Conservatism: Different Types

Conservatism: Different Types

Traditional Conservatism

  • Founded during the 18th and 19th centuries, Traditional Conservatism values social stability, order and organic unity in society.
  • It favours a gradual evolution of society rather than rapid change, valuing the wisdom of previous generations.
  • Holds a pessimistic view of human nature, stressing that humans are imperfect and capable of irrational behaviour.
  • Notable thinkers encompass Edmund Burke, who emphasised the importance of tradition, established institutions and principles.

New Right Conservatism

  • Evolving in the mid to late 20th century, New Right Conservatism is a fusion of economic neo-liberal principles and social conservatism.
  • It advocates for free market capitalism, deregulation and privatisation in economic affairs to encourage competition and individual initiative.
  • Simultaneously, it values social conservatism and argues for the preservation of traditional cultural and moral norms.
  • Key figures include economist Milton Friedman and former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

One-Nation Conservatism

  • Emerging in the 19th century, One-Nation Conservatism believes in a harmonious society where the wealthier classes have obligations to help those less fortunate.
  • It promotes paternalistic policies, welfare measures, and moderate political reform with a view to preserving social cohesion and preventing social conflict.
  • Does not advocate for laissez-faire capitalism, instead supports the state intervention to a certain extent to guarantee social justice.
  • Famous advocates include former British Prime Ministers Benjamin Disraeli and Harold Macmillan.

Note: While these are widely acknowledged sub-groups of conservatism, it is key to remember that they are not distinctive categories. They often intermingle and overlap, displaying the multifaceted character of conservative ideology.