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Conservatism.docx

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Department
Political Science
Course
Political Science 1020E
Professor
Charles Jones
Semester
Fall

Description
3Politics 1020 November 1, 2012 Conservatism According to Jones’ lecture, Smith argues that capitalism: a) Will lead to the disappearance of states b) Benefits the worst off c) Promotes disorder d) Fosters dependency 19 Century Utilitarianism - Jeremy Bentham o Laissez-faire  Leaving people alone to find out how to promote their own happiness o Neoclassical liberal perspective o Expanding voting rights - John Stuart Mill o Threat of public opinion o Tyranny of the majority o From laissez-faire to socialism o Thought that socialist arrangements was the best way to promote individual freedom of action Herbert Spencer 1820 – 1903 - Social evolution o Believes that society has been and will continue to evolve - Absolute property rights o Individual freedom means that each of us should possess certain rights that shouldn’t be constrained in any way by the state - Ineffectiveness and corruption of welfare programs - Survival of the fittest Spencer on Distributive Justice - Those who succeed in the free economy deserve to survive - Why no state’s aid to the poor? o They are unfit to survive o Society is too complex to be controlled in the way government want o Shouldn’t override property rights - Promoting individual freedom but state should be minimalistic T.H. Green 1836 – 1882 - Welfare liberal - Government can be a positive force for promoting individualism and ensuring equal opportunity Green’s Welfare Liberalism: 1 - Government is not merely a necessarily evil - The state can advance individual liberty by promoting equal opportunities for all Green’s Welfare Liberalism: 2 - Two concepts of freedom o Negative freedom: absence of restraint  I am free when no one is preventing me from doing what I want to do o Positive freedom: actual ability to do something worth doing  Have to actually be able to do it, otherwise you are not free  Has to be worth doing, otherwise you are not free  You have to do it with others, otherwise you are not free Green’s Welfare Liberalism: 3 - Main obstacles to freedom: poverty, ignorance, prejudice, sickness - Government can promote freedom through poor relief, public schools, hospitals, and regulation of working conditions Liberal Justice - Rawls: equal basic liberties - Fair equality of opportunity - Income and wealth inequalities only if they benefit the worst off - Nozick: minimal state – a rights protecting agency permitting capitalist acts between consenting adults Nozick on Good Lives - Each of us has our own conception of the good human life o Utopia and anarchy state - State should allow individuals to design their own lives - Liberal society would be best Rights, Liberties and Toleration - Emphasis on civil and political rights o Right to vote o Freedom of opinion o Security of a person - Protections for basic liberations of conscience, speech, association, occupation and sexuality - Toleration: separation of the church and the state Neutrality, Pluralism and Capitalism - State is neutral between conceptions of the good o Liberal neutrality - Permanent pluralism of modern society - Pro-capitalism and anti-capitalism Why Individual Freedom? - State coercion and paternalism are counter productive - Showing respect for autonomy and our own capacity to make our own choices - Peaceful coexistence (toleration) versus respect for autonomy o The most important value is the capacity for an individual to protect and make their own choices Conservatism in General: 1 - Traditionalism o Conservative wants to conserve the tradition o Continue doing things they have been done o We should be suspicious of radical change o Support the status quo o Not necessarily someone that says all change is bad, only radical - Skepticism about political knowledge o What we know derives from what we have inherited o Wisdom of the tradition - Organic conception of society and the state o Society and the state are like a large organism o We are part of something larger Conservatism in General: 2 - Classical conservatives: flawed human beings, hierarchy, tradition, anti revolution o There are important flaws in human nature that we need to recognize - Modern conservatives: small government, free markets, strong military Conservatism in General: 3 - Conservatives vs liberals - Liberals: for rational justification and transpa
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