POLS 1000 Lecture Notes - The Good Life, Social Forces, The Human Experience

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Published on 15 Apr 2013
School
York University
Department
Political Science
Course
POLS 1000
Establishment of liberalism will modify the social landscape in Europe
o Manufacturing / Industrialization
o Urbanization
This will cause two new social forces to be born
o Displaced nobles
o Modern working class will emerge
o Both will help create ideologies
Conservative Ideology
The meaning/movement of the universe is given by a superior being. This means, men
are NOT responsible for the creation of the universe or the meaning of it. It will remain
ultimately mysterious. We must accept the fact that we cannot penetrate the meaning of the
universe because it is given by a superior being, who has a higher rational thought.
Human beings are naturally good, we have this superior principle of good within us.
Almost always in a struggle with the inferior principle of evil. To live a fulfilling life, we must
fight against and struggle against this evil.
We must submit ourselves to the order of the universe. This order of the universe is
partially revealed to us, through religion and nature. Trial and error also allows us to see the
structure of the universe. It also allows see why Conservatives favour tradition, i.e. Every
tradition has in itself gone through a trial and error process to survive over time.
The goal of life, the meaning of existence, is not simply to live and to be happy. The goal
of human existence is to live the "good life". Here the good life should not be understand as
the life of luxury (eg. Cigars, wine, ect.) The good life is the upright/honest life that comes
with the triumph of the superior principle. Life is worth living as long as we allow the triumph
of good or bad. The triumph gives value and meaning to our existence.
Contrary to Liberal thought, the reason and the faculty of reason does not play a central
role in the good life. The role of reason in conservatives thought is reduced because
conservatives themselves see reason as being limited. In order for reason to guide action, it is
necessary for reason to take into account experience. Pure and abstract reason is dangerous
because it refuses reality, i.e. Theory. The human experience teaches us a lot more than
abstract reason can. As such we should never trust reason that is not informed by experience.
Conservatives will defend common sense calling it experience that teaches us the limit of
abstract reason. They will be sceptical of abstract reason and of universal principles. As well as
political projects that are based on rational knowledge rather than experience. The abstract
theory does not take into account a need that larger communities needs to enforce rights of
equality. What good are human rights if no one respects them, they will argue.
"There are no men that exist in the world. I have in my life seen, French men,
English men, Italian men, Russian, but I have never met a man"
De Maistre
He means we are born in pre-existing traditions and particular cultures and it is
therefore absurd to think of man in the abstract. Such an abstract man does not
exist and cannot be the bearer of rights.
Conservatives will not discuss voluntary attempts to change society. They ignore past practice
and the traditions that have withstood the test of time (i.e French Revolution)
Sceptical of freedom. Freedom itself is suspicion and limited by the demands and needs
of the existing order of things. Freedom is only legitimate if it entails the submission of the
individual to the pre-existing order. Freedom cannot be the creative source of individual
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Document Summary

Establishment of liberalism will modify the social landscape in europe: manufacturing / industrialization, urbanization. This will cause two new social forces to be born: displaced nobles, modern working class will emerge, both will help create ideologies. The meaning/movement of the universe is given by a superior being. Human beings are naturally good, we have this superior principle of good within us. We must submit ourselves to the order of the universe. The goal of life, the meaning of existence, is not simply to live and to be happy. The goal are not responsible for the creation of the universe or the meaning of it. We must accept the fact that we cannot penetrate the meaning of the universe because it is given by a superior being, who has a higher rational thought. Almost always in a struggle with the inferior principle of evil.

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