Conservatism

Conservatism

by Kieron O'Hara
     
 

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The real meaning of 'conservative' - today denoting groups as diverse and incompatible as the religious right, libertarian free-marketeers and free-spending neo-conservatives - has been lost to politics. Yet the original conservative ideology, first developed in the eighteenth century by Edmund Burke, was concerned with managing change. Kieron O'Hara argues that

Overview

The real meaning of 'conservative' - today denoting groups as diverse and incompatible as the religious right, libertarian free-marketeers and free-spending neo-conservatives - has been lost to politics. Yet the original conservative ideology, first developed in the eighteenth century by Edmund Burke, was concerned with managing change. Kieron O'Hara argues that genuine conservatism has its own relevance in a complex and dynamic world where change is rapid, pervasive and dislocating. Conservatism transcends traditional politics, and has surprising applications - not least as the most appropriate and practical response to climate change.
Kieron O'Hara's Conservatism is a revision for the modern age of the traditional conservative philosophy. It shows what a properly conservative ideology looks like and demonstrates that many self-styled 'conservatives' actually promote destructive change in their own and others' societies. Drawing on great conservative thinkers such as Burke and Adam Smith, philosophers ancient and modern from Plato to Wittgenstein, and contemporary social commentators including Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Ulrich Beck and Jared Diamond, this new and strikingly original theory of conservative philosophy lays bare our lack of understanding of our own societies, and shows how risk pervades society and how it should be managed. It also proves that conservatism is distinct from neo-liberalism, neo-conservatism and the extreme positions of today's 'culture warriors'. O'Hara shows how conservatism is an ideology sensitive to cultural differences between the U.S., Europe, the Middle East, East Asia and elsewhere, while highlighting the issues of technology, trust and privacy. Conservatism will appeal to anyone interested in the history - and future - of political philosophy and social thought.

Editorial Reviews

David Cameron
“The core of his message is that conservatives need to rediscover the importance of skepticism in thought and pragmatism in action. . . . A compelling, and often persuasive, read . . . O’Hara neatly knocks on the head any idea that Conservative philosophy lacks relevance in today’s fast-changing world.”

Economist
Conservatism is a survey of commendable breadth. It captures the essence of a creed that so often decries change, but has proved remarkably adept at surviving it. Life under a government run by the author would be fastidious, incremental and pragmatic: a sort of John Major for the 21st century.”
Mark Garnett
“'Kieron O'Hara writes with panache, and brings clarity to a subject which most commentators misunderstand.” ––Mark Garnett, Lancaster University

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781861899835
Publisher:
Reaktion Books, Limited
Publication date:
01/01/2012
Series:
non-series
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
File size:
1 MB

Meet the Author

Kieron O’Hara is a senior research fellow in the Intelligence, Agents and Multimedia Group at the University of Southampton. His other books include After Blair: Conservatism Beyond Thatcher, The Spy in the Coffee Machine: The End of Privacy As We Know It, and Democratising Conservative Leadership Selection: From Grey Suits to Grass Roots.

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