Traditional Conservatism and New Right

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To what extent do traditional conservatives and the New Right differ in their views on society? Traditional conservatives adopt an organic view of society. This implies that society works like a living thing, an organism, which is sustained by a fragile set of relationships between and amongst its parts. The whole is therefore more than just its individual parts. This implies that the individual cannot be separated from society, but is part of the social groups that nurture him or her, reflecting the dependent and security-seeking tendencies within human nature. Organic societies are fashioned ultimately by natural necessity, and therefore cannot be ‘improved’ by reform or revolution. Indeed, reform or revolution is likely to destroy the…show more content…
Established customs and practices are ones that individuals can recognise; they are familiar and reassuring. Tradition thus provides people with a feeling of ‘rootedness’ and belonging. Such an emphasis on tradition has meant that traditional conservatives have usually venerated established institutions and been at least cautious about change. Change is a journey into the unknown: it creates uncertainty and insecurity. The New Right has significantly revised the relationship between conservatism and tradition, however. The New Right attempts to fuse economic libertarianism with state and social authoritarianism. As such, it is a blend of radical, reactionary and traditional features. Its radicalism is evident in its robust efforts to dismantle or ‘roll back’ interventionist government and liberal social values. This radicalism is clearest in relation to the liberal New Right, which draws on rational theories and abstract principles, and so dismisses tradition. New Right radicalism is nevertheless reactionary in that both the liberal and conservative New Right hark back to a 19th century ‘golden age’ of supposed economic prosperity and moral fortitude. However, the conservative New Right also makes an appeal to tradition, particularly through its emphasis on so-called ‘traditional values’. Tradition refers to values, practices and institutions that
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