To what extent have conservatives supported tradition and continuity?
Traditional conservatives place an emphasis on tradition as they believe, according to Edmund Burke that traditional customs and practices in society is 'God given'. Burke thus believed that society should was shaped by the 'law of the Creator', or what he called the 'natural law'. If human beings tamper the world they are challenging the will of God. Burke further described tradition as a partnership between 'those who are living, those who are dead and those who are to be born'. Tradition is also revered as it could be argued to proven to work as it has been 'tested by time', and therefore be preserved for the benefit of the living and for generations to come. Tradition reflects a Darwinian belief that those institutions and customs that have survived have only done so because they have worked and been found to be of value. They have been endorsed by a process of 'natural selection' and demonstrated their fitness to survive. Conservatives also respect tradition because it generates, for both society and the individual, a sense of identity. Established customs and practices are ones that individuals can recognize; they are familiar and reassuring. Tradition also generates social cohesion by linking people from the past and providing them with a collective sense of who they are. Change, is unknown and therefore it creates uncertainty and insecurity, and so endangers our happiness. Tradition, therefore, consists of rather more than political institutions that have stood the test of time.
Some modern Conservatives have also valued tradition, these include, the 'one nation' conservatives and the Christian Democrats. 'One nation' conservatism began in the 19th century when Disraeli coined the term. Disraeli wrote against the background of growing industrialization, economic inequality and, in continental Europe at least, revolutionary upheaval. He tried to draw attention to the danger of...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document