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What are the main features of British conservatism - Essay Example

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What are the main features of British conservatism

British conservatism takes its roots in philosophical ideas and concepts of Edmund Burke. British conservatism has a great impart on other world countries and their economic, political and cultural life. The British conservatism reflects the interests of rural land owning class and protects the Monarchy. The main values of British conservatives are the Angelical Church, family and property. Thus, during 1980s there has been a great shift towards free-market and liberal economic policies.Edmund Burke is transformed from a Whig into the crowning embodiment of everything that is valuable in conservative thought. Nineteenth-century conservatives, discouraged by the young Burke's support of causes such as Catholic emancipation, looked elsewhere for their ideological antecedents. There were, moreover, other writers (John Reeves, for instance) who elaborated a genuine Tory response to the ideas associated with the French Revolution. Burke has become the principal occupant of the Tory (Viereck, 2005). Conservatives have long believed that the operation of this 'second nature' serves to protect a minority from many of the frailties which commonly afflict people (Viereck, 2005). The argument, which took root in the relatively fixed hierarchy of a predominantly agrarian society, is that those born into a elite can, in an unusual degree, acquire knowledge and wisdom, cultivate taste and virtue, and engage in civilized conversation, as well as being imbued from an early age with the responsibilities of public service. They are therefore less likely to be corrupted by power than those untrained in its exercise (Viereck, 2005).
British conservatives espouse certain virtues or characteristics: prudence, justice, wisdom, moderation, self-discipline, frugality, industry, piety, honesty, obedience to and respect for authority, duty. Two other important aspects of conservatism are its anti-speculative, anti-theoretical stance and its espousal of some form of aristocracy. Political and social theory is even a sign of an ill-conducted state (Viereck, 2005). The conservative, then, tends to mistrust theoretical answers to problems, preferring the test of time and history. The conservative tends also to mistrust intellectuals, especially liberal and radical ones.
Conservatism is a set of political, economic, religious, educational, and other social beliefs characterized by emphasis on the status quo and social stability, religion and morality, liberty and freedom, the natural inequality of men, the uncertainty of progress, and the weakness of human reason" (Viereck 2005, p. 76).
For British conservatives, more important is the conservative's position on liberty and equality. Liberty is insisted upon; equality, however, does not exist nor can it exist. As Burke (1955) said, with his customary eloquence, levelers, acting for equality, change and pervert the natural order of things: "In this you think you are combating prejudice, but you are at war with nature" (Burke 1955, p. 56 cited Stanlis 2000, p. 82). This is perhaps the single most significant difference between the conservative and the modern liberal and the socialist. Modern conservatives strongly and positively prize freedom, as do liberals, and they acquiesce to policies and programs of equality because it is necessary or politically expedient to do so. if they bow at all, to what they see as a powerful contemporary force. It may even be said that modern liberals actively espouse equality, whereas modern conservatives actively espouse freedom and liberty and leave equality to liberals (Gamble, 1995).
Less remarkable are the ideas of the modern right, for they have long been the stock-in-trade of free-market Conservatives. Those who now favour an enterprise culture share with earlier individualists a fear of creeping socialism, a conviction that the poor benefit from the wealth created by the rich, a belief that welfare coddling erodes self-reliance and places unfair burdens on the more competent members of ...Show more

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British conservatism takes its roots in philosophical ideas and concepts of Edmund Burke.British conservatism has a great impart on other world countries and their economic, political and cultural life.The British conservatism reflects the interests of rural land owning class and protects the Monarchy…
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