7. AUTHORITY

"IT is often assumed," wrote Lord Hugh Cecil in 1912,1."that Conservatism and Socialism are directly opposed. But this is not completely true. Modern Conservatism inherits the traditions of Toryism which are favourable to the activity and authority of the State. Indeed, Mr. Herbert Spencer attacked Socialism as being in fact the revival of Toryism; he called it 'the new Toryism',"

Lord Hugh Cecil went on in another passage which is even more definite;

"The tradition of authority is naturally a Tory tradition, and, but for the influence of Conservative prudence and justice, the successors of the Tories might probably have been ready to use the authority of the State with a freedom we associate with Socialism."

In these days, when the main opponent of the Conservative Party is Socialist and not Whig or Liberal, it is important for Conservatives to remember that, traditionally speaking, Conservatives and Tories stood for a strong central Government, and their opponents for "liberty" and "individualism". The Tory Party owes its origin to the friends of the Court in the reign of King Charles II, and down at any rate to the time of Disraeli liked to consider itself the special champion of "authority", "prerogative", "establishment" and the power of the executive. Freedom from control has never been a Tory watchword, if this is to imply an absence of law or order at a time when either is threatened in any department of the national life. It may be that our present straggle is for the preservation of the ancient liberties which Liberals and Whigs won from the Crown in the past. It is none the less well for a writer on Conservatism to place "authority" high in his list of Conservative principles.

Authority is the principle which requires a man to override his private judgment or desire in favour of a particular role with which he does not agree simply because it is the law. Where he agrees with it, or desires to comply with it, there is no need for authority. Authority is always something which requires respect in despite of the freedom of the individual.

At one time it was claimed that the authority of law or

____________________
1.
Conservatism, pp. 169, 210.

-44-

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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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