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A description on conservatism

(23 Posts)
Baggs Mon 09-Oct-17 15:36:42

The strengths and weaknesses of conservatism and what it has achieved over 400 years in Britain are set out in this essay by John Holbrook which critiques, in passing, Roger Scruton's new book, Conservatism: Ideas in Profile.

whitewave Mon 09-Oct-17 16:35:46

Well it won’t take you much thought to know what I think of himgrin

I suppose Burke is one of the philosophers that Scruton would say was an influence in his thought. Burke lead to the modern reaction by the right that argues for the right of the individual -(there is no such thing as society) as opposed to state intervention.
I think Scruton argues that people only act collectively in times of war or other crises.

I would argue that he is entirely wrong in this and there are miriad examples of people working together to achieve something for the common good. The welfare state is but one example.

Of course we will gloss over his homophobic period, and attitude to the feminist strand since the 60s.

His idea that women should behave modestly and men, manly is something else I cannot agree with.

In relation to the conservative ideas being the engine of modern society. I think he ignores much that has happened since the 18th century influenced by the left. His arguement about deviation from the “traditional norm” is in my view ridiculous. What is the traditional norm. Whose norm?

Can’t go on as I’ve got to get supper will get back to you.

yggdrasil Mon 09-Oct-17 16:38:42

Something tells me you don't think much of Roger Scrotum, Whitewave grin

whitewave Mon 09-Oct-17 16:43:41


whitewave Mon 09-Oct-17 16:47:47

I also suspect he would get on very well with JRM

M0nica Mon 09-Oct-17 17:24:21

whitewave I commend you for so thoroughly reading a book like this, which is so diametrically opposite to your own political views.

lemongrove Mon 09-Oct-17 18:13:23

Expect the usual silly schoolgirl replies Baggs

lemongrove Mon 09-Oct-17 18:14:10

Oh ,wait, you already have one or two.

lemongrove Mon 09-Oct-17 18:14:56

I will read this essay now.😃

lemongrove Mon 09-Oct-17 18:25:39

Actually, it’s very good, and I agree that Conservatives today need to break with tradition and custom and try new ideas.
That doesn’t mean throwing the baby out with the bathwater, but to be more open to change.

Baggs Mon 09-Oct-17 19:02:25

I had to go and read the essay again after your mention of homophobia, ww. I thought I must have missed something but I hadn't. I don't think it's wise to focus on Scruton rather than on what Holbrook describes as his understanding of conservatism. The usual what not who thing. I don't think, for the purposes of discussing what conservatism is and has been about, we need to know alleged personal details about the writers. I daresay you disagree with that view but it is easier to discuss what the essay is actually about if we don't concern ourselves with likeable or unlikeable personal characteristics, don't you think?

whitewave Mon 09-Oct-17 19:18:01

monica Scruton has been someone i and those who have studied politics and/or phylosophy will be aware of and know of his work. I havent read his work with undiluted pleasure!! Or even whole books, but enough to be able to comment on his ideas.

bags i take your point. The points are not alleged they are fact. If you can bear with me i will chat layer only im on my stupid phone. Broadband is down and according to virgin will be back by 2.20am!
It also costs a fortune on the phone

whitewave Mon 09-Oct-17 21:20:26

bags broadband back.

I have given this thread some thought in the meantime, and have decided to leave it to others to reply as I can see that I have irritated lemon who has already got personal, just as She so frequently did in her previous incarnation, so to avoid any further unpleasantness I will not continue if you don’t mind.

MaizieD Mon 09-Oct-17 21:42:11

I'm disappointed, Baggs. I thought we were going to have a thread on capitalism. confused

lemongrove Mon 09-Oct-17 22:52:13

😆what a pompous post Whitewave I only call it as I see it.

Baggs Tue 10-Oct-17 06:38:23

Ha! We can still have a thread on capitalism, ww. I haven't finished reading my library book about it yet. Gis a chance! 😂

Conservatism isn't quite the same as capitalism. Not all supporters of capitalism are conservatives.

No objection to you commenting on Scruton's ideas. But I do object to comments on him. Well, 'object' is too strong. Can't say wish what not who often enough, it seems. If you've studied politics you must understand what I mean.

Baggs Tue 10-Oct-17 06:46:55

So, instead of talking about his homophobic period, why not say what notions of his make you think he is homophobic? Although, since homophobia doesn't come into the essay, perhaps you could start another thread on what ideas constitute homophobia and, if you must, who holds such ideas.

Baggs Tue 10-Oct-17 06:57:44

PS Won't be back on thread for a few hours.

whitewave Tue 10-Oct-17 07:15:07

Thanks for your reply bags

Well I’ll give it a go again but I hope you understand why I get so cheesed off.

Hope others join in this discussion and are able to do so without throwing out remarks like those above.

So with regard to Scruton. All this is from memory so bear with me. He described himself as homophobic at one stage although he has since changed his mind saying that as far as I can remember he doesn’t think it is the natural order of things, but he accepts that it is such a complicated issue that merely boiling it down to homophobia is too simplistic.

Scruton talks of traditional values and discipline. Arguing that conservatism is the vehicle to ensure this form of society continues in the western world. He explores the relationship between men and women and argued (not sure if he still does) that the relationship between the sexes work better when the women is modest and follows womanly pursuits and men who are manly.

He argues erroneously imo that conservatism is what has formed today’s society in the western world. Another important thing to know about him is that he is a nationalist, and would never agree to such intranational institutions as the UN the EU etc. He is also a strong supporter of small government,
He was influenced by such founding fathers as Burke.

This is hardly doing him justice but it is all from memory and tbh someone I prefer to forget grin please anyone with greater knowledge of this bloke bung in your twopenceworth as you’ll dona better job than me.
Btw conservatism and capitalism have nothing to do with each other (smile)

I’ll get onto the paper later in the morning. Just going to have a cup of tea and feed the birds who are all sat looking peeved as nothing on the feeder.

whitewave Tue 10-Oct-17 14:28:36

Back again!

Make a start before neighbour pops in for tea

So the paper recognises Scruton as the champion of conservatism, which is probably not the sort of conservatism that many people think as Conservative but that which is based on such concepts as tradition, custom, duty and status.
So he rejects the liberal notion of the contract, arguing that this takes no account of the need for deference in society - without deference Scruton argues everything is undermined. This he argues is one of the glues that bind a nation together.

He is therefore in direct opposition both to the progressive left and the neo-Liberal right.

Both of these argue that without a form of contract that obliges us to respect snd defend the rights of others there cannot be obtained a civilised society. But in return for this we must be prepared to give up some freedoms.

whitewave Tue 10-Oct-17 14:41:43

Scruton is very hot on what he describes as the cultural norms and traditions of western civilisation, and argues that we must preserve these traditions in order to retain our way of life.

To my mind then the problem with Scruton argument is clear, - he fails in the concepts of tradition, custom, duty and status to take into account change in society and how to accommodate these changes. He sees these changes as criticism of western civilisation, which do not address the “truth” as to how our civilisation works. He argues that our Judaea -Christian tradition as superior to the Islamic tradition, indeed talks of the Islamic culture as a threat to western civilisation.

whitewave Tue 10-Oct-17 14:43:17

I have used society a couple of times, but I think Scruton would largely reject this concept to replace it with civilisation I think to be more accurate.

whitewave Tue 10-Oct-17 14:47:01

I’ve just re read this and I’m not doing a very good job of explaining what I think. Trying to do 6things at once! Sorry.