Progressive conservatism

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Progressive conservatism is a conservative ideology that incorporates moderate progressive ideas alongside conservative principles. While still supportive of capitalist society, it stresses the importance of government regulation in the interests of all citizens.[1] Progressive conservatism first arose in Germany and the United Kingdom in the 1870s and 1880s under Chancellor Otto Von Bismarck and Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli respectively. Disraeli's "One Nation" Toryism has since become the central progressive conservative tradition in the U.K. [2][3]

In the UK, the Prime Ministers Disraeli, Stanley Baldwin, Neville Chamberlain, Winston Churchill, Harold Macmillan,[4] and present Prime Minister David Cameron have been described as progressive conservatives.[5][6] The Catholic Church's Rerum Novarum (1891) advocates a progressive conservative doctrine known as social Catholicism.[7]

In the United States, Theodore Roosevelt has been the principal figure identified with progressive conservatism as a political tradition. Roosevelt stated that he had "always believed that wise progressivism and wise conservatism go hand in hand".[8] The administration of President William Howard Taft was considered by some to be progressive conservative and Taft described himself as "a believer in progressive conservatism".[9] President Dwight D. Eisenhower declared himself an advocate of "progressive conservatism".[10] In Germany, Chancellor Leo von Caprivi promoted a progressive conservative agenda called the "New Course".[11] In Canada, a variety of conservative governments have been progressive conservative, with Canada's major conservative movement being officially named the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada from 1942 to 2003.[12] In Canada, the Prime Ministers Arthur Meighen, R.B. Bennett, John Diefenbaker, Joe Clark, Brian Mulroney, and Kim Campbell led progressive conservative federal governments.[13]

History[edit]

Otto Von Bismarck is largely accredited for much of what would later be described as Progressive conservatism due largely to his strong conservative tradition and social reforms similar to those developed by the British Conservative government of Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli principally as being a middle ground between proponents of laissez-faire and British Radicalism.[14]

In Germany, Chancellor Otto von Bismarck enacted various progressive social welfare programs such as domestic health, accident, and old age insurance, out of conservative motivations to distance workers from the socialist movement and as humane ways to assist in maintaining the industrial revolution.[15] In the early 20th century, politicians of the Free Conservative Party addressed means of attracting the working class away from social democracy and towards radical nationalism such as through promoting "patriotic worker" associations.[16] Free Conservative Party member Adolf Grabowsky advocated imperialism as a national project to unify Germans and break down internal divisions, and declared that the Free Conservative Party "finally wants to organize itself in a decisive progressive-conservative manner, and hopes thereby to call forth the great new conservative movement which should enable the educated strata to drive once again to the right".[17]

The Catholic Church's Rerum Novarum (1891) advocates a progressive conservative doctrine known as social Catholicism that addressed the issues of poverty of workers.[18] Rerum Novarum condemned the exploitation of labour and urged support for labour unions, government regulation of businesses in the interests of social justice, while upholding the rights of private property and criticizing socialism.[19]

From the 1860s to the 1970s, progressive conservative politics was popular within the British Conservative Party. British Prime Minister Winston Churchill considered himself a progressive conservative, prior to becoming a member of the Conservative Party had been a member of the Liberal Party, Churchill justified his transformation by saying a "strong Conservative Party with an overwhelming majority and a moderate even progressive leadership...might well be the fulfillment of all that Dizzy and my father aimed at", his father had been a Conservative who was committed to Tory Democracy.[20] Progressive conservatives succeeded in pressing the Conservative Party to maintain similar social policies to that of the Labour Party, particularly the Bow Group that urged the Conservatives to be moderate on social policy and opposed more extreme conservative-minded bodies that disagreed with this moderation.[21] One of the primary British progressive conservative advocates in this time was Rab Butler.[22] Butler was responsible for creating The Industrial Charter (1947) that sought to combine support of free enterprise with Tory interventionism that promised security of employment, promotion of full employment, and improvement of incentives to employees to help them develop skills and talents - allowing them to fulfill their full potential as individuals, and enhanced status for all employees regardless of their occupation.[23] The Industrial Charter was criticized by Conservative leader Winston Churchill though he eventually supported it, and more harshly condemned by more right-leaning Conservatives as being a step towards socialism.[24]

Present British Prime Minister David Cameron has been described as a progressive conservative. As British Conservative Party leader in 2009, he launched the Progressive Conservatism Project at the British think tank Demos.[25] In his speech, he outlined his vision of a contemporary progressive conservatism:

First, a society that is fair, where we help people out of poverty and help them stay out of it – for life. Second, a society where opportunity is equal where everyone can, in Michael Gove’s brilliant phrase, “write their own life-story”. Third, a society that is greener, where we pass on a planet that is environmentally sustainable, clean and beautiful to future generations. And fourth, a safer society, where people are protected from threat and fear.

— David Cameron, 2009.

Cameron's Big Society have been heavily influenced by progressive conservative Red Tory Phillip Blond, a former member of Demos and founder of the think tank ResPublica in 2009.[26] Blond's ideas on "popular capitalism, mutualism, social entrepreneurialism, and local community ownership of public services, have influenced Cameron.[27] Blond has rejected "the unrestrained market and the unlimited state", saying that the state has a role to curtail private sector "greed".[28] Blond has challenged the predominance of Thatcherism in the Conservative Party by emphasizing the need for Conservatives to recognize that conservatism has "deeper roots than 1979".[29] He has criticized liberalism as a philosophy, including neoliberalism, for assuming that humans are rational-economic actors, for its individualism, and for its permissiveness.[30] Blond has condemned both extreme individualism and extreme collectivism for both being part of a mutual problem that leads to tyranny, that he claims began with the initial liberal assertion of extreme individualism that broke up natural collective groupings such as the family, corporations, and communities, and then has led to extreme collectivism based upon the state or other polity becoming the central power in society to address collective issues that eventually results in it stressing the need for extensive intervention by it to achieve a just society.[31] He has claimed the need for an active state to accomplish certain goals. Blond regards the private sector as having become too monopolized by big corporations and has called for the need for the state to: take necessary actions to break up corporate monopolies, to redistribute wealth to the working class to "re-capitalize" them, to disaggregate global trading networks, and to launch a moral revolution.[32] Once these goals are accomplished, Blond says that the state should seek to dismantle itself.[33]

The Conservative Party under Cameron has criticized its predacessor Labour government on claims of its failure to deliver genuine social justice, such as claiming that social mobility decreased under the previous Labour government.[34]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Patrick Dunleavy, Paul Joseph Kelly, Michael Moran. British Political Science: Fifty Years of Political Studies. Oxford, England, UK; Malden, Massachusetts, USA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2000. Pp. 107-108.
  2. ^ Patrick Dunleavy, Paul Joseph Kelly, Michael Moran. British Political Science: Fifty Years of Political Studies. Oxford, England, UK; Malden, Massachusetts, USA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2000. Pp. 107-108.
  3. ^ Robert Blake. Disraeli. Second Edition. London, England, UK: Eyre & Spottiswoode (Publishers) Ltd, 1967. Pp. 524.
  4. ^ Trevor Russel. The Tory Party: its policies, divisions and future. Penguin, 1978. Pp. 167.
  5. ^ David Marr. "Power Trip: The Political Journey of Kevin Rudd", Issue 38 of Quarterly Essay Series. Black Inc., 2010. Pp. 126. (British Conservative Party leader David Cameron launched the Progressive Conservatism Project at Demos.)
  6. ^ Ruth Lister. Understanding Theories and Concepts in Social Policy. Bristol, England, UK; Portland, Oregon, USA: The Policy Press, 2010. Pp. 53.
  7. ^ Emile F. Sahliyeh. Religious resurgence and politics in the contemporary world. Albany, New York, USA: State University of New York Press, 1990. Pp. 185.
  8. ^ Jonathan Lurie. William Howard Taft: The Travails of a Progressive Conservative. New York, New York, USA: Cambridge University Press, 2012. p. 196
  9. ^ Jonathan Lurie. William Howard Taft: The Travails of a Progressive Conservative. New York, New York, USA: Cambridge University Press, 2012. Pp. ix.
  10. ^ Günter Bischof. "Eisenhower, the Judiciary, and Desegregation" by Stanley I. Kutler, Eisenhower: a centenary assessment. Pp. 98.
  11. ^ John Alden Nichols. Germany after Bismarck, the Caprivi era, 1890-1894: Issue 5. Harvard University Press, 1958. Pp. 260.
  12. ^ Hugh Segal. The Right Balance. Victoria, British Columbia, Canada: Douglas & McIntyre, 2011. Pp. 113-148.
  13. ^ Hugh Segal. The Right Balance. Victoria, British Columbia, Canada: Douglas & McIntyre, 2011. Pp. 113-148.
  14. ^ Robert Eccleshall. English conservatism since the Restoration: an introduction and anthology. London, England, UK; Winchester, Massachusetts, USA; North Sydney, New South Wales, Australia: Unwin Hyman Ltd., 1990. Pp. 119.
  15. ^ Union Contributions to Labor Welfare Policy and Practice: Past, Present and Future. Routledge, 16, 2013. P172.
  16. ^ Reshaping the German Right: Radical Nationalism and Political Change After Bismarck. University of Michigan Press, 1980. P. 325.
  17. ^ Reshaping the German Right: Radical Nationalism and Political Change After Bismarck. University of Michigan Press, 1980. P. 325.
  18. ^ Emile F. Sahliyeh. Religious resurgence and politics in the contemporary world. Albany, New York, USA: State University of New York Press, 1990. Pp. 185.
  19. ^ Faith Jaycox. The Progressive Era. New York, New York: Infobase Publishing, 2005. P85.
  20. ^ Norman Rose. Churchill: The Unruly Giant. First American Edition. New York, New York, USA: Simon & Schuster Inc, 1995. P. 208.
  21. ^ Peter Duignan, Lewis H. Gann. The rebirth of the West: the Americanization of the demoratic world, 1945-1958. Paperback edition. Lanham, Maryland, USA; London, England, UK: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 1996. Pp. 239.
  22. ^ Peter Duignan, Lewis H. Gann. The rebirth of the West: the Americanization of the demoratic world, 1945-1958. Paperback edition. Lanham, Maryland, USA; London, England, UK: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 1996. Pp. 239.
  23. ^ Peter Dorey. British conservatism and trade unionism, 1945-1964. Surrey, England, UK; Burlington, Vermont, USA: Ashgate Publishing, 2009. Pp. 44-48.
  24. ^ Peter Dorey. British conservatism and trade unionism, 1945-1964. Surrey, England, UK; Burlington, Vermont, USA: Ashgate Publishing, 2009. Pp. 44-48.
  25. ^ David Marr. "Power Trip: The Political Journey of Kevin Rudd", Issue 38 of Quarterly Essay Series. Black Inc., 2010. Pp. 126.
  26. ^ Hugh Bochel. The Conservative Party and Social Policy. The Policy Press, 2011. P. 108.
  27. ^ Hugh Bochel. The Conservative Party and Social Policy. The Policy Press, 2011. P. 108.
  28. ^ Richard Seymour. The Meaning of David Cameron. O-Books, 2010. P. 75.
  29. ^ Richard Seymour. The Meaning of David Cameron. O-Books, 2010. P. 75.
  30. ^ Hugh Bochel. The Conservative Party and Social Policy. The Policy Press, 2011. P. 108.
  31. ^ Phillip Blond. Red Tory: How Left and Right have Broken Britain and How we can Fix It. London, England, UK: Faber & Faber, 2010. P. 149-151.
  32. ^ Richard Seymour. The Meaning of David Cameron. O-Books, 2010. P. 75.
  33. ^ Richard Seymour. The Meaning of David Cameron. O-Books, 2010. P. 75.
  34. ^ Hugh Bochel. The Conservative Party and Social Policy. The Policy Press, 2011. P. 108.