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'Conservatism is merely ruling class ideology.' Watch

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    Would people agree with what I've written?

    Conservatives have argued that society is ‘organic,’ or that it is naturally hierarchical - all classes have a certain ‘role’ to play, with some people being more equipped to rule than others, on account of their background and upbringing. Without a class system, society would essentially collapse. This explanation as to why there should, therefore, be a class system, with few people at the top and most at the bottom has, however, been viewed (by Marxists, for instance) as a mere smokescreen, designed to keep a privileged elite in power at the expense of everybody else. However, the idea that inequality is natural (and thus the support of a society that is hierarchical) does not necessarily favour any particular individuals - support is for a ruling class, generally. Although traditionally this ruling class has indeed been determined by birth/background, it is still possible (especially since the increased influence of liberal ideas) for a person to become part of this ruling class, which is underpinned by a belief in meritocracy. In this sense, support for hierarchy is not necessarily something only a person ‘at the top’ would support; the poorest of people might support the idea of a ruling class, perhaps because they themselves strive to become part of it. This of course rests on the assumption that it is actually possible for anybody to 'reach the top' - if a person's social class is decided entirely by birth, and is therefore entrenched, then it would perhaps be more accurate to think of this aspect of Conservatism as being very 'ruling class ideology' in nature.
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    (Original post by chloeee!)
    Would people agree with what I've written?
    No. Conservatism is based on respect for tradition and the collective wisdom of past generations. What you've described is capitalism.
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    ^^

    All your points are good but you should differentiate Conservative social policy and Conservative economic policy which ironically borrows many of it aspects from Liberal laissez-faire economics
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    (Original post by Erebos)
    No. Conservatism is based on respect for tradition and the collective wisdom of past generations. What you've described is capitalism.
    Only the last bit about meritocracy is more capitalism than Conservatism, I'd say.
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    (Original post by Diaz89)
    ^^

    All your points are good but you should differentiate Conservative social policy and Conservative economic policy which ironically borrows many of it aspects from Liberal laissez-faire economics
    How does Conservative social policies differ from what I've said?
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    (Original post by Erebos)
    No. Conservatism is based on respect for tradition and the collective wisdom of past generations. What you've described is capitalism.
    As a philosophy perhaps but as a political theory it is about preserving the status quo and that includes the capitalist economic order as well as the social structures that are in place (the government, the church - if it is a social institution, etc.). I think it is important here to distinguish between small c conservatism and large C Conservatism. In fact, capitalism is more of an economic system than a political theory.

    (Original post by Diaz89)
    ^^

    All your points are good but you should differentiate Conservative social policy and Conservative economic policy which ironically borrows many of it aspects from Liberal laissez-faire economics
    I agree with this.
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    (Original post by chloeee!)
    Only the last bit about meritocracy is more capitalism than Conservatism, I'd say.
    Well, in that case, I would question your understanding of conservatism and capitalism. A large proportion of your OP describes Marxist critiques of the capitalist system. Das Kapital, the book you loosely quote from, is a critical analysis of capitalism, not conservatism.
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    (Original post by Erebos)
    No. Conservatism is based on respect for tradition and the collective wisdom of past generations. What you've described is capitalism.
    Though the two are of course conflated since tradition and collective wisdom is capitalist.
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    (Original post by Erebos)
    Well, in that case, I would question your understanding of conservatism and capitalism. A large proportion of your OP describes Marxist critiques of the capitalist system. Das Kapital, the book you loosely quote from, is a critical analysis of capitalism, not conservatism.
    All I said was that Marxists would argue against a hierarchy in society, which they do.
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    Okay, what about this? Not very well written, I know:

    The emphasis Conservatives have placed on tradition has translated to support of institutions such as the monarchy and the House of Lords, both of which serve to keep the ‘ruling class’ in power, but perhaps only incidentally; it is more because Conservatives believe in preserving the status quo - an attitude embodied in the general saying “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it” - that they support such institutions. In other words, it is not that Conservatives support these institutions for them themselves, but rather because they have stood the test of time and shown to ‘work’.
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    You're all wrong. You think you're talking about "Conservatism" when you really are talking about "conservatism". The modern Conservative party has very very little to do with conservatism.
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    (Original post by Stefan1991)
    You're all wrong. You think you're talking about "Conservatism" when you really are talking about "conservatism". The modern Conservative party has very very little to do with conservatism.
    You're quite right to make the distinction, but there is still a strong strand of conservatism within the Conservative Party. It ebbs and flows with the balance of power: David Cameron doesn't seem particularly conservative in any way - he supports reforming the House of Lords for example - and Margaret Thatcher was probably the most radical British PM in the post-war period. Rarely, however, does a party's leadership do a great job of reflecting its supporters or even its MPs.
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    (Original post by chloeee!)
    Okay, what about this? Not very well written, I know:

    The emphasis Conservatives have placed on tradition has translated to support of institutions such as the monarchy and the House of Lords, both of which serve to keep the ‘ruling class’ in power, but perhaps only incidentally; it is more because Conservatives believe in preserving the status quo - an attitude embodied in the general saying “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it” - that they support such institutions. In other words, it is not that Conservatives support these institutions for them themselves, but rather because they have stood the test of time and shown to ‘work’.
    Sounds right to me.
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    The question the OP is asking all depends on the extent to which she wants to discuss conservatism as a moral ideology or as a political system.
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      (Original post by Erebos)
      No. Conservatism is based on respect for tradition and the collective wisdom of past generations. What you've described is capitalism.
      Conservatism has been largely subsumed by capitalism, now that capital is by far the primary source of social power. Back in the day when having land, a title and maybe your own private army was an option, conservative power wasn't about cash in the most direct sense, but that's now changed. The old social elites have largely been done away with and replaced by new, new-money, elites and so conservatism - a tune which dances to the drum of elite power - has to now look up to capitalism, reluctant though it may be.
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        (Original post by L i b)
        You're quite right to make the distinction, but there is still a strong strand of conservatism within the Conservative Party. It ebbs and flows with the balance of power: David Cameron doesn't seem particularly conservative in any way - he supports reforming the House of Lords for example - and Margaret Thatcher was probably the most radical British PM in the post-war period. Rarely, however, does a party's leadership do a great job of reflecting its supporters or even its MPs.
        From a historical perspective what 'conservatism' means seems to have been undergoing a long, if resisted, transformation. The kind of society conservatives find themselves in today would probably deeply shock conservatives of the immediate post-WWII era, just as the society of the post-WWII era would no doubt seem shocking to conservatives of the Victorian or Edwardian era. There's no easy way back from, for example, the social and cultural acceptance of women working as men do, or of open homosexuality, two things that the 'modern' conservative party could only now criticise if it wanted to commit political suicide.
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        He is referring to the new right of conservatism headed by Thatcher, which openly promoted meritocracy and also broke the post war consensus in an attempt to make people more atomistic and self sufficient whilst trying to eliminate welfare dependancy. This is a valid argument for conservatism being a ruling class ideology as people can freely move about the class system depending on the amount of work they put in, this means that someone can gain a position of power over another individual by having more monetary influence, an example of power being asserted through monetary dominance is the Burnee Ecclestone afair, thus showing that conservatism is a ruling class ideology. Even within the new right strand of the ideology.
       
       
       
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