The Father of Conservatism

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Herein lies the Ghost in the political machine of the Rt. Hon. Edmund Burke. Much like Max Weber arguing with the Ghost of Marx, this blog seeks to make relevant and where appropriate support or reject Burke's 'Reflections' against the backdrop of the disastrous New Labour experiment.

Thursday, 16 July 2009

The Communitarian Face-Off

I attended the Communitarian Face-Off: a Left v. Right Debate by the Left wing think tank Compass on Wednesday. Here are my thoughts on the evening:

Firstly, the argument that Equality will bring about democracy. Despite the Compass director, Neal Lawson, saying that we are born into a world that delivers us into an unequal position both biologically and socially, something which I agree with as this is an unalterable fact of life that the conservative is content with. The part of his view that is dangerous is his insistance on tinkering socially with the biological and familial Nature. I say this because this will not breed a democratic nature, but an authoritarianism of the Left. Allow me to explain.

People will become alienated if their created wealth which is used to help their children and family gets snatched and given to people who will receive this in the form of inherited State wealth. This will invariably not go on beneficial life projects for an individual or community. Why should one’s toil and sweat be seized by others, it reduces the sense of work ethic?

We need to change to a culture of giving and helping, not rabid redistribution from the State. For example, by destroying religious group’s willingness to serve their communities, via a liberal view on faith as anti-progressive, rather than organic entities who would otherwise help society; they are prohibited and strangled by the Left wing belief that they are the supposed ‘opiate of the people’ that has no place in the 21st century.

I believe strongly that the issue is not economic or social, but in fact cultural, which leads me to my second point - the infiltration of Liberalism in both parties.

Building on Philip Blond’s points – I believe the question lies with whether you think that Liberalism has poisoned your ideology?

The Libertarian views of morality, most associated with the 60’s, were borne from Left wing philosophical musings bent on the destruction of the old moral order; notably the bourgeois family values. I feel their blood thirsty quest for misguided versions of ‘liberty’ and ‘freedom’ actually destroyed a sense of communitarianism, as it fostered individual exploits; instantaneous gratification; and the birth of Identity politics. All these disstracted the chattering classes away from community based politics.

Meanwhile, the 80’s saw the forced entry of Liberalism on Conservative economic policy, which ushered in the start of the atomised society. One where commercial goods and the commodity fetish became the ultimate pursuits in life. Any sense of society was usurped by the Individual and helped create a post-modern view of self – a sort of consumerist’s shopping mall of competing and interchangeable identities. One far, far away from a sense of civic and local anchorage. In short, Liberalism dealt a cruel blow to communitarianism of the Left and the Right.

I also object to Neal Lawson’s view that because the world’s resources are finite means that we should therefore distribute these resources equally and fairly (concepts that are never expanded on). It completely misses the point of what the scarcity of such items has on the human condition.

Why should they be handed out fairly when they will run out anyway? What moral order does he get this high and mighty view. Surely, he takes a secular position, from his Enlightenment thinking that there is no God, and thus the survival of the fittest must apply to his logic or human reasoning.

So it goes, the humans who get that natural upper hand via biological superiority in the shape of wars or social upheaval should be allowed the spoils of such victories. Surely, this is the way evolution decrees, it has no place for the Social. If anything the Social seeks to stunt and undo the will of Nature, if one holds a evolutionary view of creation.

This leads to the assertion from Compass that the Market creates chaos. If Lawson takes an evolutionary position, that from chaos of the universe came order, then as the argument goes - ‘eventually’ order will be created from Market chaos, just like the story of a monkey writing a Shakespearean play or composing a work of Mozart. If anything the market actually creates order and brings communities together by allowing all peoples to buy and sell commodities that are valued on a floating an exchange rate.

Having staked out my case for Liberalism’s corrosive effects, a further example is that firstly, social Liberalism and secondly, economic Liberalism forwarded the militant acceptability of sexual exploitation. This was carried out through the view to accept prostitution and immoral behaviour by allowing the once sacred and emotional human act of loving making to be entered into economic exchange, weighed and then sold to the consumer. This was made greater due to the push of pornographic material into our homes and onto our children.

The next assertion I take issue with from Compass is arguing that it is consumer culture that has led to a stupefying of the working class. This position goes against any notion of freedom that one had from the 60's. (The so called liberties that the Left primarily advocated.)

Allow me to elaborate, if you redistribute wealth to poorer people and give them ‘freedoms’ then you must accept that they will buy whatever they wish in a free and democratic society. Therefore, if they choose to buy a brain numbing Heat magazine then sadly so be it. If you deny this, the ‘freedom’ loving Left merely create an authoritarian State in which no one has the ability to choose what he or she wishes to read. In a word Censorship.

Bringing the whole notion of Communitarianism back to the fore - it is the Left that have crushed a sense of common bonds, via their pathological vigour for wiping out the traditional family structure; the elimination of the Church and its moral teachings; the explosion of Identity politics; and the belief that the State can act as mother and father to children, which has turned us into an infantile Man (see Richard Sennett).

In a final conclusion, I believe strongly that the issue no longer revolves a round Class, as we are presented with a large section of society that does not wish to interact with the remaining populous. Their name, the aptly coined Underclass. These people are below Class, they simply do not conform to aspirational or civic goals of either a Tory or Socialist political-framework.

This underclass has no time for other human interaction. No linkage to family, be they mothers of numerous children; fathers who abandon their kids; children who do not respect their parents; no local society to educate or keep them in check. At least the old working class held onto the Protestant work ethic and bourgeois ideas of family structures, moral codes of sobriety, hard work and decency. They were however smashed by Liberal intellectuals, posing as champions of the working class.

The underclass simply do not care for educational attainment or a growth of an altruistic self towards others. They appear to the social scientist to be nothing more than a social virus feeding off the teat of the State, in complete servitude.

This is the true false class consciousness. A real working class would not succumb to such inertia, as they were hard working people who wished to see their conditions improve and their share of the wealth rise - goals which all political hues champion. In sum, this under-class does not possess a human interaction able to constitute a civil society.

This is why communitarianism is so critical, as it will not be a revolution in how the voting system functions, as mentioned by Lawson. His support for proportional representation isn’t going to make these people become engaged in politics. Their everyday needs a fundamental overhaul – one which is more akin to a Conservative nature of society and community.

1 comment:

The Communitarians said...

"Surplus wealth is a sacred trust which its possessor is bound to administer in his lifetime for the good of the community."
Andrew Carnegie