A Brief History of Conservatism (VII): Freedom

Before this article begins proper, to assuage any impression of inconsistency between this article and the previous article on rights, I would like to reiterate that the concept of rights, for the conservative, is the traditionally liberal conception of being a language of politics, and hence of governance. ‘Rights’ are something you claim against the […]

A Brief History of Conservatism (VI): Rights

Conservatives have traditionally framed the protection of rights alongside the requirements of responsibility and duty; after all, it makes logical sense that your right is my responsibility. Where the liberal and socialist experiments have transgressed this natural logic is over the boundary between what Isaiah Berlin termed ‘negative’ and ‘positive’ liberty. Also, it must be […]

A Brief History of Conservatism (V): Society

As is usually the case, this article begins with ruminations on Baroness Thatcher’s contribution to the legacy of conservatism. Margaret Thatcher once (in)famously declared that there is “no such thing as society”. It earned her the enmity of the Left permanently, whose very philosophy is built around the primacy of society and the subjection of […]

A Brief History of Conservatism (IV): Government

Since the advent of Thatcherism, conservatives have been increasingly confused over their own attitude to government. The Thatcherite mantra of “rolling back the frontiers of the state” hid a deceptively subtle shift in the frontiers of the state, rather than its simple reduction. Nor is this a British headache only; Schleuter and Wenzel discuss the […]

A Brief History of Conservatism (III): Capitalism

Since the days of Margaret Thatcher, the Conservative Party has been the defender of free market capitalism and, apparently, the prevailing global neoliberal consensus. The latest 2017 General Election manifesto, however, showed a desire to move away from this economic order to the more “middle-ground Toryism” of the days of Harold Macmillan, and so the […]

A Brief History of Conservatism (II): Free Speech

You would be hard-pressed to find a more contemporary dilemma in modern western culture than that of ‘free speech’. As the issue rears its head more frequently – especially, it would seem, on university campuses – the conservative finds himself more and more pressed to defend the liberal notion of the ‘right to free speech’, […]

A Brief History of Conservatism (I): Preface, and Property

Preface to the series:The intention of this series of articles, which shall run over the next two months, is to propose an understanding of the history of conservatism, and the currents of thought that flow like rivers into a deep lake. This is a grand undertaking, since there is no central text to conservatism, unlike […]