Why do conservatives value private property?
Conservatives see many positives in private property - the ownership of assets (physical goods and wealth). These include psychological, social and personal reasons and just as the liberals do, Conservatives support the ability to accumulate wealth as an important economic incentive.
The first advantage of possessing private property is that it creates positive social values for example respect for law and order. Those who possess and enjoy their own property are more likely to respect the property of others. They will also be aware that property must be safeguarded from disorder and lawlessness and will therefor also be more likely to support authority. Property owners therefore have a ‘stake’ in society: they have an interest in particular, in maintaining law and order. In this sense, property ownership can promote what can be thought of as the Conservative values of respect for law, authority and social order. New Right Conservatives have seen things differently, however, by advocating that property ownership reflects merit and thus does not require certain duties and obligations. Those who work hard and possess talent should acquire wealth, thus meaning that property is ‘earned’. This viewpoint has been particularly attractive for conservatives who regard the ability to accumulate wealth as an important economic incentive.
The second advantage is that it provides security. In an unpredictable world property ownership provides a sense of confidence and assurance as they have something to fall back on. It also provides individuals with a source of protection. This is why, for conservatives, being thrifty (caution in the management of money) is in itself a virtue and they encourage private savings and investment in property.
Conservatives believe that private property is an extension of the individual’s personality. Property is not merely external objects, valued because they are useful, but valued...
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