Conservatism is both politically significant, and has received surprisingly little investigation in the contemporary academy. This is in part because of a methodological conviction shared by many conservatives, which rejects a priori theorising in favour of the wisdom embodied in tradition. More generally, conservatism is more an outlook or habit of thought than a set of doctrines. Further strands of thought within the outlook include:
the value of the particular in contrast to the universal, and the legitimacy of the specific loyalties that arise as a result
the ‘givenness’ of human identity in contrast to the ‘chosenness’
the importance of civic, religious and familial associations, which the state supports, but which have their own independent authority
the achievement implicit in any stable and (moderately) just social order, and the dangers inherent in unbalancing that order.
Aspects of Conservatism is a series of ad hoc events in the coming year which aims to explore elements of this outlook in more detail. The strands of thought identified above do not find expression only on the political right, and this series is not engaged in party advocacy.
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