Conversatives

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Transcript Conversatives

Conservative Ideology
A reaction against radicalism
Traditional Conservatism
 Developed as a reaction against the
excesses of the French Revolution (the
Reign of Terror).
 Conservatives blamed the bloodbath on
the Enlightenment idea that human
beings could consciously create political
society.
Founder of Traditional
Conservative Ideology
Edmund Burke
British writer &
Member of
Parliament in
Late 18th century
Edmund Burke
Strongly opposed the efforts of his own
government (led by Prime Minister Lord
North) to coerce the American colonies.
He believed the Americans were simply
asserting traditional English values.
Strongly opposed French revolution, and
the entire idea that human beings could
create a new political society.
Burke’s contradictory positions
on revolution
 American revolutionaries simply
reclaiming traditional British values that
had been lost with rise of capitalism, so
their revolution was “conservative.”
 French revolutionaries trying to remake
society, rejecting tradition in favor of new
ideas about rights (no tradition of rights
in France).
Conservative thought
 More influential in Europe and Latin
America than liberal thought.
 The major political conflicts in 20th
century democracies have been
between conservatives and socialists,
not liberals.
Traditional Conservative:
Differences with liberalism
1.The origin of political society.
Conservatism argues that political
society develops gradually over time out
of custom and human experience.
There is no social contract.
Differences with liberalism
2.
Human nature is not rational.
People’s ability to reason is severely
limited, nor is the world
understandable and malleable.
Therefore, efforts to improve a society
will likely have terrible unanticipated
consequences.
Differences with liberalism
3.The acceptance of authority. Members
of political society need to accept their
roles in order for the whole society to be
healthy and strong. Challenging
authority is destabilizing.
Differences with liberalism
4. Inequality is the natural order of
things. Human beings are naturally
unequal.
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politically, people should defer to their
betters to govern.
socially, people need to accept
problems like poverty, which society
cannot solve.
Differences with liberalism
5.The purpose of government.
Government’s goal is to provide for
human needs, especially the needs for
order, stability and control. Government
is not formed to protect rights. In fact,
the lack of order destroys people more
than tyranny.
Key values
 Tradition - including religious values.
Tradition is grounded in generations of
reflection on ethical questions.
 Authority hierarchical. Government
should be strong in law & order, to
control the unruly elements in society.
Conservatism & change
 Not opposed to all change, but it is
should be gradual, a slow evolution.
 Conservatives are not fascists, people
on the extreme right of the political
spectrum. Fascists believe human will
can remake society. Fascists are radical
reactionaries.
Traditional conservatism
& the economy
 Opposed to free market capitalism
because it broke down old social roles.
 Acceptance of social welfare for the
poor.
 No fear of an active large government
becoming tyrannous because the elite
would be the governors.
Contemporary conservatism
 Ideology of the Republican Party in the
U.S.
 Conservative thought in the U.S.
different than Burke’s because it grew
out of classical liberalism.
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
Support for capitalism
Suspicious of government power
Contemporary conservatism
U.S. conservatism has influenced
conservative ideology elsewhere.
Margaret Thatcher’s government in
Britain in the 1980s more like U.S.
conservatism (contemporary) than like
traditional.
Contemporary conservatives
 See justice as equal opportunity, not
equal outcome;
 Advocate market incentives to achieve
socially desirable goals, rather than the
government;
 Prefer state and local government action
over federal, which is potentially
tyrannous.
Example of a contemporary
conservative
Barry Goldwater,
Arizona senator
& candidate for
president in
1964.
Contemporary conservatism
Developed after WWII in response to these
perceived threats:
 Soviet communism
 The rise of government welfare in U.S.
 Political protests, including civil rights
movement
 Urban riots in 1967 & 68
How was government welfare
dangerous?
 Created high expectations about being
entitled to government aid
 Created a giant bureaucratic state
 Created a culture of permissiveness;
society blamed & not individual failure
Can the U.S. achieve equality?
Yes, but only in this sense:
 Equality means equal opportunity
 Can be achieved through the free market
 Affirmative action programs unfair
Government role
 Limited but powerful in its sphere -
national security and domestic order.
 Should support free market mechanism.
The New Right in the United
States
Shares some attributes of traditional
conservative ideology
1. Importance of tradition, religion, &
morality
2. Suspicious of talk about rights
The New Right in the United
States
 Emphasis on traditional moral values

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
Strongly oppose abortion, homosexuality,
and sex education in the schools.
Strongly support state-sponsored prayer in
public schools.
Critical of women’s rights movement,
which is blamed for myriad social
problems.
The New Right in the United
States
Religious groups on the right were not
politically mobilized until 1976, Reagan’s
first run for the White House.
With his win in 1980, they have
increasingly exercised power within the
GOP.
The New Right in the United
States
Tension in the Republican party between
contemporary (economic) conservatives
and New Right (social) conservatives.
At issue:
Role of government in private lives.
Globalized economy & free trade.
Traditional Conservative:
Differences with liberalism
1.The origin of political society.
Conservatism argues that political
society develops gradually over time out
of custom and human experience.
There is no social contract.
The New Right in the United
States
Tension in the Republican party between
contemporary (economic) conservatives
and New Right (social) conservatives.
At issue:
Role of government in private lives.
Globalized economy & free trade.
Example of a New Right
conservative
Patrick Buchanan
served under three
Republican presidents;
Ran for GOP
presidential party
nomination in 1992
but lost to George Bush, Sr.
The New Right in the United
States
 Breaks with contemporary conservatism
on these issues:
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Can be critical of free market & global
economy
Less concerned with individual rights than
moral values
Not concerned with large, active
government, if it promotes moral values
Example of a New Right
conservative
Patrick Buchanan
served under three
Republican presidents;
Ran for GOP
presidential party
nomination in 1992
but lost to George Bush, Sr.
The New Right in the United
States
 Breaks with contemporary conservatism
on these issues:



Can be critical of free market & global
economy
Less concerned with individual rights than
moral values
Not concerned with large, active
government, if it promotes moral values
Compare & contrast
Contemporary vs. New Right
 What role should government play?
Compare & contrast
Contemporary vs. New Right
 What role should government play?
Contemporary:
 limited - economic liberty; law & order
New Right:
 activist to ensure morality
Compare & contrast
Contemporary vs. New Right
 Should welfare benefits to single women
who have children be cut?
Compare & contrast
Contemporary vs. New Right
Should welfare benefits to single women
who have children be cut?
Contemporary:
 Yes; tax relief important
New Right:
 No; it might encourage abortion
Compare & contrast
Contemporary vs. New Right
Should government policies treat
homosexuality like other civil rights?
Compare & contrast
Contemporary vs. New Right
Should government treat homosexuality like other
civil rights?
Contemporary:
 Yes; government should be small & stay out of
private lives.
New Right:
 No; it violates morality & threatens the family
Compare & contrast
Contemporary vs. New Right
 Support for NAFTA and free trade?
Compare & contrast
Contemporary vs. New Right
 Support for NAFTA and free trade?
Contemporary conservatism
 Yes, policies support capitalism & economic
growth
New Right
 No, policies cause economic disruptions for
American workers & their families
Conservatives & drug policy
 Former Governor Gary Johnson pushed
for reform of drug policy, to decriminalize
marijuana and possibly heroin.
 He is a Republican; what type of
conservative is he?
Conservatives & drug policy
 A contemporary (classical liberal)
conservative.
 He argued that decriminalization would
lead to reduced crime and permit some
government regulation. He did not
mention morality.