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Grecu Tiberiu Political science 2012-2013 Conservatism

In the late 18th, early 19th century, the French revolution caused some social changes. As a reaction to the changes, appeared the conservatism ideology. This consist in protecting the traditional social order from other ideologies like socialism, nationalism or liberalism. The origin of the conservatism its found in the famous quote of Lucius Cary, 2nd Viscount Falkland : When it is not necessary to change, it is necessary not to change." 1 The founder of the conservatism is considered to be Edmund Burke who stands for defending the social order, the ideas and the traditional institutions. He was against innovations and any changes caused by the French revolutionaries and liberals. Another important thinker is the Scottish philosopher, Adam Smith who laid the foundations of classical economics. He claimed that individuals are trying to maximize their own good, in order to become wealthier, and by doing so, through commerce and entrepreneurship, any government intervention isnt needed because the invisible hand 2is guiding the economy. Conservatism places great value on traditions. Due to their pragmatism, conservatives support the experience and procedures tested over time. They claim that old institutions are working that well because are built on accumulated wisdom of the past. Reforms are considered to do more harm than good for the society. The social hierarchy is strong argued, because if there is not a clear social order, the worst aspects of human nature greed, irrationality or selfishness will inevitable rise.

LUCIUS CARY, VISCOUNT FALKLAND, A Speech Concerning Episcopacy, delivered in 1641.Falkland, A Discourse of Infallibility, p. 3 .While the exact date and audience of this speech are uncertain, the speech is known to deal with the Root and Branch Petition, which proposed doing away with bishops in the church . Some historians consider this issue as the beginning of the definition of parties in Parliament.J. A. R. Marriott, The Life and Times of Lucius Cary, Viscount Falkland, pp. 17980 2 Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations, R. H. Campbell and A. S. Skinner (eds.) p. 456. The reference to the 'invisible hand' occurs also in Smith'sTheory of Moral Sentiments, D. D. Raphael and A. Macfie (eds.), p. 5

Conservatives support indirect and representative democracy. They believe the power should be in the hands of educated elite. It is dangerous to give too much power to the mass of the citizens, because they are not naturally democratic. Some conservatives claim that some social and economic inequalities are natural and inevitable. because people are not equal in their intelligence and abilities. However there are some social responsibilities of the rich and powerful for the poor and weak.