Political Science 1020E Lecture Notes - Lecture 17: French Revolution, Radical Change, Albert O. Hirschman

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Lecture 17: Conservatism
Tuesday, November 10, 2015
Next Tim: Conservatism 2 Read: 108-129 Ball and Dagger
Practice Exam Q:
According to the lecture, Adam smith argues that capitalism
A. Will lead to the disappearance of states
B. Benefits the worst off
C. Promotes disorder
D. Fosters dependency
E. Will wither away in the future
To be suspicious of change, especially large sudden change
Preserve what's valuable in the status quo
Change should be gradual
Skepticism about political knowledge
Reaction to ideas that spark the French revolution
Conservative- there's a reason it's there, liberal- tear it down
Organic conception of society and the state
We are formed by our social institutions and be traditions that have been passed down to us.
Liberals vs. Conservatives
Liberals: or rational justification and transparency; against superstition and tradition
Are against superstition and tradition
Just because past generations believed it doesn't mean I need to believe it.
Conservatives: suspicious of reason; favour sentiment over scrutiny and examination of things.
Classical conservatives: hierarchy, tradition, anti-revolution, flawed human beings
Old times; we were all original sinners - religious basis for flaws
Biological basis for flaws, etc.
Contemporary conservatives: small government, free markets, strong military
Somewhat right-liberal ideal of free market
Edmund Burke 1729-1797 --> founder of conservatism
Burke's Career
An Irishman in the British Parliament- "The unthinking man's thinking man"
Against radical change but not all change
Becomes a critic of the French Revolution of 1789
Wanted revolutionaries to stop them from bringing their troubles to England.
Burke predicted it would end with killing of the King, taking over of large-scale dictator
Knew the people wanted Tyranny and large-scale massacre
Against the revolutionaries' view of human nature, society, freedom, and government
Human Nature and Society
We are creatures of habit, customs, and followers of tradition
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