Progressive conservatism

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Progressive conservatism is a political ideology which combines conservative and progressive policies. The initial origins of progressivism come from Western Europe during the 18th century and the Age of Enlightenment when it was believed that social reform and progression in areas such as science, economics, education, technology and medicine were necessary to improve human living conditions. [1]

British Prime Minister William Pitt the Younger, a Tory, campaigned for the abolition of slavery. The Slave Trade Act of 1807 was passed a year after his death. During the 19th century, British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli helped to intellectually define that form of conservative politics under his one-nation conservative government. [2] Witnessing the negative impacts current working conditions had on people during the time, mainly brought about by the Industrial Revolution, Disraeli started to believe that changes to society were needed to improve human and environmental conditions. However, this progression needed to be done through conservative thinking and policies, namely that the government can do good and should get involved, but only when it is necessary and within its own means, being a limited but obligatory government. [3] The idea advocates that a social safety net is required, but only in a minimal form. Christian democracy and Catholic social teaching promotes some form of progressive conservatism, derived from the text of Rerum novarum . [4] Progressive conservatives also believe instant change is not always the best and can sometimes be damaging to society, therefore cautious change that fits in with the nation's social and political traditions is necessary. [5]

In the United States, Theodore Roosevelt has been the main 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". [6] In Britain, one-nation conservatives such as David Cameron who launched the Progressive Conservatism Project in 2009 [7] and Theresa May have described themselves as progressive conservatives. Other European leaders such as Angela Merkel have been aligning themselves with progressive conservative politics. [8]

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Classical liberalism is a political tradition and a branch of liberalism that advocates free market and laissez-faire economics; civil liberties under the rule of law with especial emphasis on individual autonomy, limited government, economic freedom, political freedom and freedom of speech. It gained full flowering in the early 18th century, building on ideas stemming at least as far back as the 13th century within the Iberian, Anglo-Saxon, and central European contexts and was foundational to the American Revolution and "American Project" more broadly.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tory</span> Conservative political philosophy

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One-nation conservatism, also known as one-nationism or Tory democracy, is a paternalistic form of British political conservatism. It advocates the preservation of established institutions and traditional principles within a political democracy, in combination with social and economic programmes designed to benefit the ordinary person. According to this political philosophy, society should be allowed to develop in an organic way, rather than being engineered. It argues that members of society have obligations towards each other and particularly emphasises paternalism, meaning that those who are privileged and wealthy should pass on their benefits. It argues that this elite should work to reconcile the interests of all classes, including labour and management, rather than identifying the good of society solely with the interests of the business class.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Red Tory</span> Paternalistic conservatives in Canada and UK

A Red Tory is an adherent of a centre to centre-right or paternalistic-conservative political philosophy derived from the Tory tradition, most predominantly in Canada but also in the United Kingdom and Australia. This philosophy tends to favour communitarian social policies, while maintaining a degree of fiscal discipline and a respect of social and political order. It is contrasted with "Blue Tory" or "High Tory". Some Red Tories view themselves as small-c conservatives.

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Paternalistic conservatism is a strand of conservatism, which reflects the belief that societies exist and develop organically and that members within them have obligations towards each other. There is particular emphasis on the paternalistic obligation, referencing the feudal concept of noblesse oblige, of those who are socially privileged and wealthy to the poorer parts of society. Consistent with principles such as duty, hierarchy, and organic unity, it can be seen an outgrowth of traditionalist conservatism. Paternalistic conservatives do not support the individual or the state in principle but are instead prepared to support either or recommend a balance between the two depending on what is most practical.

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  1. Mah, Harold (2003). Enlightenment Phantasies: Cultural Identity in France and Germany, 1750–1914. Ithaca, New York: Cornell University. p. 157. ISBN   9780801488955.
  2. Dunleavy, Patrick; Kelly, Paul Joseph; Moran, Michael (2000). British Political Science: Fifty Years of Political Studies. Oxford, England: Wiley-Blackwell. pp. 107–108. ISBN   978-0631224129.
  3. MacLean, Stephen (13 July 2010). "A Royal example for progressive Conservatism". TRG. Archived from the original on 22 May 2019. Retrieved 4 June 2018.
  4. Sahliyeh, Emile F. (1990). Religious resurgence and politics in the contemporary world. Albany, New York: SUNY Press. p. 185. ISBN   978-0791403822.
  5. Dwyer, Mike (10 September 2012). "What Progressive Conservatism Looks Like". Ordinary Times. Archived from the original on 20 November 2017. Retrieved 4 June 2018.
  6. Lurie, Jonathan (2012). William Howard Taft: The Travails of a Progressive Conservative. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Cambridge University Press. p. 196. ISBN   978-0521514217.
  7. Letwin, Oliver. "How liberal is progressive Conservatism?". New Statesman . Retrieved 4 June 2018.
  8. Noack, Rick (30 June 2017). "Why Angela Merkel, known for embracing liberal values, voted against same-sex marriage". The Washington Post . Archived from the original on 30 June 2017. Retrieved 4 June 2018.