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Ideology: Conservatism

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Political Science
Political Science 1020E
Charles Jones

May 27, 2008 Ideologies: Conservatism Conserve • Save, keep the same, keep from being destroyed Philosophical Background • Aristotle, 4 century BC • Christian thinkers • Edmund Burke (1729 – 1797) Main Ideas • Humans are flawed by nature o No earthly paradise is obtainable • What is proven by experience is vital for knowledge • Abstract reasoning is not productive o May lead to tyranny  Ex: French Revolution • Traditions, conventions, and customs must be the guide to the best life possible o The past is the key to the future • Political order is vital • Public virtue is paramount • Essentially, modern conservatism is not a pure ideology o It only takes its form as a reaction to liberalism o E. Burke was a harsh critic of liberalism  Especially the liberalism of the French Revolution  He believed it led to the Terror o However, Burke agreed with many liberal ideas such as limited suffrage, limited monarchical power, and private property  Did not support the “laissez-faire economy” History th • Pre-17 Century o Feudalism/traditionalism in Europe  Most of the world was “conservative” as things barely changed after the Agricultural Revolution circa 10,000 years ago o Strong notions of hierarchy • 18 Century o Burkian Conservatism  A mix of some liberal ideas with strong residues of feudal
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