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POLS 1000 Lecture Notes - Red Tory, Political Question, Human Nature

Political Science
Course Code
POLS 1000
Martin Breaugh

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Origins of the term:
Recent term
Recent way of qualifying a philosophy, ideology and political program
First occurrence of the term conservative is in 1818 and it is used by
Chateaubriand[aristocrat, and not favourable to the French revolution]
In 1818 he finds a journal called conservative
In England the term conservative will be used in a political sense in
1832 by the British Conservative Party
This does not mean that the idea behind conservative thought is also
relatively new
It is not new simply because one of the most basic political question
has to do with the need for change or the need to conserve or to keep
things as they are thus the idea is not a new idea
Tempted to say that a conservative position is a natural political
It appears naturally in the political round
In any given community you would want people to keep things as they
are therefore it is a natural political setting
2 major misconceptions will block our sense of political thought
1. Reduce conservatism to nostalgic
2. We can reduce conservatism to simply a negative reaction to
They want to conserve things as they are, they don’t want
change and acting negatively to the movement of society and to
This is a simplistic negative reaction and that conservatives
glorify tradition for the sake of tradition
Conservative thought is neither nostalgic nor rationale
Conservative thought allows for change, a certain type of social
change to come about
Here with this idea we actually encounter an original contribution of
Canadian political thought
Red Tory tradition > change is allowed but it must be a slow change,
a change that takes in account past practices and tradition
Also refers to the political sentiment in Canada that one can be both
spending money correctly and also compassionate to society
Sum it up through 11 principles or ideas that guide political thought
1. The universe and the meaning of the universe is given
Means it is not constructed and is not made by humans
Here the term universe must be understood in a very large
So the universe is not only the physical world but it
includes the human world
The meaning of the world is given and we as human beings
cannot construct it

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The direction of the universe is itself pre-determined
The given meaning of the universe and its pre-determined
direction can only be developed through time and history
The movement of the universe is pre-determined
The direction of the universe and its meaning can only be
developed through time and through history
This meaning of the universe will therefore pre-date human
Because of this we cannot give meaning of the world, cant
construct, all we can do is receive
God disposes or benefits of a form of transcendental
Transcendental= means it is beyond human experience,
beyond our thought and beyond our experience
& because god exposes of transcendental reason, we as
humans can never really understand what this supreme being
has in store for us, nor can we put into question Gods
transcendental reason
Thus we have to accept this transcendental reason,
construct meaning, only receive meaning (thus the universal
order will remain history)
2. Human nature is a part of this universal order
Human nature is fundamentally good because it’s a part of
this universal order
Human nature has a principle of good inscribed within it,
because we are also constructed by god, but our principle of
good is locked in a constant battle with negative principle that
seems to corrupt our goodness
Ex. Laziness, drugs, sins
And they threaten your everyday actions, you could do
good but often times you do bad
Struggle between a superior principle & the inferior
Conservative believes that happiness occurs when the
superior principle wins against the inferior principle
3. The triumph of the superior principle over the inferior one can
only happen by submitting oneself to the universals order
Religion does play a role in revealing certain aspects of the
universal order
Conservatives will tell us that religion will help us
understand certain elements of the universal order
Moreover we can only learn through trial and error
It is through trial and error that we can understand how to
realize this given order of the universe and that we can submit
ourselves to the universal order
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