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"At the heart of New Right thought, lies the paradox of libertarian and authoritarian belief". To what extent do you support this quotation?

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Introduction

"At the heart of New Right thought, lies the paradox of libertarian and authoritarian belief". To what extent do you support this quotation? The New Right is a form of conservatism which formed in the 1980s and took a very different view of elements of society such as family, education and crime. In the United Kingdom, New Right more specifically refers to a strand of Conservatism that the likes of Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan influenced. Thatcher's style of New Right ideology, known as Thatcherism was heavily influenced by the work of Friedrich Hayek (in particular the book, The Road to Serfdom). Margaret Thatcher said in her 1995 memoirs, The Downing Street Years; "The most powerful critique of socialist planning and the socialist state which I read and to which I have returned so often is F.A.Hayek's 'The Road to Serfdom'". They were ideologically committed to neo-liberalism as well as being socially conservative. Key policies included deregulation of business, a dismantling of the welfare state or 'Nanny State', privatisation of nationalised industries and restructuring of the national workforce in order to increase industrial and economic flexibility in an increasingly global market. The paradox of New Right thought is that it combines both liberal views and conservative views into one coherent ideology. ...read more.

Middle

Thatcher and Ronald Reagan were also partly authoritarian. Whilst Thatcher was economically liberal, as far as social values within the New Right were concerned she was anything but. Margaret Thatcher wanted a return to Victorian values and therefore never supported gay or lesbian relationships. Thatcher and Reagan encouraged censorship in both the United Kingdom and the USA (from anything from pornography to TV to speeches made by Gerry Adams). The New Right also presided over a severe decline in race relations with large race riots occurring in 1981. It is also often claimed that the UK's (Thatcher's) stance towards South Africa under Apartheid was very unhelpful, as she wished to solve all problems within the UK before trying to fix problems abroad. Authoritarianism describes a form of social control characterised by strict obedience to the authority of a state or organisation, often maintaining and enforcing control through the use of oppressive measures. Authoritarian regimes are strongly hierarchical. Authoritarianism is in essence the principle of blind submission to authority, as opposed to individual freedom of thought and action. In government, authoritarianism denotes any political system that concentrates power in the hands of a leader or small elite that is not constitutionally responsible to the body of the people. ...read more.

Conclusion

teachers, welfare workers, probation officers and so on, who may have been permissive or had alternative views to those set in Thatcherism. The logic which derives from such a view is, once more, the extension and deepening of the command of the central state in order to regulate and police those areas of social life organised by the various different self-interests of all individuals in society. I do support this quotation to a certain extent; however, I would not say it is a paradox, as the New Right has been a very successful strand of Conservatism in recent years. It saw Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher dominate their country's political regime for about ten years each. The libertarian beliefs of a free market lie reasonably comfortably with a slightly authoritarian control of the state. The only downside from the New Right in the UK and the USA is the fact that their belief in the free market, allowed for unemployment to rise, and this eventually turned British voters against Thatcher, and caused an annoyance in Americans because Reagan allowed unemployment to rise. If these two leaders had not adopted quite such a strong stance on the libertarian side of the economy, then the New Right may have been more successful, and the two parties may still have been in power. ...read more.

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