Part I. Preliminary

1. THE PHILOSOPHY OF CONSERVATISM

To an impartial observer it would seem paradoxical that any sober critic of our times should suppose, that we might change too little or too slowly. For in all parts of the world the past forty years has been an age of revolutionary change, rapid, radical and cumulative. All humanity has come within its ambit. It has affected all peoples, nations and languages. No aspect of human life has seemed unaltered, neither the purely mechanical and external, the artistic, the intellectual, the social, the moral, the political nor the spiritual. Nor does it appear that any human being can arrest its course. In so far as it can be brought under control it would seem that it can be moulded only in accordance with existing trends.

Although exceptional, such periods are not without precedent, and from such precedents we may even venture to generalise. We remember an earlier age like ours in Periclean Athens, precariously balanced on the fragile foundation of her supremacy at sea. The stormy hundred and fifty years preceding the fall of the Roman Republic was just such another, and such no doubt was the renaissance in Italy, the Elizabethan era at home, or the revolution in France. Such periods are brilliant, bloody and sensational. A generation may mark an epoch, setting the course of human history for centuries. High drama is their constant characteristic, wars between empires, races and languages, internal convulsions and civil strife, clashes of religions and systems of thought. These, it is said, are times for greatness, and indeed they are ever distinguished for the high demands they make on human nature. Hence they are noted for sharp and tragic contrasts: high courage and pitiful cowardice; supreme devotion and hateful cruelty; contemptible betrayal and glorious loyalty. In such an era nothing seems excluded from the ambit of human experience except perhaps the monotonous or the well assured.

But, above all, in times like these the signs and symbols which have guided the lives of men for centuries suddenly become

-7-

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The Case for Conservatism
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 3
  • Contents 5
  • Part I. Preliminary 7
  • 1. the Philosophy of Conservatism 7
  • Part II. Basic Conservative Ideas 16
  • 2. the Religious Basis of Society 16
  • 3. the Organic Theory of Society 24
  • 4. Country 31
  • 5. Commonwealth and Empire 36
  • 6. International Order 41
  • 7. Authority 44
  • 8. the Liberal Heresy 48
  • 9. the Socialist Heresy 54
  • 10. Liberty 60
  • 11. the Idea of Law 68
  • 12. Natural Law 70
  • 13. the Rule of Law 76
  • 14. Progress 83
  • 15. Continuity 86
  • 16. Enterprise 89
  • 17. Incentives, Liberal and Socialist 91
  • 18. Property 97
  • 19. Trading for Profit 103
  • 20. Competition, Big Business and Public Ownership 107
  • 21. the Land 119
  • 22. Trade Unions and Co-Operatives 125
  • 23. the Politics of Abundance 133
  • 24. Education 143
  • Part III. the Socialist Case Examined 147
  • 25. Introduction to Part III 147
  • 26. Profit and Use 150
  • 27. Public Ownership 154
  • 28. Planning 163
  • 29. Inequality of Income 167
  • 30. Inequality of Wealth 174
  • 31. Poverty--Its Cause and Cure 181
  • 32. War 189
  • 33. Standard of Life 192
  • 34. Housing 197
  • 35. Public Health 200
  • 36. Social Insurance 202
  • 37. Unemployment--The Facts 207
  • 38. Unemployment--Cause and Cure 213
  • Part IV. Policy To-Day and To-Morrow 225
  • 39. General Election, 1945 225
  • 40. Foreign Affairs 235
  • 41. Social Policy 250
  • 42. Economic Policy 260
  • 43. Food and Agriculture 277
  • 44. Nationalisation 284
  • 45. Britain at the Cross Roads 296
  • 46. the Politics of the Next Election 303
  • 47. Epilogue 311
  • Index 315
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