POLC73 - Lec #3 - Sept 25, 2012
Burke - What is conservatism? (Continuation from Lec #2)
Emphasizes civil society/intermediary organizations (family, church, etc.)
Nostalgia for aspects of feudalism
- Decentralized but still hierarchical
- Critique of democracy as despotic
There is an importance placed upon tradition - Keep remnants from the past.
- "When it is not necessary to change, it is necessary not to change."
Involves prejudice, not reason. Meaning that there is a sort of deference when it comes to the
decisions of others.
Believes in an incompatibility between liberty and equality. Liberty and equality are more in
tension with one another.
Offers a positive view of hierarchy
Tensions in Conservatism (Continuation from Lec #2)
Role of the State: The state and its elites are a part of a hierarchy that can provide guidance to
lower orders. As the State has become a welfare state, it no longer signifies the same
hierarchical order. It becomes an instrument for the masses. Conservatives did not want the
people to control the elites.
Role of the Economy: The economy is potentially something that can have destabilizing effects.
Burke was writing this in 1790, mind you. Nowadays, there are many established business elites.
They are the source of power and economy. The economy is now seen as a way to consolidate
John Stuart Mill - The Harm Principle (Lec #3 Begins Here)
The Harm Principle holds that the actions of individuals should only be limited to prevent harm
to other individuals.
Mill argued that "the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any
member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others" in his
dissertation called On Liberty
The Harm Principle as a basic doctrine of liberalism
After this lecture, you should understand his arguments in favour of free speech
Mill's view that liberty is necessary to prevent conformism/mediocrity from stopping historical
John Stuart Mill Son of James Mill, a prominent utilitarian
Received extremely rigorous home schooling
Experienced a mental breakdown in early adulthood (age 20) - Described it as a ...stopped caring
and experienced empathy.
Began his career in the East India company as a private bureaucrat and continued working there
for the rest of his life. He eventually acquired the top job in the East India company.
Had a lifelong friendship with and eventually married Harriet Taylor
Civil or social liberty: T