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Political ideologies in the United States have undergone several changes in the past century. For instance, the country moved from nationalism to liberalism during its economic upsurge. Moreover, there have been notable differences between “classical conservatism” and “contemporary conservatism.” This shows that the country’s ideologies have changed over time. Before the World War II, the world had three conflicting ideologies, namely, fascism, communism and liberalism.
The liberals and communists came together to fight fascists in the World War II. Once fascists were defeated, a conflict arose between liberal and communists, which led to the Cold War that lasted 40 years. The latter was defeated, however, it did not stop conflict among the liberals.
Issues like race, gender, and gay, among others raised concern over the future of liberalism. This paper will explore the differences between “classical conservatives” and “conservatives.” It will also try to explore what the conservatives claim to conserve (Dolbeare and Cummings 115).
Differences between classical conservatives and conservatives
Classical conservatism is coined from Edmund Burke’s criticism of liberalism. It majored mainly on liberal’s view of human nature, governance, and freedom. According to classical liberals, humans are naturally rational, calculative, self-interested as well as competitive. In this regard, they maximize their advantage at the expense of others; they are governed by a system of law.
Moreover, this system is governed by a minimal state that comprised of civil society that has a social contract to protect property and liberty. However, classical conservatives believe that humans are not self-interested (Ball and Dagger 46-83). In fact, according to Burke, humans are creatures of customs, traditions, and habits, moreover, he believes that individuals pass but the society remains.
Moreover, classical conservatives believe that freedom is an indisputable value; the only thing is that it interferes with another person’s enjoyment. In addition, classical conservatives do not believe that freedom has to be a good thing; they believe that it can be and cannot. Classical conservatives, therefore, believe that democracy gives people too much power to control themselves and it is liable to abuse (Ball and Dagger 46-83).
On the other hand, conservatives (also known as modern conservatives) attach themselves to modern society values more than classical conservatives do. For instance, they believe that freedom works when it allows individuals to compete with others, which is especially relevant in terms of economics.
This ideology is quite different from classical conservatives who do not encourage self-interest. In essence, modern conservatives regard capitalism as freedom (Ball and Dagger 93-120).
Moreover, conservatives claim that problems are intricately simple being quite different from the classical conservative view that consists in the fact that problems are usually complex given its social fabric (Ball and Dagger 93-120). Interestingly, modern conservatives have watered-down most of their original ideologies to such an extent that they are closely linked to classical liberals.
From the discussion above, it can be noted that conservatives have watered down most of their former believes with changing political systems in the United States. It can also be noted that conservatives are much closer to liberals than their classical counterparts are.
Moreover, it is clearly seen what conservatives consider to have remained, given the changes that have occurred over the centuries. For instance, while classical conservatives are suspicious of capitalism, conservatives are not. In addition, modern conservatives believe that problems are easy to solve, something that is highly disputed by their classical counterparts (Ball and Dagger 93-120).
Ball, Terence, and Dagger, Richard. Political Ideologies and the Democratic ideal, New York, NY: Pearson Press, 2009.
Dolbeare, Kenneth, and Cummings Michael. American Political Thought, Washington: CQ Press, 2009. Print.