‘Conservatism Favours Pragmatism over Principle.’ Discuss (45 Marks)

964 Words Dec 11th, 2011 4 Pages
Conservatism, like many other political ideologies has many factions within it. Traditional conservatism, especially paternalistic conservatism very much favours a pragmatic approach. This is the belief that behaviour should be shaped in accordance with practical circumstances and goals rather than principles, beliefs or ideological objectives. However with the introduction of the liberal new right conservatism due to the conservative view of economic and social breakdown, things have started to look a lot more ideological and challenged the pragmatic nature of conservatism. This is where the debate arises.
Traditional conservatives undoubtedly favour a pragmatic approach rather than stick to the core ideologies of conservatism. Burke
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The rolling back of the state therefore meant rolling back of welfare, which was criticized for creating a ‘culture of dependency’. This gives the idea that the ‘undeserving poor’ do not deserve anything from society as they owe nothing to society. This was shown clearly in Thatcher’s terms in office, were instead of helping out the poorer in society, she pushed her ideology even further.
The social side to the New Right was that of neo-conservatism. This was a backlash to the ideas on the 60’s and was defined by a fear of social breakdown caused by permissiveness. This led to the belief in stronger authority and leadership within society to help stop its breakdown. This straight away draws away from the pragmatic traditional conservatives who believe that society is organic and best maintained by social reform and the reduction of poverty. The new right saw it as something that caused rising crime and anti-social behaviour and therefore needed authority to stomp it out. The new right therefore believed in social authoritarianism and a strong state to reassert the moral foundations of politics and of society. This would seem to be therefore a very ideological way in which to deal with the both economic and social prosperity which the new right was trying to gain, and therefore a step away from the traditional conservatives view on a pragmatic

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