HideShow resource information
  • Created by: Muy
  • Created on: 24-04-13 15:40


Hostile reaction to the enlightenment and the French Revolution

Edmund Burke (father of modern Conservativism) - was a typical enlightenment rationalist and leading member of the party of parliamentary authority against the crown - the Whigs

Authority - the right to rule in a society, it derives from a source outside those with authority ... Tory believed it was was God, conservatives believed it came from tradition/role in society

Toryism - supremacy of the Crown and Church over every institution

Ruling class figures attempted to give an ideological aspect to the resistance of autocratic monarchies for a government

Bolingbroke proposed a monarchy that would represent the entire people over corrupt small groups such as the Whigs, Bolingbroke 'patriot king' was a dead end and Burke made conservatism relevant again

Traditional conservatism was modified by Disraeli into 'one nation' conservatism, which later evolved into the New Right (neo-liberalism)

1 of 9


Inheritance of institutions and practices from the past, it should be respected, maintained and trasmitted to the future... For Burke, traditional held society together, and the core concept of traditional conservatism

Without traditions society would be like a boat cut adrift from its moorings, and no guarentee of rights, freedoms and property

Burke was shocked by the French revolution, moderate liberal French men were trying trying to reproduce the British consitutional monarchy - however this was a product of British history, one that couldn't be replicated

Napoleon established a constitutional dictatorship and then his own monarchy, the removal of tradition meant no barrier to unlimied tyranny, the same argument used to criticsed Stalins dictatorship

Tradition the basis of any stable society, its legitimate as its functioned for generations - 'if its not broke, dont fix it'

Basis of conservative opposition of constitutional reform in the UK, institutions such as House of Lords shouldnt be abolished

Foreign affairs conservatives have been reluctant to spread democracy as it'll undermine/disrupt societies, creating disorder and tyrannies - opposition to the Iraq War was justified after Saddam Husseins death led to instability and conflict 

2 of 9

Human Imperfection

Psychological imperfection rooted in human nature, humans are weak/security seeking - they are dependant on social frameworks to make sense of their role in society

A hierachy is good, as individuals have their place with clear roles and rights as well as duties, this calms the individuals fears of being cut adrift/isolated

Hierachy dominated by 'natural leaders' (Disraeli), people defer to their superiors as their better fitted to perform the roles at the top of the society... Humans arent comfortable with incompetant people performing tasks 

People are reassured by familiar institutions, success in the past guarentees success in the future hence tradition... Monarchy, parliament etc become points of stability for the insecure

Moral imperfection derives from the idea that humans fall into socially disruptive behavior, at worst resulting in crime... Humans lack innate moral values, so authority must be exercised to ensure social order - without this groups will try to gain advantage over another leading to a dysfunctional and disintegrated society

Individuals arent rational, but intelectually imperfect - the world is too complex to understand, religion gives meaning

Neo-liberalism disagrees with this view

3 of 9

Organic society

society is like a human body, each organ has its roles and without it it cannot function properly

This implies social peace between classes, shared values are essential as it prevents social conflicts - many conservatives oppose diversity/pluralism of multiculturalism ... it creates future social conflict

Hierachy - authority flows down the structure, obedience flows up ... Equality between levels are impossible and undesirable, it couldnt function with equality (i.e. Catholic Church structure)

Duty and obligations essential of hierachy, it keeps society unified and functional... All levels have a duty to fulfil their roles and obey instructions of authority

Those at the top have special obligation to carry out their responsibilities the those lower down the hierachy... 'noblesse oblige'

Neo-liberals see society being formed by individuals, capable of rational heaviour - health of society comes from allowing these individuals to compete in the free market ... Theres 'atomic society rather than 'limbs and organs' of the one-nation oraganic society

4 of 9


Burke used property as a metaphor to justify tradition, he unelined property as an essential conservative foundation of society

Property qualified one to political rights i.e. voting, property meant an individual had a stake in society and real value

Property became a traditional institution, it proved its worth by allowing society to undertake production and exchange, and the productive power of society to expand... its the core of social hierachy, and allowed exercised authority through it

Individuals are irrational, the possession of property means humans are less likelier to resort to crime - respecting property rights of others safeguards their own property

Property owners support the structure of society, members of society respect those with authority as it protects their own property

People become supportive of the family as it transmits property to heirs

Property has a mystical quality, it eradicates the worst features of human nature, it provides security - after 1945 conservatives promoted 'property owning democracy' as it gives people a stake in society bringing social stability

Property owning (one nation) - turns people supportive of the existing social order... (neo-liberalism) it provides an incentive to increase overall prosperity of society - its a reward for risk taking individuals for their hard work

5 of 9

One nation conservatism

Stems from Tory origins of tradition, organic society, and paternalism

Paternalism - methaphor of the role of family... father is the head of the household - it gives him authority and responsibilities - a failiure of his duty will threaten the functioning of the family

Paternalism fits its view of human nature, organic society and hierachy... Head of society have a duty to care for the inferior or 'noblesse oblige' 

Disraeli took paternalism to justify social reforms, society had become two divided nations of properous and poverty which was dysfunctional... It would create social disorder, and Disraeli criticised individualism of liberals for generating social evils

Social reform to create a 'one nation' became a core of British conservatism, it developed into 'middle way' in the 1930, a pragmatic rejection of the free market due to the crisis of depression (Keynes)

The state in the 1930s had an obligation to intervene in the economy, and provide welfare to the poor

Neo liberals reject paternalism, they instead believe in meritocratic individualism and the free market, paternalism causes social/economic stagnation

6 of 9

Neo liberalism

Contemporary form of certain aspects of classical liberalism

Neo liberalism has a fundamental enphasis on the free market as the ideal social organisation, and a mean of solving political issues

Origins lie in criticism of economic management made by von Hayek and developed by Milton Friedman

Critics argue that regulating the economy through demand management lead to disaster, the state isnt an instrument of innovation/wealth creation...

Increasing shares of national products taken by the state drain resources from the productive private sector leading to stagnation

These ideas gained noteriority can with the global economic crisis of 1973-1976 and 1979-1981, economic stagnation and inflation was beyonce the capacity of Keynesian demand mangement to rectify... Friedman argued governments should use supply side economics to control inflation, so reduction in the supply of money to the economy -> 'monetarism'

Long term goals was 'roll back the state', the state crease ao manage demand to regulate output and employment, its role was to increase resources to the private sector - therfore governments should reduce gross domestic product taken by taxation...

This could be achieved by reducing state expenditure, government should increase assts from state ownership and give control to private sector, this led to privitisation of nationalised industries by Thatcher

7 of 9

Neo liberalism II

Regulation of economic activities should be reduced to allow maximisation of wealth creation, less regulation of employment law, financial services and credit

^ Risk takers and innovation of entrepreneurs is restained by the beureaucrats

von Hayek argues social welfare and state economic regulation would produce 'new serfdom', free individuals would become dependant or 'dependancy culture'

In 1990s generations were reliant on welfare, family was undermined due to the state providing for children, desire to create wealth was dissipated

2 solutions for growing dependancy culture

1- Individuals caught in 'dependancy culture' were to be weaned off by restricting their rights to universal benefits, welfare was to be linked to seeking employment

2 - Promote 'enterprise culture', ideal role models were Lord Alan Sugar and Sir Richard Branson - innovation and risk taking woulg re-energise society

Neo-liberalism associated closely to 1979-1997 conservative government, and Ronal Reagans Republican government - emphasis on entrepreneurship and welfare to works been a dominant global ideology since USSR collapse

8 of 9

Neo conservatism

Second component of the New Right, arguably a mild form of authoritarianism

Authoritarianism - society can only be held together by the unbending imposition of authority by the rulers, justified by human imperfection

Crises of the 1970s was primarily a failiure of social morality, order and discipline was lost, collapse in respect for authority... Liberal legislation encouraged sexual license and undermining of the family

Abolishing the death penalty meant serious crimes wouldnt ensue the ultimate penalty, so encouraged violence

CONSEQUENCE? student protests, militant strikes, racial unrest... public had to be enforced

Thatchers government used every legal power to support police action against strikes, ringleader of the IRA were merely treated as criminals

Neo-liberalism in UK/USA promoted increased punishment, neo-conservatism used 'war on terror' to justify/promote curtailing individual rights for special legislation in the interests of society

Rejected the fact governments should govern on the basis of tradition/inheritance

9 of 9


No comments have yet been made

Similar Government & Politics resources:

See all Government & Politics resources »See all Conservatism resources »