Wednesday, 15 September 2010

The principles of conservative thought

I am as you may or may not know a conservative thinker and I am not well. I write this piece as a contribution to the survival of the work of Burke and all those conservative thinkers down the age who have held fast to the ideals and principles upon which are ideas stand. It is not a full or justified academic work merely an introduction to conservative thought.
Let us start from first principles: the model of man: “man is corrupt; he is born corrupt into a world built by corrupt man and become further corrupt by this world. No man can leave this corrupt world or be exulted beyond it apart from the hand of God who achieved this through Jesus Christ are risen Lord”.
The idea that man is at fault for the world that he made, by this we mean society & government which is man world unlike nature and Heaven which is Go, is not so dramatic, who else but the builder is accountable for his building? But the other ideologies do not agree with this, for one reason they believe that man and or society is perfectible (so called utopian theories)
It is upon this understanding of man’s inherent limits that Burke founded the ideas that still stand today the ideas that no single man or society can be trusted with absolute power or freedom; it is why Burke set out the four pillars essential for the smooth running of a peaceful and coherent society.
The four pillars:
The social:
Man is never alone or unique. He cannot be understood or even debated within the singular because all men are vain and tempted to talk only of his need or his wishes therefore we only speak to man in union or man in community which is the state he is made to compromises and combine his needs with those of his fellows.
Government / Monarch
Power is a limited resource; we understand that in order for society to run smoothly some select ppl must be in a position to use that power to direct the ppl to create the laws and to protect the other pillars from the vain energies of the ppl. Above all, however, the duty of government is the preservation of the eternal covenant.
The eternal conversant is a tacit agreement between the past generations and the future ones which is managed by the current generation. It is an agreement that the government shall preserve all that is good in the country and shall reduce all that is evil and that the government shall know that it is temporal and preserve the freedom of the other pillars of the nation and that the government shall not do anything to weaken the nation by ill war or its own greed.

The market:
This is the newest pillar and often the most troublesome pillar. Conservative distrust of the state and belief in man in the social leads us to have faith in mans ability to best arrange his affairs with his fellow man aka the free market economy.
There is no issue with the market as long as its actions are constrained by the four pillars. As long as the vast sums of money do not dull the hands of the leaders of the community or the church or the government. It is often said you cannot control the market which make it a very dangerous thing but I believe thought continual influence of the other pillars upon it, it can be tamed to do it actual function which is merely to distribute good and not generate massive amounts of imaginary profit and loss.
The church:
Or whatever moral - religious elite the nation in question happens to have. There are before we start some stipulations this institution must not form part of the state. Each pillar must be independent in practice from each other and the church is no different. A church controlled by the state or government is no guidance but merely oppression. Also the church must sit within the community, thus it must be the dominant faith found naturally among the population
The function of the church is the preservation of the divine convent (embodied by the New Testament) in the Christian faith and the protection of the souls. It is the duty of the church to look after the poor and down trodden to sooth their wounds and prepares the man in society for heaven and to give him laws in order to make him worth of Gods divine love.
Utopias / meritocracies:
All conservative ideas steam from the understanding of mans fallibility and that all the flaws found in society or as we prefer the world of man steam solely from man. There are no existential being or forces at work which are not due to man in society.
Without restating the point above we of course do not believe that a perfect society is possible with imperfect men and as there is no perfect man to lead and guide the construction of are perfect world we must reconcile ourselves to are imperfection.
On the issue of meritocracy & equality:
People are not born equal, the theoretical physicist is not born equivalent with the Olympic runner and the rump of people are not born equivalent with either. Now a man can become better through education / training at physics or running but natural talent plays a very large role in his eventual successes.
So we have a society where these talented people receive extra resources, we invest in them because we privilege their particular talent and because we hope their talents will pay back are investment but not all men are born as unequal as others there are men born into privilege. Men who’s farther can pay for extra education and training and even life opportunities that even the most merciful and faithful state would not lavish on the most brilliant of men.
These men receive reward the parents have earned; they are advantaged above those who deserve by their labour more. This is the argument of those who rally against the inherited elites.
There is a tension here and a real one. Inherited elites are by their nature more prone to be conservative and respectful of the traditions that imbue them of their power then those who have had to struggle sometimes against the vested interest of these said institutions. Counter to this is a society has no room at the top for those best disposed to be there, government is thus inherited and not earned then the elite become bolted, distant and tyrannical.
Men of talent denied there rights become revolutionaries and men of inherited power become tyrants in reaction to the men of talents. So what are we to do? Men of richness and power must be able to advantage their families as the love of family and there furtherance and enrichment is one of the most funder mental duties of a farther and one of the greatest protectors of property and order the government will ever find
Therefore we need a institution which allows inherited power and popular power and thus wise men (without even meaning to) have created representative politics which is itself formed of two pillars.
The first pillar which lends itself to the machination of the inherited power is the party. The party is of course just an enlargement and pollicisation of man in the social and it serve a similar function here. The party creates an environment where men of good character can be put forward to the electorate and slows down the accent of anyone whose power would be wholly dsepdendt upon the the mass.
The second and most important pillar is the people. We have too long seen the people (those not in the elite of whatever pillar we are interested) as a second nation a rump of the population unimportant and uninteresting but they are the heart and soul of the nation, it is in the web of the social that all the pillar sit and there authority and power is drawn and who they inturn serve that is right we serve they, not they us.
The people are a dangerous brew, there passion unlike well established party can quickly become inflamed and they are lead into novelty too easily but unlike the inherited leaders they are really obtuse or ignorant of the life of themselves and from them come leaders, leader worth of great things, leaders only a fool would ignore or suppressed.
If you surpass those with natural talent not only are you doing a great disservice to the greater glory of the nation whom they might better serve but also building up discontent and resentment among the great rump of the people. For though you may be able to exclude them from the levers of power as you see them they will gain the love and power from the rump a love and devotion they can and do use to force your decaying hand from the leavers.
Which is why we need to forged a union of the rump and the elite an always allow a mechanism where tradition the great defender against the self aggrandisement of the new and untested is mixed with the stable and well founded traditionalist which is why chance and God has created representative democracy and the party.

We have established that man is foolish even those born with talent are prone to vanity, greed and extreme short sightedness. A man one seated will kill to retain his seat. By far worse of the many bad habits of man is for a man who runs an organisation to think he has become that institution instead of seeing in its proper context
What has this to say about tradition well institutions are the home of traditions, from the very small village cricket society which isn’t for reason long since forgotten on the red arm band to the monarchy. You cannot have institutions which sit haply among the people and not have traditions nor can you have visa versa.
It is via tradition that institutions become one permanent and to absorbed into the social fabric of the society and it is these institutions that should be a reminder to the mortal leaders of these institutions that they are merely keepers of these traditions, merely the mortal governors of the institutions and that they serve at the whim of the rump and they serve to uphold the eternal conversant, whom they are merely a dot in, and the traditions and institutions they have been entrusted with.
An institutions should only guide and lead the people it cannot remake them, an institution must be held tight by tradition or it will run among and a leader must be forever reminded of his mortality and duty to man in the social and the other pillars and above all his true place in the eternal covenant and that is not as sole author but as merely a maintainer and addendum the never ending story of man.
Government / Monarch Vs State
We do not believe in anything called a State. The administration of the government is just that and should never be conceived as part of the government. The administration is a machine that the governed controls but must be separate beyond the government giving it its orders.
The functional outcome of this is a deep distrust of state driven solutions of issues, or the idea that via combining the government, the administration and even the law into one body anything but dictatorship and intolerable and inhuman social engineering will be produced.
Freedom and rights:
We are obsessed with written rules and some of these manmade rule we grant special significant and name them rights and freedom we say these right steam not from society of men but from the very fact we are human or that we are free.
Lets us end one idea right here and now no conservative can or would support a state when all man are held in absolute loyalty to the state / party. Nor can any conservative support any arrangement where man is totally free do as he pleases and nor do we believe that these rights and freedom are natural or inalienable indeed they are far too easy to take away.
So do conservative believe that the rights and freedom so hard won (apparently against are totalitarian regimes) should be revoked or dismantled. In short no. We merely reject the reasoning. No one has any thing merely because they are born. Man has no rights or freedom instilled at his birth indeed he is totally without aid at this point. Man is really born a captive a captive of his family, a benevolent jail that will give him aid, will support and nature him and often violate his innate whims violently to ensure when he is ready to set up his own domain he can be prepared to do so.
So where does freedom and rights stream from. Now I am loathed to tell you fable and conservative thought often recourse here to a before time a time when man was not in social when man was a wild animal hunting and killing his pray then one day he become sick of this life, he become tired of having to protect his family from rampaging men and so form a union with his fellow for there mutual protection and advance and discovers farming and the fruit of man in society.
Well this is not provable society may have been formed in many ways for I believe that the need for others is endemic to man (that by Gods hands) he requires and enjoys the company of his peers but none of this really matters.
Man lives in society, this is enough and in order to live with other he has to accept communally formed rules (he can do this as the great rump without much reflection and because his parents have instilled in him the concept of the eternal covenant and love of tradition) or through force.
All pillars have the right to recall to force for their own protection and defence. Indeed men being cupreous they will try to use force to increase the dominance of on pillar other the other but we must be willing to use force to resist this. The worse of all users of force is of course the government/ monarch they have the most force as they must use this force to defend the nation but this force should never be used to subordinate the nation to there will only to subdue those who cannot be content with society.
Man who what to be loved will fall into with his society and will love only those who follow the rules and who like him value society for its joys, protection and veneration of the pillars and eternal covenant. Some men may want power and there society may not concede to their greatness but because they know the value of the society instead of instating violence against it look for progression in a new community or in another pillar of that society.
Once man has accepted his joy in community and understood his place within and accept the rule of the society, proven he can abide the law not merely create it, is then enabled by gaining the trust of those in his society to alter the rules that guide and hold him. No man can be free outside of the social for he would go mad, he would not be free but insane. Within the ever present needs of society the discourse of freedom and rights can be debated and settled as an extension of the traditions and laws of the socials that have always been and will remain.
Why men see freedom and liberty in rules I cannot tell for it is a dream for they being social creatures agree that there freedom ad liberty only exist in relation to his fellows but are is not to fathom the speech of man but merely to ensure that while pursing new rules and forging new traditions (which is required in any good society as a new roof is required for a new house) he does not get carried away and tear away those invisible social limits on his laws and proclaims himself free and mad

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