Thursday, March 17, 2016

What do Conservatives believe?

"Conservatives believe that our identities and values are formed through our relations with other people, and not through our relation with the State. Our rights and responsibilities as individuals are informed by customs that have stood the test of time and have been protected by the rule of law. In the modern world the State’s role is inevitably extensive, but Conservatives believe its reach should always be subject to challenge. It is therefore time to reaffirm the fundamental axiom of conservatism, which is that the State is not an end but a means. Civil society is the end, and the State is the means to protect it.

The social world emerges through free association, rooted in friendship and community life. And the customs and institutions that we cherish have grown from below, by the ‘invisible hand’ of cooperation. They have rarely been imposed from above by the work of politics, the role of which is to reconcile our many aims, and not to dictate or control them.

Conservatives believe in respect for individual freedom and for the agreements, customs and institutions that flow from it. Justice means ensuring that the obligations that arise naturally between free and accountable agents obtain the recognition and protection that they need. This does not mean that the less advantaged members of society should be abandoned to their fate; it means that the taxes used to support them should be justly raised and efficiently distributed."

Roger Scruton