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Module 1: Conservatism

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Conservatism – Lesson Summary

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Conservatism is not obviously an ideology in the conventional sense of the term. It is more like an attitude of mind or an outlook on life. Conservatism does takes different forms in different cultures. European continental conservatism was marked by such thinkers as:

Edmund Burke
Michael Oakeshott
David Hume

In East Asia, the best example of conservatism is the Japanese Liberal Democratic Party. In the United States, conservatism lies in a strong liberal inheritance and an explicit separation of powers and personnel between the main institutions of state:

The legislature,
The executive, and
The judiciary.

The American neo-conservatism has been described as a form of soft American style fascism.
 
The main ideas of conservatism include:

tradition
organic view of society
respect for hierarchy and authority,
conservative view of human nature,

 
Conservatism involves a general caution about change and requires respect for tradition, hierarchy, and authority, and its political economy rests on a pessimistic sense of human nature.
 
Conservatism and conservative forces are very powerful and very deep in India. This is only to be expected in a society noted for its age and continuity, and also noted for the endurance and strength of its social structure and institutions.
 
Conservatism around the world, in its many forms, remains a difficult ideology to evaluate in simple terms. The Conservative reluctance to articulate specific theories or detailed political economic plans means that the central themes of conservatism often conflict with one another.
 
Worked examples allows to understand conservatism in India in particular. For Rajesh Kasturirangan Indian conservatism is a psychological conservatism. , a form of conservatism that is suspicious of radical change, suspicious about the overthrow of tradition, favours deliberation and argument and dialogue over violent revolution. It is a mental outlook, a mental attitude.
 
For Krzysztof Iwanek, indian conservatism must be defined in five points:

the preference of community wisdom over individual choice.
the importance that attached to the sacred in maintaining life.
the authority of the state must be circumscribed, must be limited by the will of society.
the importance of character and self-control.
the conservatism sees itself as the embodiment of the national identity.

 
For S. Rukmini young Indians conservative are opposed to homosexuality, like to get married within their caste, want a government job.