Thursday, 8 February 2018

What is Conservatism?

As a classical conservative, I am often burdened by questions of people who are not educated in the distinction between neo-liberalism, classical liberalism, libertarianism, and other individualist ideologies that come under the umbrella of "conservatism" in the United States of America and the Conservative Party of the United Kingdom, and what I believe to be true conservatism, the ideology that was founded by Edmund Burke in the 18th century that is designed to uphold the often demonised pillars of society such as rule of law, family, hierarchy, and most of all tradition. Edmund Burke's philosophy was created in reaction against the enlightenment and the French Revolution, and Burke predicted the disaster the French Revolution would become.

The Differences of Libertarianism and Conservatism.

Libertarianism and Conservatism have links but also many major differences. The political battle before the invention of socialism was between the Whigs, the libertarian party of completely unregulated trade and civil liberties, and the Tories, the party that promoted traditionalism, monarchy and a hierarchical and ordered society.  Hence why to a conservative such as myself, the fact that people confuse libertarianism and conservatism so frequently is completely inadequate. Libertarians believe that the freedoms of enterprise should override morality, whereas conservatives, while we also believe in lower levels of restriction on markets, believe that there should be laws around trade to stop free markets overriding morality. Libertarians are progressive on social issues, for example most libertarians believing it authoritarian to regulate abortion and that the individual should have the decision. Another key difference is that conservatives are inherently in favour of the family, whereas libertarians believe in a market-led society that encourages people to spend their time and effort into their career rather than into starting a family. Libertarians are found on all wings of the political spectrum, depending on their economic views whilst conservatives are exclusively to the right-wing of politics.

Unfortunately, most British "conservative" prime ministers have followed the doctrine of libertarianism much more than the doctrine of conservatism in recent years, particularly since Thatcher. However, there is an active wing of the party with growing popularity led by Members of Parliament such as Jacob Rees-Mogg and in the past members such as Enoch Powell and Peter Tapsell, who are believers in the traditionalist conservatism of Burke rather than the neo-liberalism promoted by almost all conservative leaders post-Thatcher.

Does High Toryism have high hopes for the future?

High toryism, although an old fashioned ideology is certainly growing in popularity, even amongst the youth. The discontent with the European Union and growing patriotic sentiment to do with immigration and our soverignty as a nation has certainly correlations with high toryism and traditional conservatism. Backbench M.P Jacob Rees-Mogg was essentially made famous by his contribution to brexit and as one of the conservative figures who has stood in favour of brexit, hence his growing popularity amongst the members of the conservative party, topping inner party polls to become the next leader of the party. If a traditional conservative has won favour over the membership of a party that has for years drifted towards modern conservatism and neoliberalism, then yes there is certainly a hope for traditional conservative views in the United Kingdom and other European countries.