Saturday, December 29, 2018

Conservatism vs. classical liberalism

Conservatism and Classical Liberalism Don’t Share the Same Values - James Peron, The Radical Centre:

November 3, 2018 - "Too many sympathizers to libertarian ideas think the core of liberalism is free markets and thus they fall for the delusion that conservatives are some variant of 'classical liberal,' because they claim to support markets.

"But, a classical liberal holds to individual rights as his core value, not markets. Markets are derivatives of rights theory ... intertwined with the liberal theory of rights. Conservatives tend to oppose individual rights for collectivist concepts. The 'common good' comes before individual rights to them.... It is no different with the illiberal Left, who make similar arguments.

"Individual rights means individualism  —  something for which conservatives don’t care. They are advocates of the herd, they preach social conformity in the name of tradition. They are happy for you to be free regarding which toothpaste to buy, just not thrilled if you assert the right to pick which person to marry....

"Economics, while individualistic at its core, is also very herd oriented.... Human economic needs are global, pervasive, and common to all ... what Abraham Maslow called lower order needs....

"Economic needs are not particularly individualistic. Thus conservatives don’t immediately oppose this freedom in the short term. I do think they oppose it in the long term, and there were plenty of times in history when conservatives opposed it in the short term as well.... Conservatives have not been friends of free markets overall. Economic rights just aren’t seen as automatically threatening to the conservative herd identity.

"What really gets the conservative’s back up is social freedom [or] freedom in the ... non-market realm. It is linked to markets but it is heavily about individualistic wants and needs, or what Maslow called self-actualization needs. Lower order needs tend to be relatively similar for all. Higher order needs are strongly individualized.

"The conservative is happy with freedom for the herd  —  that is in those areas where everyone has roughly similar needs — just not freedom for the individual  —  where needs and wants are unique, individualistic, perhaps even idiosyncratic or eccentric....

"The smaller the minority the more likely, I suggest, the conservative is to attack it. The closer it gets to the unique individual, the further it drifts from the herd, and conservative values are ultimately herd values. Theirs were values fit for a world where food was scarce and life was primitive....

"For the conservative mind it is easy to be 'liberal' when it comes to property rights, difficult when it comes to gender identity, same-sex marriage, religious skepticism, etc.... Given the consensus in favor of markets — impure ones perhaps, but still markets — it is much more telling to discover how much social freedom one is willing to grant. Where they stand on rights for LGBT people, or 'illegal' drugs, or censorship of erotica, is more indicative as to whether they are a classical liberal than their position on price controls or lower taxes."

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