Ashesi University College PMB CT 3
15th May, 2013
Hello “Professor” David,
You might be wondering how you came across this letter. Do not worry. I will explain to you later. Do you recall ever wanting to be a professor? I honestly cannot imagine you to be conferred the title of professorship. In fact, the old you was never a fan of school. Do you remember how you hated writing essays and how you would spend weeks on your final papers because essays were your prime weakness? Maybe something about you might have changed along the line. Could it have been a woman? Anyway, about thirty years ago, you (my present self) took up a course called Social Theory, which introduced you to a number of political ideologies. The main point of this letter is to describe which of these political ideologies is closest to my present political beliefs and the concepts, which encompass it. Besides, I am sure it is these same concepts that have shaped your life today. You should be grateful to Mrs. Kajsa Adu, the lecturer who introduced you to these very political ideologies. To begin with, I believe that of all the ideologies I have studied, conservatism is closest to my political beliefs. Let me just give you an overview of the whole idea of conservatism and introduce you to the new right. “Conservatism as a political ideology is defined by the desire to conserve, reflected in a resistance to, or at least a suspicion of change.” (Heywood, 2012, p. 65). You in particular, can easily attest to the fact that I do not really like change. Remember your own (my present) favourite saying: ‘Just go with the system.’ Just like conservatives, I prefer going with things that have been “tried and tested”. In other words, I like to do things that I am familiar with. Besides, others have used them time and time again and have not failed. Though the aspiration to resist change is the main theme of conservatism, it has other core themes and these are: a belief in human imperfection, support for tradition and an attempt to uphold the organic structure of society. Conservatives also believe in property and the need for hierarchy and authority, which I am really keen about. (Heywood, 2012, p. 68) However, conservatism in itself has some disparities. The main distinction within conservatism is between traditional conservatism and the new right and the way they both see the society. Traditional conservatives believe in an organic society. They believe that the society should be seen as a living entity rather than as a machine just as the liberals do. In this sense, the society cannot function properly if one of its components fails. Advocates of the new right on the other hand, see society to be more individualistic. In this sense, the individual is supreme compared to the society. This same individualistic character is what draws me closer to the new right and its ideals. Someone else may ask, “If it is because of this individualistic nature that you subscribe to the new right, then why don’t you just subscribe to liberalism?” Well, I am driven towards the new right because it is characterized by a belief in a strong but minimal state, combining economic libertarianism with social authoritarianism. (Heywood, 2012, p. 87) Like I said before, I may not agree with all the ideas of conservatism and the new right. One key reason why I am driven towards conservatism, specifically, the new right is because of my view of human nature. Just like conservatives, I believe humans are security- seeking creatures who are attracted to the things they are familiar with, hence the whole idea of resisting change. (Heywood, 2012, p. 71) However, I show more interest in the way they see human rationality to be unreliable and how they believe that every individual is morally corrupt one way or the other. As the father of Modern conservatism Edmund Burke said, “Men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their...
Cited: Burke, E. (1909-14). Reflections on the Revolution in France (Vol. 24). New York, New York, United States of America: P.F. Collier and & Son.
Heywood, A. (2012). Political Ideologies (Vol. 5). New York, New York, United States of America: PALGRAVE MACMILLAN.
Smith, A. (1904-14). An Inguiry into the nature and causes of the Wealth of Nations (Vol. 10). (C. Bullock, Ed.) New York, United States of America: P.F. Collier & Son.
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