Part III. The Socialist Case Examined

25. INTRODUCTION TO PART III

WE are now in a position to tackle the central thesis of Socialism--namely, that Socialism, in the form in which it is presented to us by the Labour Party in Britain, affords the only alternative to chaos in the material problems of human life.

Conservatives contradict this thesis; but they are not thereby bound to assert the contrary. In Hegelian language Conservatives deny both the thesis of Liberalism (the capitalist state based on laissez faire) and the antithesis of Socialism (state monopoly based on planning). This does not mean that they have no views of their own; on the contrary they go forward to propound a synthesis which is more than a compromise between inconsistents founded on expediency.

This statement makes it necessary for Conservatives to define their position regarding the inequalities which beset men to-day, based on wealth, poverty, class and rank. Of these, those based on wealth and poverty must occupy the most of our attention in this portion of our discussion. Most Conservatives believe that the traditional class system served us well in the past, but that it is giving way so rapidly to a class system of a different kind that as a theory it is not worth wasting much time in defending in detail. Conservatives are concerned with the practical questions of ensuring that transition is orderly, protecting the principles which were vital in the old, and securing that in the new we can have something which all can agree is better than what has passed away.

The Conservative theory of poverty differs profoundly from the Socialist. According to the Socialist, the interest of the classes in a nation is profoundly and irreconcilably different. The poverty of one is caused by the wealth of the other, and until the wealth of the one is terminated by murder or force (Communism) or legal expropriation (Socialism) poverty and misery will be the lot of the majority.

The Conservative theory is that despite obvious divergencies of interest, rich and poor are united in a common brotherhood,

-147-

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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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