Conservatism: Challenges Political Science YouTube Lecture Handouts

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Conservatism Political Science

Conservatism and its modernizing, anti-traditionalist rivals, liberalism and socialism, are the most influential political philosophies and ideologies of the post-Enlightenment era. Conservatives criticize their rivals for making a utopian exaggeration of the power of theoretical reason, and of human perfectibility. Conservative prescriptions are based on what they regard as experience rather than reason; for them, the ideal and the practical are inseparable.

Challenges to Conservatism

Compared to liberalism and socialism, conservatism has suffered philosophical neglect. Many deny that it is an ideology, or even a political philosophy, regarding it instead as a disposition that resists theoretical expression — a “non-ideology” that attempts to avoid the errors of ideologies.

Relevance of Conservatism

The common assumption that conservatism rejects modernity is questioned by Scruton, for whom it “is itself a modernism … [that desires] to live fully in the present, to understand it in all its imperfections” .

Conservatism Importance

For conservatives, abstract propositions cannot simply be applied to specific circumstances. Unlike liberals and socialists, therefore, conservatives are particularist in rejecting universal prescriptions and panaceas; they reject the Enlightenment-modernist requirement that practical rationality is liberated from all particularism

Important Questions

  • Conservatism does not pose a challenge to modernism yet the modernism itself reiterates the importance of conservatism?
  • In Democracies Right wingers often confused with the conservationists? Explain?

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