Political Science 1AA3 2018 Lecture 5a Conservatism
In some senses it is difficult to define Conservatism as a theory
It implies the desire to conserve
That there is value in tradition
But the specific institutions that are traditional differ according to time
and place – the traditions being conserved differ based on when and
where you are
Nevertheless, the conservative hypothesis is that deference to tradition
But why is tradition valuable?
Why should we think the past should
be a touchstone for the present?
Some change can be disastrous
Reflections on the Revolution in France
The French Revolution: traditional, feudal ordered. Common people
rebelled against further taxes – people argued that society should be
reordered in order of reason. Society began to exercise violence
against itself -tens of thousands beheaded. Society began to consume
itself. Widespread international war as a result of the French
revolution – Napolean Bonaparte then took over – was as autocratic as
any monarch. This time violent and terrifying.
Burke correctly predicted that the French revolution would end in
tyranny. In fact any type of revolutionary project is likely to end in
What will the French Revolution look like in practice:
“Liberty, Fraternity, Equality” or Tyranny?