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

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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…show more content…
He was prompted by the division of wealth within Britain; this would go on to be called ‘One-nation conservatism’. Disraeli saw the rich people of Britain should help the poor in return for their privilege, especially as he believed the poor would not just sit back without revolting. This would therefore suggest that Conservatism favours pragmatism over principle, as traditional conservatives that it would be impossible to conserve without some form of pragmatism. However, it could still be argued that conservatives only believe in pragmatism in order to keep its key principle of conserving tradition within society. In the mid 70’s, a new type of Conservatism was introduced, especially in Thatcher and Reagan’s governments in Britain and America. This was a very ideological strand in conservatism with a mixture between neo-liberalism and neo-conservatism, aiming to free markets while keeping society stricter and under more authority; almost Victorian like. This therefore challenges the idea that conservatives favour pragmatism over principle. The new-right adopted a stance of absolute economic liberty and free markets, a neo-liberal view on how the economy should be run. Individuals should be encouraged to be self-reliant and make rational choices in their own interests. This therefore caused the shrink of the state, and the amount of help they gave to people who were struggling; completely

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