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"At the heart of New Right thought sits the paradox of authoritarian and libertarian." To what extent would you support this?

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Introduction

"At the heart of New Right thought sits the paradox of authoritarian and libertarian." To what extent would you support this? Conservatism is the doctrine which opposes radical social change, especially when that change is enacted by government force wielded by others. As such, it means different specific things, depending upon what conservatives wish to "conserve" at a given point in time. In the 19th century, conservatives thus aligned themselves with the "Right" - i.e., with the state's authority, tradition, the established political order, and the status quo, and in opposition to individual rights. Liberalism, by its original definition, is the doctrine which seeks to promote liberty. This term, like conservatism, is ambiguous, because different people at different times have meant different things by the term "liberty." In the 19th century, liberals favored individual rights (to life, liberty, and property), political freedom (via a Bill of Rights, against the constraints of the state), and laissez-faire capitalism (with no government interference in the economy. They opposed the authoritarian state, wanting instead a minimal government, one limited strictly to defending individual rights. ...read more.

Middle

The New Right believed that the paternalistic, corporatist tendency of post war governments had created a lot of society's problems such as benefit dependency and the suppression of enterprise. As part of this approach, social inequality was seen as a necessary part of an enterprise economy. This draws directly on Friedman and his views of pauperisation. This neo-liberalism is of a classical variety as opposed to the modern version of it, of an antistatist genre. It is seen to restrict the individual, stopping them using their initiative and being creative. As the individual is seen to be rational, there is no reason to stop them making their own choices. The New Right is liberalist in its economic views as well, leaving a laissez-faire economy, where the individual is free to rise and fall in the market. There is a total removal of the 'nanny state', which was condemned but Robert Nozick, as it led to the nation and individual falling into a 'culture of dependency'. The collective power of the government can be seen as the principle threat towards the individual, and therefore the only way to ensure freedom is to have the 'rolling back of the state'. ...read more.

Conclusion

By increasing unemployment she thought that workers would be more concerned with keeping their jobs, which were now under threat, than worrying about a rise in pay. Neo-liberalism, which was termed "New-Right" under Thatcher also holds the view that the Welfare State was not working as it had been intended to, which was that it should act as a safety net for the worse off. Instead Thatcher believed that it had become a restraint upon self-help, and that a nanny culture had developed with people not taking full responsibility for themselves and their families, some people preferring to stay on benefits than get a job. These ideas are based upon Classical Liberal ideas, but were combined with the Traditional conservative view that a strong state is required to provide law and order, and discipline so that people are less likely to break the law. Another idea suggested was that national interests should be defended, especially in America, as a close friendship had developed between Thatcher and Reagan. This also involved a rejection to work closer with the European Union, as she did not want further integration with this institution. ...read more.

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