Phillip Blond (b.1966), is an English political thinker, theologian and philosopher, and director of the think tank ResPublica. He attained prominence with a cover story in Prospect magazine February 2009 edition with his essay on Red Toryism, which proposed a radical communitarian traditionalist conservatism that inveighed against both state and market monopoly. Blond in a series of articles in The Guardian and The Independent has argued for a wider recognition of the merits of civic conservatism and an appreciation of the potentially transformative impact of a new tory settlement.
Blond studied philosophy and politics at the University of Hull, Continental philosophy at the University of Warwick and theology at Peterhouse at the University of Cambridge. He also held a prize research fellowship in philosophy at the New School for Social Research in New York. He was formerly director of the Progressive Conservatism Project at the London-based think tank Demos, but left due to 'political and philosophical differences' to establish his own think tank, ResPublica. Prior to that he was a Senior Lecturer in Christian theology at the University of Cumbria and was a lecturer in the Department of Theology at the University of Exeter.
Phillip Blond describes himself as a radical Tory or a 'Red Tory'. Following Disraeli he argues for a radical toryism where the conservative element preserves and extends what is good and the radical element removes and reforms what is wrong and what is damaging. Blond proposes a popular capitalism which respects traditional values, local communities and allows 'The Common Man' to successfully participate and share in the benefits of the modern international trading economy. As such Blond wants to restore free markets by lowering the barriers to market entry and giving people assets other than their labour so they can genuinely trade and own. For Blond neoliberalism, socialism and communism are ideologies which disempower and dispossess ordinary people and should therefore be rejected by those who wish to secure and advance the well being of all.
Blond considers that a true conservative should reject both state welfarism and neo-liberal market philosophy as both lead to, and require, a massive centralisation of capital and political power which itself licenses monopoly capitalism - a mode of market exchange which unduly benefits those who are already asset rich. Moreover because it favours the already wealthy and elevates speculation over investment, state sanctioned laissez-faire economics has increasingly concentrated real ownership of assets in the hands of fewer and fewer people. Monopoly capitalism has for Blond created an ever more dispossessed group at the lower level of society, this condition has however via the widening use of debt to purchase assets extended insecurity upwards, increasingly preventing many ordinary people from maintaining their own lives and communities. Blond argues that despite real increases in income the economic gap between the top and the bottom has widened during the last 30–40 years and that contemporary models of the state and the market have both played an exclusionary role in respect of the poor and an indentured role in respect of the middle class.
Blond is a prominent figure in the 'radical orthodoxy' school of Christian theology and a fervent critic of secular liberalism. He argues that liberty requires something other than liberalism to sustain and support real freedoms and real liberty. By itself liberalism just legitimates the already powerful and supports a radically unequal status quo. For Blond contemporary liberalism has lost its true locale in a philosophy of the common good and has become virtually equivalent to moral relativism. Since relativism prevents the resolution of dispute through reason it ensures that conflict can only be resolved through the power: the strong always win. Against this, Blond proposes a radical rediscovery of the importance of ethics and core Christian values that in articulating a mediated and analogical form of cognition chart an alternative course to the sterile opposition of relativism and fundamentalism. In short he argues that liberty does not come from liberalism, but can only be sustained by a communitarian basis. In a number of articles in The International Herald Tribune he has suggested religious rather than secular solutions to the problem of fundamentalist Islam.
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Conservatism (Latin: conservare, "to preserve") is a political attitude and philosophy that advocates institutions and traditional practices that have developed organically, thus emphasizing stability and continuity. The first established use of the term in a political context was by François-René de Chateaubriand in 1819, following the French Revolution. The term has since been used to describe a variety of politicians with a wide range of views.
In Western politics, the term conservatism often refers to the school of thought based on British politician Edmund Burke's criticism of the French Revolution. Though his legacy as a conservative is disputed, he wrote against the excesses of mob rule.
R. J. White wrote: "To put conservatism in a bottle with a label is like trying to liquify the atmosphere ... The difficulty arises from the nature of the thing. For conservatism is less a political doctrine than a habit of mind, a mode of feeling, a way of living." Russell Kirk considered conservatism "the negation of ideology."
Conservative political parties have diverse views; the Liberal Democratic Party in Japan, the Republican Party in the United States, the Conservative Party in Britain, the Bharatiya Janata Party in India, the Conservative Party in Canada and the Liberal Party of Australia are all considered major conservative parties with varying positions.
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Historians use the word "conservative" to describe governments and leaders from the earliest recorded times, but it was not until the Age of Enlightenment, and the reaction to events surrounding the French Revolution of 1789, that modern conservatism rose as a distinct political attitude or train of thought. Many point to the rise of a conservative disposition in the wake of the Protestant Reformation, specifically to the works of influential Anglican theologian, Richard Hooker, emphasizing moderation in the political balancing of interests towards the goals of social harmony and common good. Edmund Burke's polemic Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790) helped conservatism gain prominence. Edmund Burke opposed the French Revolution, which he saw as violent and chaotic. Burke wrote, "A state without the means of change is without the means of its conservation," but insisted that further change be organic rather than revolutionary.
Western conservatism has also been influenced by the Counter-Enlightenment works of Joseph de Maistre. Maistre argued for the restoration of hereditary monarchy, which he considered to be a divinely sanctioned institution, and for the indirect authority of the Pope over temporal matters. He also defended the principle of hierarchical authority, which the Revolution sought to destroy. Maistre published in 1819 his masterpiece Du Pape ("On the Pope"). The work is divided into four parts. In the first he argues that, in the church, the pope is sovereign, and that it is an essential characteristic of all sovereign power that its decisions should be subject to no appeal. Consequently, the pope is infallible in his teaching, since it is by his teaching that he exercises his sovereignty. In the remaining divisions the author examines the relations of the pope and the temporal powers, civilization and the welfare of nations, and the schismatic churches. He argues that nations require protection against abuses of power by a sovereignty superior to all others, and that this sovereignty should be that of the papacy, the historical saviour and maker of European civilization.
Conservatives strongly support the right of property, and Carl B. Cone, in Burke and the Nature of Politics, pointed out that this view, expressed as philosophy, served the interests of the people involved. Conservatives diverge from classical liberalism in the tradition of Adam Smith. Some conservatives look to a modified free market order, such as the American System, ordoliberalism, or Friedrich List's National System. The latter view differs from strict laissez-faire, in that the state's role is to promote competition while maintaining the national interest, community and identity.
Most conservatives strongly support the sovereign nation, and patriotically identify with their own nation. Nationalist separatist movements may simultaneously be both radical and conservative.
Traditionalist conservatism, also known as "Toryism," "traditional conservatism," "traditionalism," and "Burkean conservatism", emphasizes the need for the principles of natural law and transcendent moral order (especially High Church Christianity), tradition and custom, hierarchy and organic unity, agrarianism, classicism and high culture, and patriotism, localism, and regionalism. It may be said to have affinities with reactionary and counterrevolutionary thought, and some adherents of this movement perhaps embrace that label, defying the stigma that has attached to it in Western culture since the Enlightenment. Many traditionalist conservatives believe in monarchism.
Liberal conservatism is a variant of conservatism that combines conservative values and policies with liberal stances. As these latter two terms have had different meanings over time and across countries, liberal conservatism also has a wide variety of meanings. Historically, the term often referred to the combination of economic liberalism, which champions laissez-faire markets, with the classical conservatism concern for established tradition, respect for authority and religious values. It contrasted itself with classical liberalism, which supported freedom for the individual in both the economic and social spheres.
Over time, the general conservative philosophy has nothing in itself to do with economic liberal arguments. Conservatism has nothing to do with liberal economic thinking per se. This is also the case in countries where liberal economic ideas have been the tradition, such as the United States, and are thus considered conservative. In other countries where liberal conservative movements have entered the political mainstream, such as Italy and Spain, the terms liberal and conservative may be synonymous. The liberal conservative tradition in the United States combines the economic individualism of the classical liberals with a Burkean form of conservatism (which has also become part of the American conservative tradition, such as in the writings of Russell Kirk).
A secondary meaning for the term liberal conservatism that has developed in Europe is a combination of more modern conservative (less traditionalist) views with those of social liberalism. This has developed as an opposition to the more collectivist views of socialism. Often this involves stressing what are now conservative views of free-market economics and belief in individual responsibility, with social liberal views on defense of civil rights, environmentalism and support for a limited welfare state. This philosophy is that of Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt. In continental Europe, this is sometimes also translated into English as social conservatism.
Conservative liberalism is a variant of liberalism that combines liberal values and policies with conservative stances, or, more simply, the right wing of the liberal movement. The roots of conservative liberalism are found at the beginning of the history of liberalism. Until the two World Wars, in most European countries the political class was formed by conservative liberals, from Germany to Italy. Conservative liberalism is a more positive and less radical version of classical liberalism. The events such as World War I occurring after 1917 brought the more radical version of classical liberalism to a more conservative (i.e. more moderate) type of liberalism.
Libertarian conservatism describes certain political ideologies within the United States and Canada which combines libertarian economic issues with aspects of conservatism. Its five main branches are Constitutionalism, paleolibertarianism, neolibertarianism, small government conservatism and Christian libertarianism. Additionally, they may overlap with paleoconservatives in their support for federalism, opposition to the welfare state and opposition to imperialism though the latter group tends to be more nationalistic, sometimes even embracing protectionism (see: Economic Nationalism).
Scholars such as Samuel Edward Konkin III labeled libertarian conservatism right-libertarianism.
Libertarian Conservatives support strict laissez-faire policies such as free trade, opposition to the Federal Reserve and opposition to business regulations. They are opposed to corporate welfare, foreign military interventions, subsidies, and other areas of economic intervention. Many of them have views in accord to Ludwig von Mises. However, many of them oppose abortion, as they see it as a positive liberty and violates the non-aggression principle because abortion is aggression towards the fetus.
Fiscal conservatism is the economic philosophy of prudence in government spending and debt. Edmund Burke, in his 'Reflections on the Revolution in France', articulated its principles:
[I]t is to the property of the citizen, and not to the demands of the creditor of the state, that the first and original faith of civil society is pledged. The claim of the citizen is prior in time, paramount in title, superior in equity. The fortunes of individuals, whether possessed by acquisition or by descent or in virtue of a participation in the goods of some community, were no part of the creditor's security, expressed or implied... [T]he public, whether represented by a monarch or by a senate, can pledge nothing but the public estate; and it can have no public estate except in what it derives from a just and proportioned imposition upon the citizens at large.
Social conservatism stresses the conservative attention for social stability and order. In order to maintain that order and social peace, also the lower classes have to be integrated into society (cf Benjamin Disraeli 's risk of Two nations, as described in Sybil).
In Europe, social conservatism has played an important role in history, being the direct parent of christian democracy. 
Christian democracy provided the ideological basis for the conservative, corporatist or christian democrat version (neo-corporatism) of the welfare state.(Esping-Andersen)
Nowadays, the christian democratic family (European People's Party) is the largest in the European parliament. The double heritage of the EPP (conservatism and its political heir christian democracy) explains the EPP's current composition.
The evolution of conservatism into social conservatism in Europe also explains parts of the differences in political culture between the United States and Europe.
Green conservatism is a term used to refer to conservatives who have incorporated green concerns into their ideology. The Conservative Party in the United Kingdom under David Cameron has embraced a green agenda that includes proposals designed to impose a tax on workplace car parking spaces, a halt to airport growth, a tax on 4x4 vehicles and restrictions on car advertising.
Cultural conservatism is a philosophy that supports preservation of the heritage of a nation or culture. The culture in question may be as large as Western culture or Eastern culture or as small as that of Tibet. Cultural conservatives try to adapt norms handed down from the past. The norms may be romantic, like the anti-metric movement that demands the retention of avoirdupois weights and measures in Britain and opposes their replacement with the metric system. They may be institutional: in the West this has included chivalry and feudalism, as well as capitalism, laicité and the rule of law.
In the subset social conservatism, the norms may also be what is viewed as a question of morality. In some cultures, practices such as homosexuality are seen as immoral. In others, it is considered immoral for a woman to reveal too much of her body.
Cultural conservatives often argue that old institutions have adapted to a particular place or culture and therefore ought to be preserved. Others argue that a people have a right to their cultural norms, their own language and traditions.
Religious conservatives seek to apply the teachings of particular ideologies to politics, sometimes by proclaiming the value of those teachings, at other times seeking to have those teachings influence laws. Religious conservatism may support, or be supported by, secular customs. In other places or at other times, religious conservatism may find itself at odds with the culture in which the believers reside. In some cultures, there is conflict between two or more different groups of religious conservatives, each claiming both that their view is correct, and that opposing views are wrong.
Because many religions preserve a founding text, or at least a set of well-established traditions, the possibility of radical religious conservatism arises. These are radical both in the sense of abolishing the status quo and of a perceived return to the radix or root of a belief. They are ante conservative in their claim to be preserving the belief in its original or pristine form. Radical religious conservatism generally sees the status quo as corrupted by abuses, corruption, or heresy. One example of such a movement was the radical reformation within the Protestant Reformation. Similar phenomena have arisen in practically all the world's religions, in many cases triggered by the violent cultural collision between the traditional society in question and the modern Western society that has developed throughout the world over the past 500 years.
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PLL Movement of Legality Monarchist Party of Albania. Rapreent the King Leka I, son of Zog I of Albanians.
Conservatism in Australia is related to British and American conservatism in many respects, but has a distinct political tradition. One scholar argues that Australian conservatism is traditionally composed of diverse groups and interests that are united more by opposition to certain political developments than by a distinct shared ideology. In terms of partisan politics, conservatism has often been defined as opposition to the Australian Labor Party. Australian groups that have historically been grouped on the conservative side include social conservatives, British Empire nationalists, organizations supporting rural interests, anti-socialist Catholics, fundamentalist Christians and free-market liberals."
Historically, for the first 70 years after the Federation of Australia, the non-Labor (and hence implicitly conservative) side of Australian politics was associated with policies of moderate protectionism in trade, and of support for the welfare state, coupled with maintenance of Australia's ties to the British Empire. Many scholars have seen the government of Robert Menzies as exemplifying this trend. However, from the 1980s, free-market economic policies were increasingly associated with conservatism in Australian politics, following the same trend as the United States under Ronald Reagan and the United Kingdom under Margaret Thatcher. In contemporary Australian politics, the Liberal Party of Australia is seen as the main conservative party.
Seretse Khama founded the conservative Botswana Democratic Party and it has been the most popular party in Botswana. According to the Economic Freedom of the World survey, Botswana is Africa's second most capitalist country.
Presently represented by Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his ruling Conservative Party of Canada, Canadian conservatism has always been rooted in a preference for the traditional and established ways of doing things, even as it has shifted in economic, foreign and social policy. Like Burke, they rejected the sense of both ideology and revolution, preferring pragmatism and evolution. It is for that reason that unlike conservatives in the United States, Canadian conservatives are generally not republicans, preferring the monarchy and Westminster system of government.
In the People's Republic of China, new conservatism (新保守主义), sometimes translated as "neoconservatism", was a movement which first arose in the early 1990s and argued that progress was best accomplished through gradual reform of society, eschewing revolution and sudden overthrow of the governmental system. This movement was based heavily on the ideas of Edmund Burke and was described in the West by the scholar Joseph Fewsmith. Other than the name, the movement had no connection with neoconservatism in the United States (the US movement is instead referred to as Niukang in Chinese), though, from the standpoint of philosophy, it can be identified as a form of conservative thought, albeit ideologically different from "old conservatism" (旧保守主义).
In the Republic of China,commonly known as Taiwan, the conservative Kuomintang (KMT), generally supports free trade with China. The KMT also has been known to be anti-communist and follows the Three Principles of the People.
In Germany, conservatism has often been represented by Christian Democratic parties. They form the bulk of the European People's Party faction in the European Parliament. The origin of these parties is usually in Catholic parties of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and Catholic social teaching was their original inspiration. Over the years, conservatism gradually became their main ideological inspiration, and they generally became less Catholic. The German Christian Democratic Union (CDU), its Bavarian sister party Christian Social Union (CSU), and the Dutch Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA) are Protestant-Catholic parties.
Conservatism in India is represented by Hindu nationalist parties like the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). BJP advocates conservative social policies, self reliance, free-market economics, robust economic growth, foreign policy driven by a nationalist agenda, and strong national defense. Hindutva has a special place in its ideology and the party believes that ancient Hindu culture and values will make India a more enlightened society. BJP falls more correctly in the Centre-right definition.
In Iran, conservatism is represented by parties such as the Combatant Clergy Association (CCA), which includes the nation’s foremost politicized clerics (including the current Ayatollah)  and is considered to be part of the "Islamic right". The CCA was the majority party in the fourth and fifth parliaments after the Islamic revolution. It was founded in 1977 by a group of clerics with intentions to use cultural approaches to overthrow the Shah. Some conservative Iranian political parties and organizations are part of the powerful Alliance of Builders of Islamic Iran. The alliance, mostly active in Tehran, won almost all of Tehran's seats in the Iranian Majlis election of 2004 and the Iranian City and Village Councils election of 2003. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, former mayor of Tehran (who is chosen by Tehran's City Council) and now President of Iran, is considered one of the main figures in the alliance.
In Israel, Likud is the major centre-right political party. Founded in 1973 as an alliance of several right-wing and liberal parties, Likud's victory in the 1977 elections was a major turning point in the country's political history. Likud supports free market capitalism and liberalism. Likud, under the guidance of Finance minister Binyamin Netanyahu, pushed through legislation to reduce value added tax (VAT), income and corporate taxes, as well as customs duty. The party has instituted free trade (especially with the European Union and the United States) and has dismantled certain monopolies (e.g. Bezeq and the sea ports). It has privatized numerous government-owned companies (e.g. El Al and Bank Leumi).
Likud has in the past espoused hawkish policies towards the Palestinians, including opposition to Palestinian statehood and support of the Jewish settlers in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. However, it has also been the party which carried out the first peace agreements with Arab states. For instance, in 1979, Likud Prime Minister, Menachem Begin, signed the Camp David Accords with Egyptian President Anwar al-Sadat, which returned the Sinai Peninsula (occupied by Israel in the Six-Day War of 1967) to Egypt in return for peace between the two countries. Yitzhak Shamir also granted some legitimacy to the Palestinians by meeting them at the ill-fated Madrid Conference following the Persian Gulf War in 1991. However, Shamir refused to concede the idea of a Palestinian state, and as a result was blamed by some (including U.S. Secretary of State James Baker) for the failure of the summit. Later, as Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu contradicted Likud's position of opposing Palestinian statehood, and affirmed support of a two-state solution.
The Likud emphasize such nationalist themes as the flag and the victory in Israel's 1948 war with neighbouring Arab states. The Likud advocates teaching values in childhood education. The Likud endorses press freedom and promotion of private-sector media, which has grown markedly under governments Likud has led. A Likud government headed by Ariel Sharon, however, closed the popular right-wing pirate radio station Arutz 7 ("Channel 7). Arutz 7 was popular with the settlement movement and often criticised the government from a right-wing perspective. However, the Likud is inclined towards the Torah and expresses support for it within the context of civil Judaism, as a result of its Irgun past, which aligned itself according to the word of the Tanakh.
Japan's conservative Liberal Democratic Party - which has dominated elections for half a century — traditionally identified itself with a number of general goals such as rapid, export-based economic growth and close cooperation with the United States in foreign and defense policies, as well as several newer issues, such as administrative reform. Administrative reform encompassed several themes: simplification and streamlining of government bureaucracy; privatization of state owned enterprises; and adoption of measures, including tax reform, needed to prepare for the strain on the economy posed by an aging society.
Other priorities in the early 1990s included promoting a more active and positive role for Japan in the rapidly developing Asia-Pacific region, internationalizing Japan's economy by liberalizing and promoting domestic demand, creating a high technology information society, and promoting scientific research.
The Nepali politics can be viewed as a very interesting clash of left wing parties, liberal democratic parties, conservative democratic parties and the ultra-conservatism practiced by the now-abolished Monarchy. Because of the decade long Maoist insurgency and the movements of other parties, people of Nepal seem to be rejecting the idea of extreme conservatism, and consequently the Nepalese monarchy has now been abolished. However, an intense debate still exists between intellectuals and political activists regarding the degree of conservatism in Nepali politics. While the Unified CPN (Maoist) propose a progressive ideology, rejecting all the conservative ideas; The CPN-UML, a democratic party with communist background, seems to be supporting progressive ideas blended with some conservatism. The right wing party of Nepali Congress, is considered to be more conservative than others because of their history of supporting the idea of the now abolished Hindu State as well as the idea of ceremonial monarchy. However, Nepali Congress too has adopted a Republican set up after the 2006 democracy movement in Nepal.
Historians view the inter party clash in this small nation as a melting pot of all the ideologies of the political spectrum and the intense discussions continues to intrigue many political analysts.
In the strict sense, the Netherlands did not have a conservative tradition until the early 2000s. In the nineteenth-century, Dutch statesmen such as Guillaume Groen van Prinsterer and Abraham Kuyper heavily criticised modernity, but their ideas evolved toward Christian Democracy instead of conservatism.
Explicit conservatism in the Netherlands starts with Andreas Kinneging a philosopher of law who denounced liberalism in favour of the Christian and classical foundations of Western civilization. In the early 2000s, he gathered around a group of young conservatives, among them activist Joshua Livestro and journalist Bart Jan Spruyt, and founded the Edmund Burke Foundation with the ambition of becoming either a major intellectual influence or a political movement. This project failed. The Foundation now focuses on introducing conservatism to students.
Traditionally, the Dutch conservative-liberal People's Party for Freedom and Democracy combines advocacy of free market economy and lower taxes with advocacy of such personal liberties as euthanasia and the use of softdrugs. The Party for Freedom is a newly formed party with conservative sentiments, advocating strict restriction on immigration from Muslim countries and a return to what it calls the 'Judeo-Christian civilization'. However, it defends values which are usually not associated with conservatives, such as same-sex marriages. Furthermore, on social and economic issues it recently tends to vote as often with parties on the Left as well as on the Right. The party is led by Geert Wilders.
The New Zealand National Party ("National" or "the Nats") currently[update] forms the largest (in terms of parliamentary seats) political party in the next New Zealand Parliament, and thus function as the core of a governing coalition. For many decades "National" has been the largest liberal-conservative political party in New Zealand.
The National Party currently[update] advocates policies of reducing taxes, reducing social welfare payments, promoting free trade, restoring or maintaining New Zealand's defence alliances, and promoting one standard of citizenship for all New Zealanders ("One law for all").
Saudi Arabia has been under the influence of conservative clerics who uphold a strict interpretation of Islamic law, and the monarchy supports conservative social polices. Women are required to dress modestly, and all sexual activity outside of a traditional heterosexual marriage is illegal. Dancing, playing music or showing movies in public are forbidden.
In Scandinavian countries, conservatism has been represented in liberal conservative parties such as the National Coalition party in Finland, the Moderate Party in Sweden, Høyre in Norway and the Conservative People's Party in Denmark. Domestically, these parties generally support market-oriented policies. Denmark's conservative-liberal Venstre has been characterized as a classical liberal party. Their former leader (Anders Fogh Rasmussen) wrote the book Fra Socialstat til Minimalstat (English: From Social State to Minimal State), which advocated an extensive reform along classical liberal lines. This said, it should be noted that the former prime minister stated that classical liberalism is "out-dated" and gravitated towards a heavily social-democratically influenced approach towards managing the state , .
In the 2008 parliamentary elections, the conservative Grand National Party won 37% of the vote in South Korea, compared with 25% for the liberal United Democratic Party. After decades of low taxation, South Korea is a major economic power and one of the wealthiest countries in Asia. It had one of the world's fastest growing economies since the 1960s, now highly developed and the fourth largest in Asia and 13th largest in the world. Forming the G20 industrial nations and the world's top ten exporters, it is an APEC and OECD member, defined as a High Income Nation by the World Bank and an Advanced Economy by the IMF and CIA. The Asian Tiger is leading the Next Eleven nations and is still among the world's fastest growing developed countries. Today, its success story is known as the "Miracle on the Han", a role model for many developing countries.
Conservatism in the United Kingdom is related to its counterparts in other Western nations, but has a distinct tradition. Edmund Burke is often considered the father of conservatism in the English-speaking world. Burke was a Whig, while the term Tory is given to the later Conservative Party. One Australian scholar argues, "For Edmund Burke and Australians of a like mind, the essence of conservatism lies not in a body of theory, but in the disposition to maintain those institutions seen as central to the beliefs and practices of society."
The old established form of English, and after the Act of Union, British conservatism, was the Tory Party. It reflected the attitudes of a rural land owning class, and championed the institutions of the monarchy, the Anglican Church, the family, and property as the best defence of the social order. In the early stages of the industrial revolution, it seemed to be totally opposed to a process that seemed to undermine some of these bulwarks. The new industrial elite were seen by many as enemies to the social order. Robert Peel was able to reconcile the new industrial class to the Tory landed class by persuading the latter to accept the repeal of the Corn Laws in 1846. He created a new political group that sought to preserve the old status quo while accepting the basics of laissez-faire and free trade. The new coalition of traditional landowners and sympathetic industrialists constituted the new Conservative Party.
Benjamin Disraeli gave the new party a political ideology. As a young man, he was influenced by the romantic movement and medievalism, and developed a devastating critique of industrialism. In his novels, he outlined an England divided into two nations, each living in perfect ignorance of each other. He foresaw, like Karl Marx, the phenomenon of an alienated industrial proletariat. His solution involved a return to an idealised view of a corporate or organic society, in which everyone had duties and responsibilities towards other people or groups. This "one nation" conservatism is still a significant tradition in British politics. It has animated a great deal of social reform undertaken by successive Conservative governments.
Although nominally a Conservative, Disraeli was sympathetic to some of the demands of the Chartists and argued for an alliance between the landed aristocracy and the working class against the increasing power of the middle class, helping to found the Young England group in 1842 to promote the view that the rich should use their power to protect the poor from exploitation by the middle class. The conversion of the Conservative Party into a modern mass organisation was accelerated by the concept of Tory Democracy attributed to Lord Randolph Churchill.
A Liberal-Conservative coalition during World War I, coupled with the ascent of the Labour Party, hastened the collapse of the Liberals in the 1920s. After World War II, the Conservative Party made concessions to the socialist policies of the Left. This compromise was a pragmatic measure to regain power, but also the result of the early successes of central planning and state ownership forming a cross-party consensus. This was known as Butskellism, after the almost identical Keynesian policies of Rab Butler on behalf of the Conservatives, and Hugh Gaitskell for Labour.
However, in the 1980s, under the leadership of Margaret Thatcher, and the influence of Keith Joseph, there was a dramatic shift in the ideological direction of British conservatism, with a movement towards free-market economic policies. As one commentator explains, "The privatization of state owned industries, unthinkable before, became commonplace [during Thatcher's government] and has now been imitated all over the world."
Some commentators have questioned whether Thatcherism was consistent with the traditional concept of conservatism in the United Kingdom, and saw her views as more consistent with classical liberalism. Thatcher was described as "a radical in a conservative party", and her ideology has been seen as confronting "established institutions" and the "accepted beliefs of the elite", both concepts incompatible with the traditional conception of conservatism as signifying support for the established order and existing social convention.
Conservatism in the United States includes a variety of political ideologies including fiscal conservatism, supply-side economics, social conservatism, libertarian conservatism, bioconservatism, traditionalist conservatism, and religious conservatism, as well as support for a strong military. Modern American conservatism was largely born out of alliance between classical liberals and social conservatives in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Important American conservatives include William F. Buckley, Albert Jay Nock, Ronald Reagan, Russell Kirk, Barry Goldwater, and Robert Taft.
US president Ronald Reagan, who was a self-declared conservative, is widely seen as a symbol of American conservatism. In an interview, he said "I believe the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism." Organizations in the US committed to promoting conservative ideology include the American Conservative Union, Eagle Forum, American Enterprise Institute, Heritage Foundation and the Hoover Institution. US-based media outlets that are conservative include Human Events, National Review, The American Conservative, Policy Review, and The Weekly Standard.
In the US, social conservatives emphasize traditional views of social units such as the family, church, or locale. Social conservatism may entail defining marriage as relationships between one man and one woman (thereby prohibiting same-sex marriage and polygamy) and laws placing restrictions on the practice of abortion. While many religious conservatives believe that government should have a role in defending moral values, libertarian conservatives such as Barry Goldwater advocated a hands-off government where social values were concerned.
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A meta-analysis of research literature by Jost, Glaser, Kruglanski, and Sulloway in 2003 claimed that many factors, such as intolerance of ambiguity and need for cognitive closure, contribute to the degree of one's political conservatism. The study also stated that these traits "might be associated with such generally valued characteristics as personal commitment and unwavering loyalty," and that while both liberals and conservatives are resistant to change; liberals have a higher tolerance.
According to psychologist Robert Altemeyer, individuals who are politically conservative tend to rank high in Right-Wing Authoritarianism (RWA) on his RWA scale. A study done on Israeli and Palestinian students in Israel found that RWA scores of right-wing party supporters were significantly higher than those of left-wing party supporters. However, a 2005 study by H. Michael Crowson and colleagues suggested a moderate gap between RWA and other conservative positions. While it was true that RWA partially mediated the relationship between cognitive rigidity and mainstream conservatism, "The results indicated that conservatism is not synonymous with RWA." 
Psychologist Felicia Pratto and her colleagues have found evidence to support the idea that a high Social Dominance Orientation (SDO) is strongly correlated with conservative political views, and opposition to social engineering to promote equality. Pratto and her colleagues found that high SDO scores were highly correlated with measures of prejudice. The were supported in this claim by David J. Schneider, who wrote that "correlations between prejudice and political conservative are reduced virtually to zero when controls for SDO are instituted"  and by Kenneth Minogue who wrote "It is characteristic of the conservative temperament to value established identities, to praise habit and to respect prejudice, not because it is irrational, but because such things anchor the darting impusles of human beings in solidities of custom which we do not often begin to value until we are already losing them. Radicalism often generates youth movements, while conservatism is a condition found among the mature, who have discovered what it is in life they most value." 
Another study stated that opposition is not based on racism or sexism, but on a "principled conservatism," a perspective based on "concern for equity, color-blindness, and genuine conservative values." Furthermore, the study suggested that racism and conservatism are independent, and weakly correlated among the highly educated. In an effort to examine the relationship between education, SDO, and racism, Sidanius and his colleagues conducted a survey in which subjects were asked about their political and social attitudes. Results indicated partial support for the principled-conservatism position, in that racism was not the primary force for opposition to policies such as affirmative action. However, contrary to predictions, correlations among SDO, political conservatism, and racism were strongest among the most well educated, and weakest among the least well educated.
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Paleoconservatism (sometimes shortened to paleo or paleocon when the context is clear) is a term for an anti-communist and anti-imperialist right-wing political philosophy in the United States stressing tradition, civil society and anti-federalism, along with religious, regional, national and Western identity. Chilton Williamson, Jr. describes paleoconservatism as "the expression of rootedness: a sense of place and of history, a sense of self derived from forebears, kin, and culture—an identity that is both collective and personal." Paleoconservatism is not expressed as an ideology and its adherents do not necessarily subscribe to any one party line.
Paleoconservatives in the 21st century often highlight their points of disagreement with neoconservatives, especially on issues like immigration, affirmative action, U.S. funding of its allies abroad, foreign wars, and welfare. They also criticize social democracy, which some refer to as the "therapeutic managerial state," the "welfare-warfare state" or "polite totalitarianism." They see themselves as the legitimate heirs to the American conservative tradition.
Paul Gottfried is credited with coining the term in the 1980s. He says the term originally referred to various Americans, such as traditionalist Catholics and agrarian Southerners, who turned to anticommunism during the Cold War.
Paleoconservative thought has developed within the pages of the Rockford Institute's Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture. Pat Buchanan was heavily influenced by its articles and helped create another paleocon publication, The American Conservative. Its concerns overlap those of the Old Right that opposed the New Deal in the 1930s and 1940s, as well as American social conservatism of the late 20th century expressed, for example, in the book Single Issues by Joseph Sobran.
The prefix paleo derives from the Greek root palaeo- meaning "ancient" or "old." It is somewhat tongue-in-cheek—and refers to the paleocons' claim to represent a more historic, authentic conservative tradition than that found in neoconservative. Adherents of paleoconservatism often describe themselves simply as "paleo-." Rich Lowry of National Review claims the prefix “is designed to obscure the fact that it is a recent ideological creation of post-Cold War politics.”
The paleoconservatives use the suffix conservative somewhat differently from some American opponents of Leftism. Paleocons may reject attempts by Rush Limbaugh and others to graft short-term policy goals—such as school choice, enterprise zones, and faith-based initiatives—into the core of conservatism. This is mainly due to the paleoconservative's desire to see these incorporated as long-term institutional goals, rather than short-term victories for the movement itself. In this way, paleocons are generally regarded as taking the "long view" toward American conservatism, willing to suffer temporary setbacks while never taking their aim off the goal of establishing the primacy of conservative thought into American politics.
Moreover, Samuel T. Francis, Thomas Fleming and some other paleocons de-emphasized the "conservative" part of the "paleoconservative" label, saying that they do not want the status quo preserved. Fleming and Paul Gottfried called such thinking "stupid tenacity" and described it as "a series of trenches dug in defense of last year's revolution." Francis defined authentic conservatism as “the survival and enhancement of a particular people and its institutionalized cultural expressions.” He said of the paleoconservative movement:
What paleoconservatism tries to tell Americans is that the dominant forces in their society are no longer committed to conserving the traditions, institutions, and values that created and formed it, and, therefore, that those who are really conservative in any serious sense and wish to live under those traditions, institutions, and values need to oppose the dominant forces and form new ones.
The earliest mention of the word paleoconservative listed in Nexis is a use in the October 20, 1984, issue of The Nation, referring to academic economists who allegedly work to redefine poverty. The American Heritage Dictionary (fourth edition) lists a generic, informal use of the term, meaning "extremely or stubbornly conservative in political matters." Outside of the United States, the word is sometimes spelled palaeoconservative.
Many paleoconservatives identify themselves as "classical conservatives" and trace their philosophy to the Old Right Republicans of the interwar period which influenced the U.S. not to join the League of Nations, reduce immigration with the passage of the Immigration Act of 1924, and oppose Franklin Roosevelt. They often look back even further, to Edmund Burke, as well as the American anti-federalist movement that stretched from the days of Thomas Jefferson to John C. Calhoun.
Paleoconservatives question the supposition that European culture and mores can ever be transplanted or even forced upon non-Western cultures, due to separate cultural heritages. As a result, paleocons are most distinctive in their emphatic opposition to open immigration by non-Europeans, and their general disapproval of U.S. intervention overseas for the purposes of exporting democracy. Sam Francis wrote:
We believe that the United States derives from and is an integral part of European civilization and the European people and that the American people and government should remain European in their composition and character. We therefore oppose the massive immigration of non-European and non-Western peoples into the United States that threatens to transform our nation into a non-European majority in our lifetime. We believe that illegal immigration must be stopped, if necessary by military force and placing troops on our national borders; that illegal aliens must be returned to their own countries; and that legal immigration must be severely restricted or halted through appropriate changes in our laws and policies.
They are also strongly critical of American neoconservatives and their sympathizers in print media, talk radio and cable TV news. Paleocons often say they are not conservatives in the sense that they necessarily wish to preserve existing institutions or seek merely to slow the growth of modern big government liberalism. They do not wish to be closely identified with the U.S. Republican Party. Rather, they seek the renewal of "small 'r'" republican society in the context of the Western heritage, customs and civilization. Joseph Scotchie wrote.
Republics mind their own business. Their governments have very limited powers, and their people are too busy practicing self-government to worry about problems in other countries. Empires not only bully smaller, defenseless nations, they also can’t leave their own, hapless subjects alone.... Empires and small government aren’t compatible, either.
By contrast, paleocons see neoconservatives as empire-builders and themselves as defenders of the republic, pointing to Rome as an example of how an ongoing campaign of military expansionism can destroy a republic.
On some issues, many paleocons are hard to distinguish from others on the conservative spectrum. For example, they tend to oppose abortion on demand and gay marriage, while supporting capital punishment, handgun ownership and an original intent reading of the U.S. Constitution. On the other hand, paleocons are often more sympathetic to environmental protection, animal welfare, and anti-consumerism than others on the American Right.
Paleoconservatives argue that since human nature is limited and finite, any attempt to create a man-made utopia is headed for disaster and potential carnage. Instead, they lean toward tradition, family, customs, religious institutions and classical learning to provide wisdom and guidance.
Thomas Fleming stated this opposition to abstract ideals in a way that critic David Brooks called a "startling crescendo":
Among the most dangerous of our theoretical illusions are the political fantasies that can be summed up in words like democracy; equality, and natural rights; the principle of one man, one vote and the American tradition of self-government. No one who lives in the world with his eyes open can actually believe in any of this.
Historian W. Wesley McDonald explains the opposition to ideology this way:
In a humane social order, a community of spirit is fostered in which generations are bound together. According to [Russell] Kirk, this link is achieved through moral and social norms that transcend the particularities of time and place and, because they form the basis of genuine civilized existence, can only be neglected at great peril. These norms, reflected in religious dogmas, traditions, humane letters, social habit and custom, and prescriptive institutions, create the sources of the true community that is the final end of politics.
Along these lines, Joseph Sobran, in his "Pensees", argues that Western civilization relies on civility at the center of the society:
Civility is the relationship among citizens in a republic. It corresponds to the condition we call "freedom", which is not just an absence of restraint or coercion, but the security of living under commonly recognized rules of conduct. Not all these rules are enforced by the state; legal institutions of civility depend on the ethical substratum and collapse when it is absent. And in fact the colloquial sense of civility as good manners is relevant to its political meaning: citizens typically deal with each other by consent, and they have to say "please" and "thank you" to each other.
Certain paleoconservatives say that tradition is a better guide than reason. For example, Mel Bradford wrote that certain questions are settled before any serious deliberation concerning a preferred course of conduct may begin. This ethic is based in a "culture of families, linked by friendship, common enemies, and common projects." So a good conservative keeps "a clear sense of what Southern grandmothers have always meant in admonishing children, we don't do that."
Thomas Fleming calls tradition "a body of wisdom and truth and a set of attitudes and behavior handed down from one generation to another. It is our parents' respect for their grandfathers that we reflect when we refuse to think ourselves wiser than our ancestors and do not presume to condemn their shortcomings." By following tradition, Joseph Sobran said that society can maintain continuity with the past, through words, rituals, records, commemorations, and laws:
There is no question of "resisting change." The only question is what can and should be salvaged from "devouring time." Conservation is a labor, not indolence, and it takes discrimination to identify and save a few strands of tradition in the incessant flow of mutability. In fact conservation is so hard that it could never be achieved by sheer conscious effort. Most of it has to be done by habit, as when we speak in such a way as to make ourselves understood by others without their having to consult a dictionary, and thereby give a little permanence to the kind of tradition that is a language.
Furthermore, James Kalb argues that tradition succeeds where ideology fails because it includes habits and attitudes about things that are hard to articulate rationally. Many aspects of social life resist clear definition, so technocratic approaches to social policy deserve suspicion:
Our knowledge is partial and attained with difficulty. The effects of political proposals are difficult to predict and as the proposals become more ambitious their effects become incalculable. We can't evaluate political ideas without accepting far more beliefs, presumptions and attitudes than we could possibly judge critically.
Many paleocons also say that Westerners have lost touch with their classical and European heritage, to the point that they are in danger of losing their civilization. Robert S. Griffin notes that paleocons fear the United States becoming a "secularized, homogenized, de-Europeanized, pacified, deluded, manipulated, lowest-common-denominator-leveled, popular-culture-dopified country"
The decadence of a civilization by loss of faith and vigour can be observed more than once in history. What is extraordinary about the American situation is the stupidity. The Romans, such is my impression, did not become stupid and incompetent with their decadence. Americans have not lost faith in their cultural inheritance—they have been entirely separated from it. How this happened is one of the few topics still worth exploring in this Twilight.
Paleocons tend to dislike abstract principles presented without connection to concrete roots, like religion, heritage or traditional institutions. This distaste for universalism includes the doctrinal conclusions by socialists, neo-Thomists and Straussians. For example, Mel Bradford wrote in "A Better Guide Than Reason" (citing Michael Oakeshott) that:
The only freedom which can last is a freedom embodied somewhere, rooted in a history, located in space, sanctioned by genealogy, and blessed by a religious establishment. The only equality which abstract rights, insisted upon outside the context of politics, are likely to provide is the equality of universal slavery. It is a lesson which Western man is only now beginning to learn.
Some paleocons also profess a conservative value-centered historicism, which Gottfried defines as “the belief that historical circumstances set values.” This is distinguished from nihilism, postmodernism and moral relativism. Samuel Francis argued that this position is a “Burkean appeal to tradition.” For example, Edmund Burke wrote in his "Reflections on the Revolution in France."
I cannot stand forward, and give praise or blame to anything which relates to human actions, and human concerns, on a simple view of the object, as it stands stripped of every relation, in all the nakedness and solitude of metaphysical abstraction. Circumstances (which with some gentlemen pass for nothing) give in reality to every political principle its distinguishing color and discriminating effect. The circumstances are what render every civil and political scheme beneficial or noxious to mankind.
Claes Ryn says that life has “an enduring purpose, but one that manifests itself differently as individuals and circumstances are different.” He writes:
For the conservative, the universal imperative that binds human beings does not announce its purpose in simple, declaratory statements. How, then, does one discern its demands? Sometimes only with difficulty. Only through effort can the good or true or beautiful be discovered, and they must be realized differently in different historical circumstances. The same universal values have diverse manifestations. Some of the concrete instantiations of universality take us by surprise. Because there is no simple roadmap to good, human beings need freedom and imagination to find it. Universality has nothing to do with uniformity.
Anti-Federalism is another key aspect of paleoconservatism, which adherents see as an antitype to the managerial state. The paleocon flavor urges honoring the principle of subsidiarity, that is, decentralism, local rule, private property and minimal bureaucracy. In an international context, this view would be known as federalism and paleocons often look to John Calhoun for inspiration.
As to the role of statecraft in society, Thomas Fleming says it should not be confused with soulcraft. He gives his summary of the paleocon position:
Our basic position on the state has always been twofold: 1) a recognition that man is a social and political animal who cannot be treated as an "individual" without doing damage to human nature. In this sense libertarian theory is as wrong and as potentially harmful as communism. The commonwealth is therefore a natural and necessary expression of human nature that provides for the fulfillment of human needs, and 2) the modern state is a cancerous form of polity that has metastasized and poisoned the natural institutions from which the state derives all legitimacy—family, church, corporation (in the broadest sense), and neighborhood. Thus, it is almost always a mistake to try to use the modern state to accomplish moral or social ends.
Russell Kirk, for example, argued that most government tasks should be performed at the local or state level. This is intended to ward off centralization and protect community sentiment by putting the decision-making power closer to the populace. He rooted this in the Christian notion of original sin; since humanity is flawed, society should not put too much power in a few hands. Gerald J. Russello concluded that this involved “a different way of thinking about government, one based on an understanding of political society as beginning in place and sentiment, which in turn supports written laws.”
This anti-federalism extends to culture too. In general, this means that different regional groups should be able to maintain their own distinct identity. For example, Thomas Fleming and Michael Hill argue that the American South and every other region have the right to “preserve their authentic cultural traditions and demand the same respect from others.” In their Southern context they call on citizens to “take control of their own governments, their own institutions, their own culture, their own communities and their own lives” and “wean themselves from dependence on federal largesse.” They say that:
A concern for states' rights, local self-government and regional identity used to be taken for granted everywhere in America. But the United States is no longer, as it once was, a federal union of diverse states and regions. National uniformity is being imposed by the political class that runs Washington, the economic class that owns Wall Street and the cultural class in charge of Hollywood and the Ivy League.
In a similar fashion, Pat Buchanan argued during the 1996 campaign that the social welfare should be left to the control of individual states. He also called for abolishing the U.S. Department of Education and handing decision-making over to parents, teachers and districts. Controversies such as evolution, busing and curriculum standards would be settled on a local basis.
In addition, he opposed a 1998 Puerto Rican statehood plan on the grounds that the island would be ripped from its cultural and linguistic roots: "Let Puerto Rico remain Puerto Rico, and let the United States remain the United States and not try to absorb, assimilate and Americanize a people whose hearts will forever belong to that island."
Paleocons often argue that modern managerial society is a threat to stable families. Allan C. Carlson, former president of the Rockford Institute, argues that
The family is the natural and fundamental social unit, inscribed in our nature as human beings, rooted in marriage, rooted in the commitment to bring new life into the world, and rooted in a deep respect for both ancestors and posterity.
He calls this a universal rule of human nature, true for Westerners and non-Westerners alike. He also argues that happiness "comes through natural family bonds" and that "the future of any nation shall be by way of the family." He defines family as "a man and a woman living in a socially sanctioned bond called marriage for the purposes of propagating and rearing children, sharing intimacy and resources, and conserving lineage, property, and tradition."
To be human is to be familial. Any significant departure from the family rooted in stable marriage, the welcoming of children, and respect for ancestors and posterity—any deviation from this social structure makes us in a way less “human”: that is, I think it fair to say, the true message of modern science.
Joseph Sobran picks up this same theme, saying that heterosexual marriage is hard-coded into human nature:
[Even] the Pope can’t change the nature of marriage. It existed, by necessity of human nature, long before Jesus or even Abraham.... This has nothing to do with mere disapproval of sodomy. Even societies that were indifferent to sodomy saw no reason to treat same-sex domestic partnerships as marriages. Why not? Because such unions don’t produce children.... To put it as unromantically as possible, people who have children should be stuck with each other, sharing the responsibility.
Paleocons also question the validity of gender feminism in similar ways, some questioning feminism in both its radical and moderate forms. They say that the push for total gender equality dehumanizes both men and women, damaging the nuclear family and sacralizing abortion. Certain attitudes toward feminism also create room for the managerial state to try engineering sexual equality. Gottfried described this position, which was influenced by scholar Allan Carlson, thus:
The change of women’s role, from being primarily mothers to self-defined professionals, has been a social disaster that continues to take its toll on the family. Rather than being the culminating point of Western Christian gentility, the movement of women into commerce and politics may be seen as exactly the opposite, the descent by increasingly disconnected individuals into social chaos.
Allan C. Carlson says that we live in a “post-family order,” in which elites no longer accept the centrality of family life. In response, he calls for a pro-active social conservatism that seeks “real alternatives to the centralized ‘corporate state’ that are compatible with liberty and family life." He argues that there is a permanent tension between the family and “individualist, industrialized society.” He says the modern “abstract state” too often sees the family as “its principal rival” and tries to suppress it. It can also hurt family living by the unintended consequences of public policy with good intentions. He also chides U.S. Republicans “for consistently favoring Wall Street over Main Street.”
As an alternative to the "abstract state", Carlson argues the state must recognize that men and women "are different in reproductive, economic, and social functions", even though they share political and property rights. He says that churches and other religious bodies must step in and help rebuild “family-centered communities.” As for common people, he says,
Men and women are both called home to rebuild families with an inner sanctity, to relearn the authentic meanings of the ancient words husbandry and housewifery, and to exercise the natural family functions of education, the care of the weak, charity, and a common economic life.
Carlson argues that the family's greatest challenge in the early 21st century comes from what he calls "“soft totalitarianisms", which are "packaged around a militant secular individualism, but still seeking to build a marriage-free, post-family order." This includes same-sex marriage, the Left's association of family values with fascism, abortion, and "equity feminism." Samuel T. Francis uses similar ideas to argue that society should regulate sexual behavior, specifically laws against sodomy and gays in the military.
Other contemporary luminaries include Donald Livingston, a Professor of Philosophy at Emory and corresponding editor for Chronicles; Paul Craig Roberts, an attorney and former Reagan administration Treasury official; commentator Joseph Sobran, a columnist and contributing editor for Chronicles; novelist and essayist Chilton Williamson, senior editor for books at Chronicles; classicist Thomas Fleming, editor of Chronicles; and historian Clyde N. Wilson, long-time contributing editor for Chronicles. Another prominent paleoconservative, Theodore Pappas, is the current executive editor of Encyclopædia Britannica.
The movement combines disparate people and ideas that might seem incompatible in another context. Such diversity of thought echoes the paleo opposition to ideology and political rationalism, reflecting the influence of thinkers like Russell Kirk and Michael Oakeshott.
Pat Buchanan argues that a good politician must "defend the moral order rooted in the Old and New Testament and Natural Law"—and that "the deepest problems in our society are not economic or political, but moral. On the other hand, Samuel Francis complained that the "Religious Right" focuses on certain social issues and neglects other civilizational crises.
Russell Kirk is a key figure, in that several of his books present an outline of a pervasive Anglo-American conservative tradition that exists despite many other distinctions. His own career stretched long enough to for him to defend Robert Taft in the 1950s, write for National Review during the Cold War, criticize neoconservatism in the 1980s, and give speeches supporting Buchanan in 1992. One neoconservative writer, Dan Himmelfarb, even refers to Kirk's The Conservative Mind as "the seminal work of paleoconservatism", even though it was first published in 1953.
Kirk developed six "canons" of conservatism. Gerald J. Russello described them thus:
In addition, Kirk said Christianity and Western Civilization are “unimaginable apart from one another.” He said that "all culture arises out of religion. When religious faith decays, culture must decline, though often seeming to flourish for a space after the religion which has nourished it has sunk into disbelief."
Kirk called libertarians "chirping sectaries", quoting T. S. Eliot, and said that they and conservatives have nothing in common. He called the movement "an ideological clique forever splitting into sects still smaller and odder, but rarely conjugating." He said a line of division exists between believers in "some sort of transcendent moral order" and "utilitarians admitting no transcendent sanctions for conduct." He put libertarians in the latter category.
Kirk also popularized the Anglo-Irish statesman Edmund Burke as the prototypical conservative—and many paleocons consider him a hallowed ancestor. For them, he represents a vital link between the American right and the greater tradition of British customs and common law. As such, his ideas are a touchstone for a conservatism that respects tradition, while rejecting authoritarianism.
In the United States, the Southern Agrarians, John T. Flynn, Albert Jay Nock, Garet Garrett, Robert R. McCormick, Felix Morley,, and Richard M. Weaver among others, articulated positions that have proved influential among contemporary paleoconservatives. Some paleocons enthusiastically embrace the decentralizing tenets of the Anti-Federalists, such as John Dickinson and George Mason. Neoconservative critic David Brooks lists William Jennings Bryan, T. S. Eliot, Allen Tate, John Crowe Ransom, Cleanth Brooks, and Walker Percy as major paleo influences. The German-born Johannes Althusius and his tract Politica, with its core emphasis on the principle of subsidiarity, has proven influential as well.
Paul Gottfried once noted an "occasional paleo association with over-the-top Catholicism." In fact, counter-revolutionary (Roman Catholic) European precursors to the paleoconservatives include Joseph de Maistre, Charles Maurras, Juan Donoso Cortes, Klemens Wenzel von Metternich, and Pope Pius IX, though they tend to carry influence limited to the Roman Catholic traditionalist subset of paleoconservatism. G. K. Chesterton and Hillaire Belloc are also popular Catholic forebears of paleo thought. As for Chesterton and Belloc, Joseph Sobran explained their relevance:
This new, paganized Western society under the comprehensive state would have come as much less of a surprise to us if we’d paid more attention to the two great English Catholic writers of the pre-Bolshevik period.... In 1912, Belloc predicted the rise of a new form of tyranny, which he called “the Servile State,” neither capitalist nor socialist, in which one part of the population would be forced to support the other. He was not always accurate in detail, but he was right in principle. He saw that the cellular structure of Christian society was under assault. Chesterton agreed. Together both men resisted modernity in religion, morality, politics, economics, and art. They celebrated the Middle Ages, small private property, and above all Catholicism. In a famous epigram, typically defiant in its simplicity, Belloc proclaimed: “Europe is the Faith, and the Faith is Europe.”
Some non-Catholic paleocons, such as Sam Francis, complained that this tradition is overrepresented among conservative intellectuals, thus putting the movement out of step with Middle America. He reluctantly acknowledged the Southern Presbyterian influence upon his own thinking. In addition, precursors of a Protestant paleoconservatism can be seen in 19th century figures such as Robert Lewis Dabney, Charles Hodge, Friedrich Julius Stahl, Abraham Kuyper and Guillaume Groen van Prinsterer.
Many paleocons also look to more modernist or historicist sources, such as Machiavelli, Hobbes and even Gramsci for intellectual ammunition. Contrarian Leftists such as Eugene Genovese, Christopher Lasch and Paul Piccone also influenced the movement. Samuel Francis even explored the nihilistic fiction of H. P. Lovecraft. To them, such thinkers help explain modernity, power relationships, and show how managerial society subverted Western traditions.
Some modern European continental conservatives, such as Frenchmen Jacques Barzun, Alain de Benoist, and René Girard, have a mode of thought and cultural criticism esteemed by many paleoconservatives.
The southern conservative thread of paleoconservatism embodies all the post Civil War historical revisionism spread during the Reconstruction era in the occupied southern states. They are apologists for the fact that the South started the Civil War, the institution of slavery, and the illegal act of state succession. The same mythology that attracted members to the Klan and other like organizations after the Civil War, it found modern expositors in the late Richard M. Weaver and Mel Bradford. Historian Paul V. Murphy argues that paleoconservatism is rooted in a group of intellectuals fascinated by a corrupt, elitist antebellum culture (a society comparable to that of white supremist South Africa) and the Southern Agrarians, including Thomas Fleming, Clyde Wilson and Bradford. In the 1970s, Fleming, Wilson and Samuel Francis attended the University of North Carolina together, becoming what Walker Percy called "the Chapel Hill conspiracy."
Murphy wrote that they developed “a particularistic politics of states' rights and localism, which they combine with a cultural and social criticism defined by Christian and patriarchal organicism.” He also says the Southern traditionalist worldview evolved into what appeared in "Chronicles" from the mid-1980s onward, a focus on national identity mixed with regional particularity, plus skepticism of abstract theory and centralized power. They also said the mainstream view of the old South was distorted. For example, Bradford said:
The way to look at the institution of slavery is not backward from 1991 but forward from the hundred years before 1860. Slavery was like the rising and setting of the sun, a fixture of life. In pre-Colonial times, everyone was racist, except a few Quakers. Jefferson thought that Negroes were not capable of taking care of themselves, that they were somewhere between helpless children and orangutans.”
In the 1995 "New Dixie Manifesto", Fleming and Michael Hill argued that Southerners are pelted with ethnic slurs, denied self-government and stripped of their symbols, including the Confederate flag. Like any other people, they have the right to their history and cultural identity. “After so many decades of strife,” they wrote, “black and white Southerners of good will should be left alone to work out their destinies, avoiding, before it is too late, the urban hell that has been created by the lawyers, social engineers and imperial bureaucrats who have grown rich on programs that have done nothing to help anyone but themselves.”
Thomas DiLorenzo revisited the Southern paleo critique of Abraham Lincoln in his book, The Real Lincoln. He gives it a paleolibertarian twist, saying the president followed mercantilism, protectionism and the example of Alexander Hamilton. He also said that the Civil War was about destroying the right of secession, not freeing slaves. Furthermore, he claims that the praise Lincoln commonly receives from conservatives is misguided:
The Gettysburg Address was brilliant oratory, but it was also political subterfuge. As H.L. Mencken pointed out, it was the Southerners who were fighting for the consent of the governed and it was Lincoln’s government that opposed them. They no longer consented to being governed by Washington, DC. Lincoln’s admonition that government "of the people, by the people, for the people" would perish from the earth if the right of secession were sustained was equally absurd. The United States remained a democracy, and the Confederate States of America would have been a democratic country as well. Lincoln’s notion that secession would "destroy" the government of the United States is also bizarre in light of the fact that after secession took place the US government fielded the largest and best-equipped army and navy in the history of the world up to that point for four long years.
As for the 1861–1865 conflict, Clyde Wilson suggest it be referred to as "The War to Preserve Southern Independence." Fleming argues that secession was legal:
Those who hold the opinion (false and easy to refute) that the United States in 1860 were an amalgamated central state believe that the secession of South Carolina and the other Southern states was illegal, an act of wickedness that can be explained only by the desire of evil Southerners to defend slavery. Thus, in the upside-down and fact-free world of leftists like Harry Jaffa, the war was a “civil war” between the citizens of the same state or, better yet, a rebellion. Abolitionists clearly did not believe this, because after the War, they insisted that Southern states had left the Union and needed to be reconstructed. Everybody knew that it is a basic principle of international law, going back to Grotius at least, that in a confederated state the members have a right to leave.
Francis, while endorsing “authentic federalism,” stopped short at supporting a contemporary return to Southern secessionism, saying it is impractical and that the main political line of division in the United States is not between the regions of North and South (insofar as such regions can still be said to exist) but between elite and nonelite. He said that Middle Americans in both regions face the same threats.
David Brooks, a neoconservative critic, says that paleocons do not dream of seeing slavery reborn. Instead, he concludes that they link rural communities to a transcendent order and ancient institutions:
They do not shy away from expressing their true beliefs, and if they supported slavery they would probably say so. They merely believe in the social hierarchies. In those southern communities, they say, social roles were crucial to happiness and ordered sociability. "Aristotle recognized that a well-ordered society protected an ascending order of good through the institutionalization of rank", Fleming and co-author Paul Gottfried wrote in their book The Conservative Movement. They are talking about the social pecking order in old-time towns—the folks who live on the hill, the merchants on Main Street, the village idiot on the green. On a larger scale, the paleocons contrast the virtues of the republic with the corruptions of empire. The empire throws its weight around in the world; the republic minds its own business.
William F. Buckley, Jr. was an unwitting influence on paleoconservatism. During the Cold War, his National Review magazine vowed to stand "athwart history, yelling Stop." It promoted both Burke and Kirk, along with Frank Meyer's theory of fusionism; it suggested that conservatives and libertarians reduce arguments with one another and present a united front against Communism. Many first-generation paleocons were National Review supporters, but slowly grew weary as the journal reflected more and more neoconservative influence, starting in the 1970s. Chronicles founder Leopold Tyrmand complained that the movement gave political solutions to cultural problems.
Open hostility broke out in the mid-1980s and was never resolved. Some paleocons argued that fusionism failed and suggested a new alliance on the right to stand outside the neoconservative consensus. Pat Buchanan's statement that "We are old church and old right, antiimperialist and antinterventionist, disbelievers in Pax Americana" reflects this new coalition. William Rusher, former publisher of Buckley's magazine, claims that paleocons are not "representative" conservatives. "The break between the National Review and the paleoconservatives is no tempest in a teapot", he says. "It may well determine the direction of American foreign policy for decades to come."
One problem, according to Paul Gottfried and Samuel Francis, was that this was an “archaic conservatism.” This means it saw too much continuity between ancient traditions and the contemporary West, which was in "mortal combat" with Communists and other enemies. Gottfried says the problem with this mindset, which he finds even in Russell Kirk, is that it missed that "the U.S. was then clearly on its way to becoming a self-identified multicultural society overseen by a post-Christian managerial elite." So these conservatives became too optimistic about modern-day civic virtue. Looking back, Thomas Fleming remarked that
One notable group, the Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI), still follows the old fusionism. It showcases both neoconservative and Old Right ideas, such as anti-interventionism, limited government and cultural regionalism, in its publications and conferences. While they favor free-market solutions they tend to recognize the limitations of the market, or as economist Wilhelm Roepke says, "the market is not everything." ISI scholarship includes analysis of agrarian and distributist works, along with the idea of an "humane economy."
One fusionist, James Burnham, left an important influence on paleocons, especially on Samuel Francis. Paul Gottfried said that the two men believed that social forces create ideologies—and that “moral visions are the mere accompaniments of the process by which classes make themselves economically dominant and try to control other groups.” Burmham wrote in 1967:
In real life, men are joined on a much less than universal scale into a variety of groupings—family, community, church, business, club, party, etc.—which on the political scale reach the maximum significant limit in the nation. Since there is at present time no Humanity or Mankind (socially and historically speaking), there cannot be a World Government—though conceivably there could be a world empire.
Burnham presented a theory of managerial bureaucracy, presenting a class of elites that gain power in government, business and the media, based on technical skill. Here’s how Francis, who said this theory inspired George Orwell’s "1984", explained it:
Those who hold such skills are able to dominate the state, the economy, and the culture because the structures of these sectors of modern society require technical functions that only specially skilled personnel can provide. The older elites simply lack those skills and eventually lose actual control over the key institutions of modern mass society. As the new, managerial elites take over, society is reconfigured to reflect and support their interests as a ruling class—interests radically different from those of the older elites. Generally, the interests of the new managerial elites consist in maintaining and extending the institutions they control and in ensuring that the needs for and rewards of the technical skills they possess are steadily increased, that society become as dependent on them and their functions as possible.
Francis, unlike some other paleocons, argued that the existence of managers alone is harmless. Rather, the multiculturalist ideology they adopted drives it toward tyranny.. He said that “white, Christian, male-oriented, bourgeois values and institutions” are the principal restraints of managerial power, which this class seeks to undermine. He explained:
If we could somehow take out the ideology, change the minds of those who control the state, and convert them into paleo-conservatives, the state apparatus itself would be neutral. What really animates its drive toward a totalitarian conquest and reconfiguration of society and the human mind itself comes from the ideology that the masters of the managerial state have adopted, a force that is entirely extraneous and largely accidental to the structure by which they exercise power.
Francis also said, however, that ideology helps the managerial elite increase its grip on society:
It is in the long-term interest of the overclass (not of anyone else) to managerialize society so that all aspects of life are organized, packaged, routinized and subjugated to manipulation by the technical skill the overclass possesses, and that interest requires the undermining of institutions and norms that are independent of, and impediments to, overclass control.
As paleoconservatism germinated as a reaction to neoconservatism, most of its development as a distinct political tendency under that name has been in the United States, although there are parallels in the traditional Old Right of other Western nations. French conservatives such as Jean Raspail, and English conservatives such as Enoch Powell, Peter Hitchens, Antony Flew (whom the Rockford Institute awarded the Ingersoll Prize), John Betjeman, and Roger Scruton as well as Scruton's Salisbury Review and Derek Turner's Quarterly Review, emphasize skepticism, stability, and the Burkean inheritance, and may be considered broadly sympathetic to paleo values. For example, Hitchens wrote, in opposition to the Iraq War,
There is nothing conservative about war. For at least the last century war has been the herald and handmaid of socialism and state control. It is the excuse for censorship, organized lying, regulation and taxation. It is paradise for the busybody and the nark. It damages family life and wounds the Church. It is, in short, the ally of everything summed up by the ugly word ‘progress.’
The One Nation movement in 1990s Australia, Germany's Junge Freiheit, and Italy's Lega Nord. So may former Russian dissidents Andrei Navrozov and Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.
While in the past, many paleocons have criticized Darwinism, as such theories become widely accepted in society, many paleoconservative intellectuals have become interested in the findings of anthropology, genetics, and sociobiology for insight into human behavior. Murphy says that Thomas Fleming was influenced by the works of writers like E. Evans-Pritchard and Edward O. Wilson. While criticizing evolutionary biologists like Stephen Jay Gould and Richard Dawkins, they see evidence for traditional values in these fields. The Rockford Institute even awarded sociobiologist Edward O. Wilson a 1989 Ingersoll Prize.
Thomas Fleming takes a view of human nature that mixes classical philosophy with sociobiology. He said, "the laws and decrees enacted by human government are mutable and sometimes tyrannical,” yet "the laws of human nature, worked tight within the spirals of the genetic code, are unchanging and just.” Critic Tony Glaister describes the attitude thus:
For Fleming, human nature is rooted in the biological family; consequently, the extension of state power he sees as thoroughly deleterious. Family adhesion is the glue of our biologically determined natural social environment. From John Locke and Jean-Jacques Rousseau to existentialism (and by implication, nihilism) and social fragmentation, the way is shorter than we think. The principle that society consists of a social bond created contractually between each member and every other, is in accordance with the existentialist belief that existence precedes essence. For the existentialist, man creates his nature and his history by existing and the actions which constitute that existence and not by virtue of a biological inheritance or the unfolding of an inherent “human nature”. If there is no God which precedes Man, there is no essence to which his reactions refer. This implies a rejection of essential or immutable human nature.
In this way, Fleming sees both the sexual revolution and reproductive rights as “a revolution against human nature and against the most basic elements of human society.”
Do not look for parallels in ancient Greek bisexuality (a much misinterpreted phenomenon) or Roman decadence. Ordinary people in the ancient world lived as most ordinary people have always lived, dividing their time between worrying about crops and chasing after the children who are supposed to be tending the livestock or working in the fields. The tiny elite classes might become as decadent as they liked without influencing the rest of us whose lives are shaped by natural necessities. Yes, in 18th century Europe an anti-ethic of irresponsible hedonism reached its peak in figures like Voltaire and Sade, but the sexual antics of the Palais Royal were not being imitated by peasants in the Vendée. Only in the 20th century have we universalized the rebellion against nature and God and communicated it to the common man.
Differing views exist on the specific question of evolution vs. intelligent design. Fleming says intelligent design is “a boneheaded piece of pseudo-science, almost as simplistic as the naive materialism that Darwinists teach." Pat Buchanan says that “science itself points to intelligent design,” such that the existence of natural laws, such as in gravity, physics or chemistry, implies “the existence of a lawmaker.” Steve Sailer has argued that leftists downplay the politically incorrect implications of evolution. Sailer writes, for instance, that Richard Dawkins dances around the real implications of kin selection theory:
[ Pierre L. van den Berghe's concept of] "ethnic nepotism" [lead him to] to sociobiology and its bedrock finding: the late William D. Hamilton's theory of kin selection and inclusive fitness—the more genes we share with another individual, the more altruistic we feel toward him. There are no clear boundaries between extended family, tribe, ethnic group, or race. So van den Berghe coined the term "ethnic nepotism" to describe the human tendency to favor "our people." Ethnocentrism, clannishness, xenophobia, nationalism, and racism are the almost inevitable flip sides of ethnic nepotism... [The] genetic basis for ethnic nepotism with each racial group is roughly as strong on average as the etymologically classic case of nepotism among close kin—the uncle-nephew bond. Ethnic nepotism isn't a metaphor. It's a reality. And we'd better accept it—whether Richard Dawkins thinks it would be good for his career or not.
Eschewing Platonic definitions of race, Sailer argues that a race is better thought of in terms of common ancestry. He argues:
A race is simply an extremely extended family.... [A]s you extend the boundaries of the extended family farther and farther out, you typically find that they start turning in upon themselves. Most families down through history have married almost exclusively within some sort of population that's more restricted than the entire human species. Thus, while traits unique to a family fade with time (forward or backward) and outward to more distant relatives, a racial group's biological traits can remain quite stable over fairly long periods.
Pat Buchanan calls neoconservatism "a globalist, interventionist, open borders ideology.” The paleoconservatives argue that the "neocons" are illegitimate interlopers in the conservative movement. As Stephen J. Tonsor said of former Marxists who, as "neocons", had joined the conservative movement:
"...I suppose I am more of a paleo than a neo-conservative, since I believe that the conservative position is rooted in cultural rather than economic factors, and that the single-minded pursuit of competitive markets is just as much a threat to social order as the single-minded pursuit of equality."
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