour a lack of constraints (negative freedom) by reducing the role of the state. Social Welfare is criticised for causing dependancy and destroying self help.

Neo-Conservative Strong State (Social/Morality matters) - Libertarian Conservatives can be seen to have a consistent view of authority. The key sites of authority are family, community organisations and other forms of organisation which allow for the decentralisation of power and preservation of local autonomy. Even Edmund Burke believed that Liberal economics could act as a form of social discipline- threat of dismissal, redundancy and unemployment.

Example: Thatcher/Reagan 1980's - Neo-Conservatives have a consistent view of authority and emphasise the need for authoritarian measures to deal with social pressures unleashed by the Free Market forces. This can be seen in the 1990's, emphasising the importance of authority and respect for law and order strategy with the slogan 'prision worlds', appealed to frustrated voters.

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Outline three features of a Conservatives view of


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Rejection of Liberal view of Individual Freedom - Edmund Burke believed that the Liberal concept of freedom was misguided. From his point of view freedom is not necessarily good. It can be, but it does not have to be. Like fire, freedom is good if it is kept under control and put to good use. But the destructive power of freedom from all legal and traditional restraints is truly terrifying, in Burkes words 'we ought to see what it will please them to do, before we risk congratulations, which may soon be turned into complaints'.

Freedom only worthwhile when ordered - For traditional Conservatives liberty is only worthwhile when it is properly ordered. Individuals should be free from obstacles to pursue their goals only when their goals do not threaten the social order. Unlike the early Liberals Burke did not regard government as a major obstacle to freedom, if peoples goals threaten social order than freedom must be restricted.

Need for state restrictions - Without government restraints more people will do more things that endanger both themselves and social peace. Conservatives believe that in order to have any form of freedom the individual most needs a secure and stable society.

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Name and explain the Conservative political theori


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Roger Scruton (The Meaning of Conservatism) - One major difference between Conservatism and Liberalism consists therefore in the fact that, for the Conservative, the value of individual liberty is not absolute, but stands subject to another higher value, the authority of established government.

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Give three features of the Conservative state


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Rejection of Liberal Social Contract - Burke rejected the idea that civil society is brought into existence , and can easily be dissolved by consenting individuals who enter into a social contract. It is no ordinary contract between individuals but a sacred covenant that binds whole generations together. Recognising society as a contract does not necessarily mean that it is.

Inter-generational Conflict - To preserve such an inter-generational partnership Burke believed that both governments and long standing customs and traditions are important. The power of government will restrain them which is rooted in the customs and traditions of the people.

Paternalism - Paternalism refers to the belief that the state should act as a father figure governed by those who claim superior knowledge and judgement over those who are governed. Rulers believe they understand what is best for the people to a greater extent than the people themselves.

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Describe the Conservative political theorist's vie


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Edmund Burke - Likened state authority to the authority of a parent and over their children in 'Reflections on revolution in France'. 'We are taught to look with horror on those children of their country who are prompt rashly to hack at that aged parent in pieces, (we) hope that, by poisonous weeds they re-generate the parental constitution'.

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Give four features of what is meant when the New R





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Neo-Liberal Assumptions - The Neo-Liberal wing of the New Right advocated reducing the states role in the economy and provision of welfare. Based on classical Liberal assumptions - the rational individual, negative freedom and the minimal state which are enacted through economic individualism.

State intervention not needed - A commitment to Classical Free Market economics, no need for the state to interfere in the economy- the 'invisible hand' of markey forces (supply and demand) run the economy. For example the de-regulation of the finance sector, monetarist policies.

State is less efficient provider - The state is less efficient at allocating goods and services, as nationalised companies and public services are not run by the public profit motive. Individuals are rational and self reliant and as far as possible should be able to control their own property. E.g privatisation (British Telecom), supply side economics (tax cuts).

Weakens Individual Initiative - Provision in welfare raises expectations of being entitled to state benefits creating a culture of dependancy; society blamed and not individual failure. E.g. reduction in welfare spending.

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Give three reasons for the Neo-Conservative wing f




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Neo-Conservative assumptions - The Neo-Conservative wing of the New Right advocates increasing the states role in the social sphere based on traditional Conservative assumptions - a limited dependant Human nature, the need for authority to maintain social stability.

Need for law and order - The state should provide strong law and order to provide clear lines of authority and reinforce order. For example increased police powers and tougher laws and punishment.

Need for moral guidelines - The state should provide moral guidelines for people to live by. E.g Promotion of family values, censorship etc. The state was 'rolled back' in sphere of economy and welfare policy but became more powerful in the social sphere of national security and domestic order.

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Give three reasons how and why Conservatives have




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Provides Security - Private property provides economic stability for the person, the family and the nation. Conservatives believe that thrift- caution in managing money, is a virtue in itself. Example: Thatcher and Cameron governments have talked about the need for thrift in both private finances and within public services.

Encourages Conservative Values - Promotes important Conservative values of respect for law, authority and social order. Property owners are more likely to respect property of others and encourage respect for law and order, they have a stake in society. Example: Thatcher selling off council houses and widening share ownership. Benjamin Disraeli advocated policies to improve lives of working class as he feared a society with no state which could lead to revolution.

Extension of Individual Personality - Possessions are not regarded as merely objects, valued because they are useful- but also relect something of the owners personality and character. Example: A home is the most personal and intimate of possessions. It is decorated and organised according to tastes and needs of owner and therefore reflects personality.

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Explain a traditional Conservatives view of Proper

Absolute Property Rights


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Acceptance of Classical Liberal Free Market belief in absolute property Rights - Traditional Conservatives (especially paternalistic conservatives) have traditionally argued that all rights, including property, entail obligations. Property is not an issue for the individual alone but is also of importance to society. This can be seen for example in the social bonds that cut accross generations. Much of it land, houses and works of art that have been passed down from earlier generations.

Example- Post War Consensus (Nationalisation and state ownership) - Within Conservatism present generations have obligations to protect property for future generations. Relates back to the feudal notion of 'noblesse oblige'- Harold Macmillan 'selling off the family silver'.

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Explain a Libertarian New Right's view of Property

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Property entails obligations and should be used in the interests of all society. Justification of state management of the economy - Libertarian Conservatives believe that property reflects merit: those who work hard and possess talent will and should acquire wealth. They view the defence of property rights as primary and unattached to what is good for society. This doctrine has an attraction for those Conservatives who regard the ability to accumulate wealth as an economic incentive.

Example: Thatchers 1980's Privatisation Programme - The promotion of the unfettered free market and the privatisation of most state run industries in the 1980's has been criticised by traditional Conservatives for encouraging widespread greed and consumerism.

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Give a traditional Conservative's view of class +

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Traditional view of class - At first Conservatives were purely interested in the interests of the ruling class as they found their positions increasingly threatened by the masses.

Theorist: Edmund Burke - The ruling class had great wealth and no need to toil for a living so could therefore govern the country in a disinterested way. The gentry and aristocracy have generated and accumulated wisdom of the past. The ruling class is wiser than others, have exercised paternalism.

Paternalistic view of class - Paternalistic Conservatives such as Benjamin Disraeli adopted the principle that responsibility comes with power and this became known as the term 'noblesse oblige'. They accepted popular democracy and that the authority to govern had to be earned by election.

Changes in 20th century - Class divisions were breaking down and people became more interested in their own individual progression. Conservatism had become the vehicle for any class that wanted to preserve the status quo - New Right emerged as a new philosophy of individualism.

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Explain four features of paternalistic Conservatis





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Paternalistic (Fatherly) view of the role of the state - 1. Paternalistic role of the state: A top down elitest approach where the elite knew what was best for the rest of the nation. The nation/state should act as a Father figure installing discipline but also there was a need for the state to look after the least fortunate based on the feudal notion of noblesse oblige and the need to prevent social conflict (revolution)

Pragmatism - The belief that you shouldnt have any fixed ideological principles, policy should be based on what works at the time. Paternalistic Conservatives advocated both state ownership and privatisation at different times. Example: Post war era Conservative's adopted nationalisation welfare state.

Management of the economy - Economic management favoured over the free market. Free Market economics damages society undermining tradition and social stability. Advocate the careful use of the state to regulate the market.

Cautious gradualism - Any changes must be limited and gradual to ensure that social stability is maintained and vested interests are not upset.

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Explain two more features of paternalistic Conserv

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Duty and obligation - Wealth and privilege brought with them social obligations (responsibility for the poor and less well off). The wealthy and powerful must shoulder the burden of social responsibility - the price of privilege. Noblesse Oblige - Based on this feudal principle.

Prevention of social conflict - Prudence: background of growing industrialisation and economic inequality presented the danger of Britain becoming two nations, rich and poor. Social inequality contains the seeds of revolution and reform would be in the interests of the rich as it would maintain the status quo. Example: Benjamin Disraeli- 'One Nationism'.

Limits to paternalism - The purpose of paternalistic Conservatism is to consolidate hierachy rather than to remove it, and its 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 social order.

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Give three examples of Paternalistic Conservatism




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19th Century Example : One Nationism - With the extension of democracy they could no longer appear to represent the interests of the upper classes, their views were simply no longer viable.

Benjamin Disraeli - Benjamin Disraeli believed it was the duty of the upper class to give moral leadership to society and prevent the poor being attracted to revolution.

20th Century Example: Harold Macmillan (Middle Way) - Macmillan advocated 'planned capitalism' and attempted to pursue what they regarded as a non-ideological 'middle way' between the extremes of laissez faire liberalism and socialist state planning. Embraced keynesianism and believed economic policy should not be left to the market.

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Economic background to 1970's - The New Right must be understood as a 'hybrid' ideological development formed by a combination of two sets of apparently contradictory ideas, which are limited to specific spheres of politics. Neo-Liberalism/ classical Liberals within the economic sphere. Neo-Conservatism- traditional Conservative views within social sphere.

Free Market- against keynesian economics - Free market economics: Critical of keynesian economics (state intervention). The free market creates economic growth which produces stability. The free market is regarded as an instrument of social discipline and authority within the economic sphere and was heavily influenced by the Austrian economists Milton Friedman and Friedrich Hayek.

Example: Thatchers Privatisation Programme - Milton Friedman and Friedrich von Hayek evidently influenced Thatchers policies. Privatisation generally: monetarism, de-regulation, supply side economics. Thatcher was influenced by Friedman in her strong disagreement in 'printing money' emphasising we should all look after ourselves.

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Explain New Right belief in monetarism and supply

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Monetarism - Strict control over the supply of money in the economy by reducing public spending by the government. Inflation = The main evil, not employment.

UK 1980's rising unemployment - The initial appeal of monetarism within the UK Conservative Party and US Republican Party was limited to a handful of right wingers who objected to the collectivist tendencies in social democracy. Keith Joseph and Samuel Britton began to argue that the best way of dealing with loss making industries was to allow unemployment to find its natural level.

Supply side economics - There is a need to encourage entrepreuners by giving them incentives to create wealth (i.e. tax cuts) thus increasing the supply of goods in society. Privatisation - nationalised industries inherently insufficient. There is a need to roll back the state and encourage private industry.

UK/US Tax Cuts - Thatcher lowered direct taxes on income and increased indirect ones instead. As the 1980's recession deepened, despite concerns expressed in a letter from 364 leading economists unemployment soared and her approval rating fell to 25%.

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Explain the New Rights Anti-welfarism policy + exa

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Anti welfarism (Need to 'roll back the state') - Creates culture of dependancy and damages individual initiative. Thatcher expressed this view in 'Womens own' magazine when she made the symbolic and controversial comment 'I think we've been through a period where too many people understand if they have a problem, its the government's job to cope with it'.

Example: UK Thatcherism - Cuts in public spending - In accordance with her anti-interventionist views, she introduced cash limits on public spending and reduced expenditures on social services such as education and housing. Later as a deliberate snub Oxford refused Thatcher an honorary degree.

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Give the details of the two key thinkers of the Ne

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Milton Friedman (Capitalism and Freedom) - Free Market is the only mechanism capable of responding to human choice. Profit motive provides an incentive for individuals to innovate and improve their performance. State planned economy would become too bureaucratic and would impose conformity.

Friedrich Hayek (The Road to Serfdom) - Critical of keynesian economics of post war consensus and excessive welfarism leading to stagflation. Inflationary pressure would be created with the consistent growth of an administrative state with arbitrary powers.

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Explain three features of a Neo-Conservative's soc

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Social background to 1970's - Neo-Conservatives saw the crises of the 1970's as primarily a failure of social morality. Order and discipline were being lost because there had been a collapse in respect for authority and the loss of a sense of duty. Socially Liberal legislation on social issues encouraged sexual promiscuity and undermined traditional structures of society.

Strong Law and Order - On crime and social issues the New Right agreed with the traditional Conservative belief in strong state authority. Strong law and order were favoured seeing severe punishment for criminals as the best form of deterrance. Eg. US imposed the 'short sharp attack' for first time offenders and encouraged the use of the death penalty.

Strong morality - Moral pluralism and Liberal social policy is viewed as undermining the cohesion of society. They advocated returning to traditional morality such as self reliance, religion and family values or society was in danger of becoming decadent and corrupt.

Strong nationalism- The New Right stresses the importance of national patriotism as a way of binding society together. The nation is seen as under internal threat (multi-culturalism and immigration) and external threats (terrorism/the Soviet Union etc).

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Give three examples of Neo-Conservative social pol




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1. US Reagan's 'Short sharp shock' - Police powers were increased under Reagan in US and Thatcher in UK. UK Anti Union Industrial Relations Act made it easier for police to deal with the miners strike in the 1980's.

2. Thatcher: Victorian Values - Thatcher called for a return to Victorian Values

3. Thatcher: Falklands War - Showed Thatcher's determination to provide strong defence and demonstrated her belief in national patriotism as well as her opposition to a federal Europe. 'The war on terror' in the US has often been justified on Neo-Conservative grounds.

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Explain in detail the two key thinkers of Neo-Cons



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Charles Murray: Culture of dependancy - According to Murray increased numbers of young healthy low income people chose not to take jobs but instead turn to crime. He says this is the result of the increase of 'lone parent families without a father figure'. Welfare benefits for single parents have encouraged the decline of the family.

Pat Robertson: 'The moral majority' - Started in 1979 Moral Majority was an organisation made up of Christian political action committees upholding its Christian conception of the moral law. The organisation officially dissolved in 1989 but lives on in Pat Robertson, it was one of the largest Conservative lobby groups in the United States.

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Outline the 9 major differences between the New Ri










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State - Minimal State VS. Strong State

Human Nature - Self Reliant VS. Limited

Ideological Base - Classical Liberalism VS. Traditional Conservatism

View of Society - Atomistic VS. Organic

View of tradition, change and stability - Radical change based on ideological principles VS. Support for traditional Values and Institutions, fear of change.

Equality - Meritocracy (self interest and enterprise) VS. Natural Hierachy

Freedom and authority - Negative Liberty VS. Authoritarianism

Nationalism - Internationalism (Globalisation) VS. Nationalism Anti Globalisation and international Co-operation

Guiding aim - Economic Freedom VS. Social Stability

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Outline the first 5 Differences in detail.






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State:  Minimal State - State intervention is not needed. A commitment to classical free economics, no need for state to interfere in the economy. VS. Strong state - The power of government will preserve long standing traditions and customs and will act as a father figure. 'Prison works' etc.

Human Nature: Self Reliant - To the extent that society exists it is fashioned purely out of self interested and largely self reliant individuals. VS. Limited (Not self reliant) - The state should act as a father figure installing discipline based on feudal notion of 'Noblesse Oblige'.

Ideological Base: Classical Liberalism - Utilitarianism believes that individuals are motivated purely by self interest and believe the free market creates economic growth and stability. VS. Traditional Conservatism - Adopted a paternalistic and welfarist approach and believed it was the duty of the upper classes to give moral leadership to society.

View of Society: Atomistic - Society is nothing more than a collection of individual units or atoms. VS. Organic - Society is organic and shaped by necessity; Communities acquire a significance and status beyond abstract autonomy.

View of tradition, change and stability: Radical Change based on ideological principles - Right wing supporters view the New Right as a consistent attempt to deal with the failings of the Post War Era. A 'moral crusade'. VS. Support for traditional values and institutions, fear of Change - Tradition is a natural law and it reflects the accumulated wisdom of the past and provides security, belonging and social cohesion.

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Outline in detail the other four differences betwe





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Equality: Meritocracy self interest and enterprise - Supply side economics: there is a need to encourage entrepreuners by giving them incentives to create wealth. Eg. Tax Cuts. VS. Natural Hierachy - Conservatives reject any form of social hierachy claiming equality is impossible since power status, responsibility are unequally distributed.

Freedom and Authority: Negative Liberty; Freedom from any external restraints - Anti-welfarism and favoured minimal government interventionism through rolling back the state. VS. Authoritarianism - Authority is based on natural necessity and arises from the need to protect people as they are selfish, irrational and limited etc.

Nationalism: Internationalism Globalisation - The practicalities of globalisation mean that acceptance of the IMF and WMF and EU led to more free economics. VS. Nationalism: Anti Globalisation and international co-operation - Conservatives seek to defend an indivisible concept of sovereignty, integration has however rendered this redundant.

Guiding Aim: Economic Freedom - Free Market Economics is critical of keynesian economics. Free Market creates stability. VS. Social stability - With the increasing rationalisation of working practices it is harder to rely on comfortable certainties.

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Cant see the rest of writing on slide 48 it cuts off.. Please fix :)

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