Conservatism is more a state of mind than a political ideology

Authors Avatar

Conservatism is more a state of mind than a political ideology

Conservatism it has been argued is more a state of mind than an ideology. Conservatism is the political and social philosophy that supports tradition and status quo plus calls for a return to the values and society of an earlier age with its strong belief in tradition. Many conservatives argue that this set of beliefs is not an ideology. An ideology is a coherent set of ideas which seeks to explain the world we live in, understand human nature, offer suggestions on how individuals should be organized and offers a vision for a ‘better’ world.  Conservatism offers suggestions for all of the criteria needed to form an ideology; however, it could be argued that it is merely a pragmatic political attitude rather than an ideology. As conservatism clearly defines its idea of a ‘better’ world within its core values of tradition, human imperfection, organic society, hierarchy and authority and property it is an ideology.

One aspect of an ideology is that it seeks to define and explain the world we live in. In conservatism this is done through their view of society as organic. Conservatives believe that society is a living thing, an organism. Within this organism the whole is sustained by a fragile set of relationships between its parts. When these relationships are damaged it can result in the organism’s death. In terms of society this means that the structure of society and its institutions have been shaped by forces beyond human control which implies that the delicate fabric should be preserved and respected.  Conservatives’ also believe that without this interconnecting society the individual is left with a weakening of values and normative rules associated with feelings of loneliness and meaninglessness, this is the opposite to the liberal view of a mechanistic society. Conservatives also have a strong belief in tradition. Conservatives believe that the institutions of the past have shaped the world today and therefore should be preserved for future generations to share in their accumulated wisdom.  The conservative idea of an organic society and their view on tradition is clearly an explanation of the world from their point of view which is a key part of a political ideology making it more than just a state of mind.

Join now!

Another part of ideology is the attempt to understand human nature; conservatives very clearly say that the premise of their political ideas is that humans are imperfect.  The very fact that their beliefs have a premise itself makes it an ideology. The conservative view on human nature states that we are both imperfect and imperfectable.  They believe individuals fear isolation and so are psychologically drawn to the safe and familiar, they seek the security of knowing their place in society. It is from this that the conservative’s emphasize the importance of social order; individuals need to know where they ...

This is a preview of the whole essay