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NEOCONSERVATISM

CONSERVATISM
 Edmund Burke
 Michael Oakeshott
 Pessimistic view of human nature
 Limited intelligence, capacity to
understand complex human relations
 Suspicion of deliberate, large-scale
[especially government] innovations
 Preference for incremental change
 Collective, practical wisdom reflected in
established practices and institutions
 Affirmation of hierarchy, authority,
noblesse oblige
NEOCONSERVATISM
 A reaction to the excesses of
modernity
 relativism
 nihilism
 individualism
 ‘progress’
 scientific/technological
dominance
 lost sense of the ‘sacred’
 egalitarian excesses
NEOCONSERVATISM
 A resurgence in the popularity of
conservative ideas
 limited government
 reduced government size and scope
 reduced government spending
 reduced government regulation
 greater reliance on the free market
 protection of social traditions and
institutions
 family
 religion
NEOCONSERVATISM
 Increased protection
 crime control
 military spending/initiatives
 ‘values’
 ‘social conservatism’
 family values
 vs relativism/secular humanism
 sexual morality
 anti-abortion
 ‘fiscal conservatism’
NEOCONSERVATIVE TENSIONS
 Reduction / expansion of
government
 Fiscal conservatism focuses primarily

on reducing government
 Social conservatism supports

increases in government to protect


society/traditions
 Populism

 Champions the ‘common sense of


the common people’

NEOCONSERVATIVE ROOTS
 Irving Kristol
 Daniel Bell
 Seymour Martin Lipset
 Daniel Patrick Moynihan
 Anti-communist
 Suspicious of government-focused, progressive
social agendas
 affirmative action
 social welfare
 Sought solutions in established ideas, practices
and institutions
RESPONSES TO THE PROBLEM
OF MODERNITY
 NEOCONSERVATIVE
 Revival of classical, established
ideas and practices
 authority
 objective truth/morality
 faith/ religion
 reason alone cannot sustain a
political order
RESPONSES TO THE PROBLEM
OF MODERNITY
 Can reason/science support the respect or
tolerance needed for liberty and basic equality?
 Both neoconservatives and postmoderns think not.
 What can support the respect essential for liberty?
 Some postmoderns suggest that skepticism about
truth/morality, tentativeness against dogmatism
could support the respect or tolerance needed for
liberty and basic equality.
 Many neoconservatives think faith or something
like reverence, or the sacred is necessary.