Friday, 14 October 2011

Conservative Socialism

Socialists usually see themselves as progressives, helping to drive society forward, away from the outmoded social forms of the past towards a more rational, scientifically based future.
A (small c) conservative socialism (as conceived by me!) would be about recognising that socialism can be a force for holding on to what is worth preserving in a world where rampant capitalism is rapidly destroying traditional values and social stuctures and riding roughshod over local economies as well as causing enormous environmental damage.

What makes conservative socialism conservative?
- In the field of economics, a conservative socialism would recognise that competition and market forces are very efficient tools for stimulating innovation and allocating productive resources. While the basic necessities for living would, under a conservative socialism, be provided through democratic planning, free enterprise would still have an important role to play in the economy.
- A conservative socialism would be opposed to 'social engineering'. Governments should not attempt to change human nature or to control the way people think.
- A conservative socialism would not share the thoroughly materialistic outlook of traditional Marxism but would be comfortable with the idea of a religious or spiritual dimension to life.
- While acknowledging the importance of solidarity between working class people (indeed, all people) internationally, a conservative socialism would recognise the importance of nations as the most appropriate basis for democratic governtment (based not on race or common place of origin but on shared residence in a particular country and shared loyalty to that country's civic institutions).
What makes conservative socialism socialist?
- One of the most important tenets of a conservative socialism would be that everyone has the right to access the means of making a decent living. This does not just mean that everyone has the right to a basic income, but also that everyone has the right to dignified work. The essentials of living (food, shelter, clothing, healthcare, education, security from crime or invasion) should, as far as possible, be produced at the most local level possible, under democratic control, and everyone should have the right not only to be provided with these essentials, but, if they so wish, to take part in the actual process of producing them. There would, in fact, be no unemployment under a conservative socialism.

I have transcribed the comments from my old blog, below:


MrKa22 April 2012 06:55
I really like this, we can say: "Socially conservative economicaly socialist"

Brice Baumgardner11 November 2012 04:12
I like this as well. Needs more of a following. I linked here from /r/socialdemocracy. Was not disappointed.

Abram200024 June 2013 at 15:46
I agree to some extend. My own personal ideology is part conservative, part liberal and part socialist. I am wondering why though you are opposed to 'social engineering' since in practice all laws and politics is about changing and directing collective human behaviour. You need to explain to me why you think previous attempts failed (I suspect you are thinking of Soviet Marxism-Leninism and the New Left of the post-60s Western world)and what exactly do you mean by human nature?

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