Comment whether conservatism is opposed to equality

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    Comment whether conservatism is opposed to equality. Comment on how conservatives view the role of the state.


    Conservatism is an ideological discourse that rather than completely revolutionizing the social structure believes in maintaining the old social order, customs and norms. The ideology has various factions within with some conservatives tilting towards neo-liberalism as something that Margaret Thacker did in 1970’s or authoritarianism etc. However, here I would like to discuss some elements that are common to all conservative discourse.

    The conservatives believe that the human nature is essentially flawed. They, unlike the liberals, don’t believe that all humans’ beings are essentially good. Nor that every body is born equal. For them, inequality is a part of our social structure. Hence, there isn’t any need to intervene and try to change this natural order. They believe that society will always be divided between the ‘rulers’ and ‘ruled’, and the state shouldn’t intervene in this traditional order. They belief that the state should rather focus on maintaining law and order and should let the free agents in a free market play on their own.
    Here, to better illustrate what conservative’s beliefs about equality and how this belief affects their view about the state I am going to give the example of current government of India. The present BJP government at the center is a good example of religious conservatism. Given its rather complicated history with RSS (Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sangh) it can be educated that the party believes in the traditional order, customs and norms. Though the party has tried not to be very obvious about its religious beliefs its tilt towards a creation kind of ‘Hindu Nationalism’ is obvious. The party has always been against the introduction of affirmative action’s when the Mandal commission was introduced which granted reservation to the backward section of society.

    It is obvious through its various propaganda and programs that the party favors merits. Increasingly, it has slowly started disinvesting in various government organizations and industries, encouraging public-private-partnership model. This is obvious through its decline in investments in higher education, health etc. as opposed to previous years. It has focused more on creating employment opportunities via MNERAGA as seen in this year’s budget.

    The party is thus projecting characteristics of conservatism with a tinge on neo-liberalism similar to the one introduced by Ms. Thatcher and Reagan by introducing the policies and programs that signal the withdrawal of the state from various welfare programs. They had also believed in reducing welfare measures and social security as according to them without it the individual would continue to be dependent on the state. This dependency will increase the individual’s unwillingness to work in the future.

    The conservative ideology has reemerged in this last few years in most of the countries. Even the victory of Trump with his conservative propaganda signals to that. There is a reason that people are moving away from the liberal-socialist agenda, from the left-centrist ideas to the extreme right. Maybe this is the beginning of a new phase in the political ideology and discourse.

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