To What Extent Do Conservatives Believe In Tradition And Continuity

1166 words - 5 pages

Tradition is based on practices, ideas and institutions that have passed through time and has been produced from its earliest of origins. Conservatives stress the importance of tradition as it allows continuity between different time frames, traditional conservatives are against change so tradition creates a bases of society staying the same for examples, in terms of being hierarchical. The terms of tradition has caused conflict within conservatism as the New Right – the neoliberals and neoconservatives, have avoided placing any importance of tradition and continuity needed in society thus showing tradition and continuity is less followed by conservatives now.
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Also being intellectually limited people are unable to understand abstract ideas as argued by Oakeshott – conservatives argue that tradition provides a pragmatic understanding of the world, they avoid dogmatic and doctrinaire principles as humans are incapable of understanding such ideas. The idea of an organic society is part of tradition as it is believed that society's institutions and functions are developed and are preserved to maintain society - having existing institutions demonstrate that they are worthwhile - if they are reformed or abolished it would cause society to be filled with dangers. Furthermore, tradition is preserved through the idea of pragmatism - there should be caution with change; as Burke claims "A state without means of change is a state without conservation." Avoiding radical change, some change is necessary to conserve with society. On the whole, traditional conservatism strongly believe in tradition and continuity in order to ensure that society runs successfully in the way that past generations have; having change may affect society in a negative way.
It could be argued that neoconservatives have broken away from tradition in terms of traditional values for example, paternalistic and one nation ideas of helping the poor and focusing on authority instead. In short, one nation ideas are based on social reform and the reduction of poverty whereas neoconservatives believe in strengthening the community through having social discipline and making sure authority is followed through for example, having stricter laws and sentences. This shows that the new right does not follow tradition and continuity as it has moved away from one nation ideas to help society.
However, the new right do place some emphasis on tradition and continuity as the neoconservatives draw back to the 19th century ‘golden age’ where there was economic prosperity and moral strength. They are also suspicious of radical change as seen with the liberal new right; they dislike the idea of rolling back the interventionist government. The idea of public morality links on with tradition as neoconservative disliked the era of the 1960’s and having the ability ‘to do your own thing’, they believe a permissive society leads to danger. Having the freedom to choose own morals/lifestyle could lead to having ‘evil’ views on society or not necessarily the wrong views but different to the rest of society. Therefore tradition is needed in order to maintain society as a permissive society leads to a pathless route that provides no stability and guidance – something which neoconservatives strongly disagree with.
Neoliberals however have significantly...

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