Conservatism and Ideology
Michael Oakshott described conservatism as a non-ideological preference for the familiar, tried, actual, limited, near, sufficient, convenient and present. Historically, conservatives have been associated with attempts to sustain social harmony between classes and groups within an organic, hierarchical order grounded in collective history and cultural values. Yet, in recent decades, conservatism throughout the English-speaking world has been associated with radical social and economic policy, often championing free-market models which substitute the free movement of labour and forms of competition and social mobility for organic hierarchy and noblesse oblige. The radical changes associated with such policies call into question the extent to which contemporary conservatism is conservative, rather than ideological. This book seeks to explore contemporary conservative political thought with regard to such topics as, ‘One Nation’ politics and Big Society, sovereignty, multiculturalism and international blocs, paternalism and negative liberty with regard to narcotics, pornography and education, regional and international development, and public faith, establishment and religious diversity.