Conservatism

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Conservatism (sometimes called Toryism in Britain), is a political view or ideology which represents traditional values in culture and is somewhat resistant to change.

Curzon summed up the British position on conservatism: "An affectionate regard for our existing constitution, both in church and state; a passionate loyalty to the English name, with the thousand sacred associations which the name involves.... a desire by prudent legislation and by consistent efforts at home to educate the unlearned, to support the feeble, to raise the humble, to ameliorate the condition of the oppressed, to teach the English people the lessons of steady and graduated progress so that, first of all under the guidance of others, and lastly on their own accord, they may learn to be happy and God-fearing and free, so to train them above all that they and their children may learn to become fit inheritors of a noble patrimony and worthy citizens."[1]

The French political writer, Gustave Thibon, wrote of conservatism: "The eternal forms of social life – the family, local and professional groups, aristocracy, church and native land – are tottering….so much so that many would look elsewhere for salvation…..to which we can only reply: However sickly they are, these necessary things, there is no way of escaping them. Renew the family, rebuild an aristocracy, revive the sense of country and religion, otherwise you die."[2]

The British conservative, Michael Oakeshott, said of conservatism: "To be conservative…is to prefer the familiar to the unknown, to prefer the tried to the untried, fact to mystery, the actual to the possible, the limited to the unbounded, the near to the distant, the sufficient to the superabundant, the convenient to the perfect, present laughter to utopian bliss."

The American conservative writer Robert Nisbet stated: "The ethos of Conservatism is tradition.....defence of social tradition and emphasis on the values of community, kinship, hierarchy, authority, and religion; add also Conservatism’s premonition of social chaos surmounted by absolute power once individuals have become wrenched from the context of these values by the forces of liberalism and radicalism. The Conservatives began with the absolute reality of the institutional order as they found it, the order bequeathed by history."[3]

The opposite of conservatism is liberalism or progressivism.

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Conservatism in Great Britain

It is generally accepted that since 1945 the British Conservative Party has moved so far to The Left that it is today a Liberal party. Many fought this movement, to no avail. In January 1962, the famous Tory patrician, the Marquess of Salisbury, stated "There was never a greater need for true conservatism than there is today".[4] In January 1991 the British Conservative Monday Club stated "We seek nothing less than… the total defeat of the vacillating liberal compromise that is making the Tory Party politically indistinguishable from its natural enemies"[5], and at the same time the British political writer Stuart Millson wrote of the Club: "We must denounce liberalism, the sickness that has reduced Britain and the civilised European world to the level of a debased and demoralised polyglot slum………the Monday Club must provide a lead for all true Conservatives who feel that their party is trimming its principles in order to fit in with the degenerate nature of our ‘progressive’ society.[6]

The most notable body of radical conservatives in Britain today is the Traditional Britain Group.

Conservatism in United States of America

On foreign policy issues, conservatism has divided into two distinct camps: paleoconservatives and neoconservatives. In the United States the split began over the Cold War and today the divide is over the War on Terror. Paleoconservatives are traditional social conservatives who supports a foreign policy which benefits the nation as a whole. Paleoconservatives have been labeled as isolationists: those opposed to any military intervention.

Neoconservativism is a recent political ideology that is focused on Israel and the Middle East. Neoconservatives are internationalists. Most neoconservative ideologues are Jewish and are strong supporters of Zionism and the expansion of Israel.

See also

References

  1. George Nathaniel Curzon, on "Tory principles", from a speech at Stapenhill, February 1884.
  2. Back to Reality by Gustave Thibon, 1955.
  3. Monday Club News, London, April 12, 1991.
  4. Copping, Robert, The Story of the Monday Club, London, April 1972, p.5.
  5. Monday Club News January 1991.
  6. Proposals to assist the revitalisation of the Monday Club by Stuart Millson, January 1991.
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