Download Conservatism in Crisis?: Anglo-American Conservative by Bruce Pilbeam PDF

By Bruce Pilbeam

Conservatism in problem? examines the unique beneficial properties of British and American conservative writings on govt and society within the post-Cold struggle period. regardless of Conservative's victories over their socialist rivals, this has now not resulted in the uncontested dominance in their rules. by means of taking a look at the demanding situations Conservatives face from such ultra-modern competitors as multiculturalists and environmentalists, Bruce Pilbeam examines the prospect that conservatism is exhausted as an ideology of latest relevance.

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39 The most important target of anti-statist conservatives remains the welfare sector, especially because its growth proved one of the most intractable problems faced by conservative governments during the 1980s. Yet it is possible here to identify another difference between American and British conservatives, Barry arguing that the former focus more on the specifically moral consequences of state welfare provision (Barry, 1997, p. 339). Certainly, this is a particular concern of American conservatives – for example, Gingrich argues that reducing welfare is a ‘moral imperative’ (Gingrich, 1995, p.

37 utopias of central planning’ (Feulner, 1998, pp. ix–x) is one with which many conservatives concur. Also of significance following the Cold War’s conclusion is that much of the rationale that led even many conservatives to accept an extended role for the state disappeared. Since many conservatives regarded the fight against communism to be the chief priority of the post-war period, this meant accepting the political means by which it was to be waged. Writing in 1952, Buckley – a prime architect of the conservative anticommunist coalition in America – argued that conservatives would have ‘to accept Big Government for the duration’, including expansive military and intelligence sectors, high levels of taxation and the centralization of power in Washington; put candidly, the only way to combat the external threat of communism was ‘through the instrument of a totalitarian bureaucracy within our shores’ (quoted in Gottfried, 1993, p.

76–8). As later chapters will show, these types of criticism are common among critics such as communitarians and environmentalists. Yet while the questioning of free-market beliefs is hardly a new phenomenon, what may be difficult to understand today is its widespread nature. Whereas, for example, in the 1930s and 1940s the realities of slump and the seeming success of economic management made free-market doctrines appear less than credible over the course of the 1990s the American and British economies performed relatively well, if unevenly, as Fukuyama for one acknowledges (Fukuyama, 2002).

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