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Saturday, 9 May 2015

Introduction: the Conservative Standpoint

Author: Cole Dutton 
Modern conservatives along with their neighbors the modern Liberals, Libertarians, and Socialists rarely seem to concur on policy disputes.  It seems, among the leftmost, and most liberal thinkers (in the classical liberal sense) cannot see the modes of thinking which underpin the conservative mentality on a number of important political debates.  Instead, we get a variety of platitudes about the conservative position being anachronistic and out of place: simply a relic if you will. This viewpoint is emphasized repeatedly on various pages across the internet such as 'Ih8conservatives' a blog that postulates that all conservatives originate in the love of and desire to retain an aristocratic society others like the Young Turks, who eviscerate Republicans and conservatives simultaneously and interchangeably simple for existing. When in fact from Hume, Burke, and Buckley, all the way to Scruton not a single philosopher hated the elitism in society, but rather viewed it as either a necessity or a stabilizing influence. This is lost on the modern critic who sees only a reactionary response to increasing liberalization and misguided equity legislation.

What the modern critic does not see is that conservatives are also doing their best to bring to fruition a utilitarian good life and the differences only occur in the aspirations and the means in which conservatives choose to pursue this goal. Conservatives believe, broadly speaking, that men have limited ability to legislate and determine the makeup of their world: they reject the rationalist concept that a good society may be engineered and instead propose that it already exists and will continue to exist inside the evolving polity. This limited view of mans capabilities and the desire to maintain the Burkean compact between the dead, living and unborn underpins most conservative decisions about what constitutes a good society. Likewise, the conservative rejects the liberal/libertarian notion that the only thing that constitutes the reasonable exercise of government is the harm principle. The conservative sees more to the state than just protecting personal freedoms—though they are important—instead the conservative aims for the state to establish the moral conditions upon which the maintenance of the good state becomes feasible.

Therefore, I intend to examine and propose conservative responses to numerous policy issues and the ideas, which underpin the concepts, used to reach these decisions. This will be an extended blog series of roughly thirteen parts which will outline the conservative disposition as best I understand it. As each post is finished it will be linked from this initial post so that all posts can be accessed in a straightforward manner.

1. Drugs

This series is as much an exercise in my own understanding, disposition, and theory as much as it is a exploration of conservative thought. I do not in any way claim to be an authority and all opinions espoused are subject to interpretation.