o Natural law – ‘God-given’ practices and customs.
o Burke – market forces are natural law
o Endorsed by Darwin’s theory of natural selection
o G.K. Chesterton (early 20C) “democracy of the dead”
o Santayana – “those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”
- Human Imperfection – links to view of human nature
o Cons. Is a “philosophy of human imperfection” – O’Sullivan
o Humans are limited and dependent creatures –pessimistic view unlike liberalism
o People rely on knowing ‘their place’ in society.
o T. Hobbes – people should be willing to sacrifice liberty to preserve social order.
o Refers to the ‘original sin’ in the Bible as human’s greed.
- Authority and Inequality / hierarchy
o Meritocracy dismantles class system
o John Major’s ‘classless society’ proposal – problematic to this cause.
o Burke – “natural aristocracy” talent is an innate and inbred quality
o There MUST be leaders and followers
o Burke – “good order is the foundation of all good things”
- Organic society
o Living society – change too quickly will kill it.
o E.g. Immigration – Enoch Powell “Rivers of Blood” speech.
o ‘Anomie’ Durkheim – society provides little moral guidance to individuals.
o Organicism – Thatcher opposed organic society in her statement – “no such thing…”
o Tougher jail sentences.
o Links back to human imperfection
- Morality – Noblesse Oblige
o Property has psychological and social advs.
o Those who have their own property are more likely to respect others’ property.
o Theft is the worst crime.
o MacMillan’s disgust at Thatcher – “selling off the family silver” in her privatisation.
o Thatcher did promote some property – Right to Buy schemes.
- Cons. Portrayed as a negative ideology generally.
- People have a clearer understanding of what they oppose than what they favour.
- Viewed as tradition > rational thought.
- Pragmatism? Opportunism? Or set beliefs?
View of human nature SCEPTICAL:
- Two Views:
o Theological – ‘doctrine of original sin’ – humans are essentially selfish creatures
o Philosophical – Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) and the ‘state of nature’. The life of man is ‘nasty, brutish and short’.
Types of conservatism:
o Joseph de Maistre – defended autocratic rule.
o Unprepared to accept changes to the ‘ancien regime’.
o Revolution would weaken the chains that bind people together and lead to a descent into chaos and oppression.
o Authoritarian rule was stronger in Europe during 19c.
o More entrenched in Russia
o Tsar Nicholas I – “orthodoxy, autocracy and nationality!”
o Populist – people wanted tradition but also has a link to pragmatism…