I caught dave CaMoron on the Andrew Marr Show earlier. Truth is, he doesn’t seem such a bad fellow – a nice approachable family man who used to play footie with chris evans. I also like the fact that he supports both the BBC and NHS, the two finest institutions of their kind in the world. Yet what I find unpalatable about the conservatives these days is that underneath the charm and spin lie the same old rigid values that have always been the hallmark of conservatism. On Friday I explored how liberalism is, from certain points of view, inherently contradictory: if you take it too far it actually becomes illiberal and intolerant. However, I didn’t mean this as a criticism of the philosophy: bearing such things in mind is an integral part of liberalism itself.
I think this is where it contrasts with conservatism as I perceive it. Whereas liberalism has the ability to perceive it’s own contradictions, conservatism is too rigid and dogmatic, especially in it’s American form. To conservatives, concepts like right and wrong are absolutes rather than subjective constructs. Hence we hear CaMoron talking about things like the family and austerity – his own pre-conceived ideals. Tories hold such things to be good, when in fact A) they are idealistic constructs and
B) there are many good examples of such things being repressive or destructive. The problem is, conservatism, unlike liberalism, cannot acknowledge the fact that it can be wrong.