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July 31, 2014



The Oakeshott quotation that springs to mind is:

"To be conservative ... is to prefer the familiar to the unknown, to prefer the tried to the untried, fact to mystery, the actual to the possible, the limited to the unbounded, the near to the distant, the sufficient to the superabundant, the convenient to the perfect, present laughter to utopian bliss."

However, are you not committing the mistake you complain of by thinking of political persuasion as a form of rationalism, rather than as being for certain institutions, interests and traditions?

I mean, you ask whether you're a Tory due to some philosophical principles. Which is a rationalist mindset.

You could never be a Tory because your beliefs would be unacceptable to too many Tory institutions, interests and traditions.

A citizens income would upset the Tory press and capitalists. Land value tax would threaten homeowners and the landed interest. Your anti-managerialism would be offensive to CEOs etc.


You're right Steve - it was a QTWAIN.
One issue here is: how & when did the Tories become a managerialist party, when as Jesse points out there's a strong strand of anti-managerialism in conservatism?


I knew it was a QTWTAIN. You strike me as the sort who would rather slowly lower their dangling genitalia into a whirring food blender than vote Tory.

I don't think it would ever occur to a Burkean Tory to ask if they were a Tory. It's not a rational decision, they would be born one and never question it.

I don't know the answer to your question. There are different strands in all parties, and they become more or less prominent over time and circumstance.


Whenever I hear someone complain about "deskilling", it translates to "I am annoyed that something I liked because it was rare and 'elite' is now being produced en masse for poor people". There's nothing special about "artisan" creation or requiring extensive training for a job, except that the latter tends to be a convenient barrier and rationale for excluding competitors.

Dave Timoney

The Tories became a managerialist party when they became a party, having evolved from a faction via an interest. The precise moment was Robert Peel's Tamworth Manifesto of 1834.

The significance of Burke is that he crystallised the thinking of the interest (land, church and monarchy) before the 1832 Reform Act signalled the evolution of parties and thus managerialist politics.

Burke's continuing resonance is only partly explained by attempts to root his thinking in philosophy and ethics (Oakeshott and Norman, in their different ways). Equally important is nostalgia for a pre-democractic era and the honesty of "naked interest".

Miguel Madeira

And Burke was not a Tory... (this is not so irrelevant as to appears - to remeber that the prefered thinker among Tories was not even a Tory could be a reminder to not try much to find some deep philosphy - enven if it as an anti-philosophy philosophy - in political parties, and perhaps specially in tories and conservatives)


@ Steve Clarke - would Capitalist be upset by a citizens income? Weren't Hayek and Friedman advocates of citizens income? Perhaps not all capitalists would be too upset.

Gareth Mawer

@chris The Conservatives were a protectionist party for most of its history (in particular the 19th century). It was the Liberals who were in favour of free trade. Even up to World War Two, the Tories were protectionist.

Disraeli One Nation Conservatism was a very paternalistic world view in which the rich aristocrats would look after the poor in society.

Unless I've misunderstood what you mean by mangerialism, I would say it always been there in conservative thought.

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