Conservatism Core Values

Joe Brown
Mind Map by Joe Brown, updated more than 1 year ago
Joe Brown
Created by Joe Brown almost 6 years ago


A summary of each of the Conservative core values - Tradition, Human Imperfection, Organic Society, Hierarchy & Authority and Private Property - with a few example and case studies. Useful for A2 revision for Government & Politics topic 3A.

Resource summary

Conservatism Core Values
  1. Tradition
    1. Tradition=values, practices or institutions that have endured through time.
      1. E.g Cameron's support of First-Past-The-Post voting system, Cameron "I don't want to be Prime Minister of England, I wanted to be Prime Minister of the United Kingdom" (in regard to the 2014 Scottish Referendum)
      2. Michael Oakeshott described the political world as a 'boundless and bottomless' pit. Conservatives are opposed to the uncertainty of abstract thinking - prefer to maintain the status quo.
        1. Tradition reflects accumulated wisdom of the past
          1. Burke - "those who do not know history are destined to repeat it".
        2. It also creates a sense of identity. It gives people a feeling of belonging, creating social cohesion and harmony.
          1. Tradition is more than political institutions. It encompasses all the customs and social practises that are familiar and generate security and belonging.
        3. Human Imperfection
          1. O'Sullivan - conservatism is a 'philosophy of human imperfection' Conservatism holds a pessimistic, almost Hobbesian view of human nature.
            1. Believe humans are imperfect and unperfectible. They are psychologically limited and fear isolation and insability
              1. Conservatives stress importance of law and order. Without it there will be anomie = social instability and anarchy.
                1. e.g 2011 riots - DC said causes included economic woes and political instability responsible.
              2. Religion - Old Testament 'Adam & Eve' doctrine of 'original sin'. Crime is not a product of inequality but a consequence of human instinct.
              3. Organic Society
                1. Cons. believe human beings are dependant and desperately need to belong to society.
                  1. Cons. dislike concept of 'negative liberty' - where the individual is 'left alone'. This will cause anomie.
                    1. Cons. believe freedom involves 'doing one's duty' e.g parents instruct children how to behave.
                  2. Cons. compare society to an organism. E.g the family has not been 'invented' but is natural.
                  3. Hierarchy & Authority
                    1. Believe society is naturally hierarchical. Believe inequality is inevitable in an organic society.
                      1. Burke - Natural Aristocracy - idea that talent and leadership are innate and cannot be achieved through self-advancement. Just as the brain, liver and heart perform different functions in an organism - so do the different classes.
                      2. Belief in hierarchy is strengthened by Cons.' stance on authority. They believe authority can only be imposed 'from above'.
                        1. It is important and beneficial as everybody needs guidance and security, and that comes from knowing what is expected of them.
                          1. Thatcher acted authoritatively, resulting in Michael Heseltine's resignation in 1989 over the Westland Affair and her authoritarian, uncooperative approach to governing.
                        2. Property
                          1. In an unpredictable world, private property gives an individual a sense of confidence and assurance.
                            1. They will be aware that property must be safeguarded and property owners therefore have an interest in society and in maintaining law and order.
                            2. Quite often property is hereditary and passed down from generation to generation - hence why DC opposed Labour's 'Mansion Tax'
                              1. Harold MacMillan was also critical of Thatcher's policy of privatisation, describing it as "selling off the family silver".
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