Paternalistic conservatism, also referred to as conservative socialism or right-wing socialism, is a strand in conservatism which reflects the belief that societies exist and develop organically and that members within them have obligations towards each other. There is particular emphasis on the paternalistic obligation of those who are privileged and wealthy to the poorer parts of society. Since it is consistent with principles such as organicism, hierarchy and duty, it can be seen an outgrowth of traditionalist conservatism. Paternal conservatives support neither the individual nor the state in principle, but are instead prepared to support either or recommend a balance between the two depending on what is most practical.
It stresses the importance of a social safety net to deal with poverty and support of limited redistribution of wealth along with government regulation of markets in the interests of both consumers and producers. Paternalistic conservatism first arose as a distinct ideology in the United Kingdom under Conservative Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli's one-nation Toryism. There have been a variety of one-nation conservative governments. In the United Kingdom, Conservative Prime Ministers Benjamin Disraeli, Stanley Baldwin, Neville Chamberlain, Winston Churchill and Harold Macmillan were one-nation conservatives.
During 19th-century Germany, independent conservative Chancellor Otto von Bismarck adopted policies of state-organized compulsory insurance for workers against sickness, accident, incapacity and old age as part of his State Socialism programme. Leo von Caprivi, another independent conservative Chancellor, promoted a conservative agenda called the New Course.
In the United States, the Republican administration of President William Howard Taft was progressive conservative and he described himself as "a believer in progressive conservatism" and Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower declared himself an advocate of "progressive conservatism". In Canada, a variety of conservative governments have been part of the red Tory tradition, with Canada's former major conservative party being named the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada from 1942 to 2003. In Canada, Progressive Conservative and Conservative Prime Ministers Arthur Meighen, R. B. Bennett, John Diefenbaker, Joe Clark, Brian Mulroney and Kim Campbell led red Tory federal governments.
One-nation conservatism was first conceived by the Conservative British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli, who presented his political philosophy in two novels, Sybil, Or The Two Nations and Coningsby, published in 1845 and 1844 respectively. Disraeli's conservatism proposed a paternalistic society with the social classes intact, but with the working class receiving support from the establishment. He emphasised the importance of social obligation rather than the individualism that pervaded his society. Disraeli warned that Britain would become divided into two nations (of the rich and poor) as a result of increased industrialisation and inequality. Concerned at this division, he supported measures to improve the lives of the people to provide social support and protect the working classes.
Disraeli justified his ideas by his belief in an organic society in which the different classes have natural obligations to one another. He saw society as naturally hierarchical and emphasised the obligation of those at the top to those below. This was based in the feudal concept of noblesse oblige, which asserted that the aristocracy had an obligation to be generous and honourable and to Disraeli this implied that government should be paternalistic. Unlike the New Right, one-nation conservatism takes a pragmatic and non-ideological approach to politics and accepts the need for flexible policies as one-nation conservatives have often sought compromise with their ideological opponents for the sake of social stability. Disraeli justified his views pragmatically by arguing that should the ruling class become indifferent to the suffering of the people, society would become unstable and social revolution would become a possibility.
Catholic political movements in the 19th centuryEdit
In Europe, Catholic political movements emerged in the 19th century as a response to widespread deterioration of social conditions and rising anti-clerical and democratic tendencies amongst artisans and workers. It mixed social commitment, paternalistic social welfare and authoritarian patronage from above with deepening popular piety.
In France, the influence of these doctrines can be seen in the conservative socialism of Albert de Mun and René de La Tour du Pin. The German conservative Lutheran figure Adolf Stoecker founded the Christian Social Workers' Party in 1878 that aimed to align workers with Protestant Christianity and the German monarchy. Stoecker respected existing social hierarchies, but he also desired a state that would be active in protecting the poor and vulnerable citizens. Stoecker on occasion used antisemitic rhetoric to gain support, although he urged supporters to practice Christian love even towards Jews.
19th-century German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck adopted policies of state-organized compulsory insurance for workers against sickness, accident, incapacity and old age in what has been nicknamed Bismarckian socialism, better known as State Socialism. The term was actually coined by Bismarck's liberal opposition, but later accepted by Bismarck. Bismarck himself was not a socialist and enacted the Anti-Socialist Laws, rather his actions were designed to offset the growth of the Social Democratic Party of Germany.
Bismarck's policies have been viewed as a form of state socialism. However, Bismark's State Socialism was based upon Romantic political thought in which the state was supreme and carried out Bismarck's agenda of supporting "the protest of collectivism against individualism" and of "nationality against cosmopolitanism" and stated that "the duty of the State is to maintain and promote the interests, the well-being of the nation as such".
The academic equivalent of Bismarck's State Socialism at the time was the Kathedersozialismus of Adolph Wagner and Gustav Schmoller. Schmoller was an opponent of both liberalism and Marxian proletarian socialism. Wagner had originally been a Manchester liberal, but he had developed into a far-right conservative and antisemite. Kathedersozialists held in common three tenets, namely that "economic freedom cannot be absolute", "the economy must obey ethical as well as practical demands" and "the state must intervene to provide a degree of social justice". Schmoller denied that free trade and laissez-faire economics were suitable for Germany, instead advocating state intervention in the economy to foster industrialism and improving conditions for labourers. Schmoller endorsed the Prussian monarchy as historically being a "benevolent and socially mediating institution". Schmoller stated: "A firm monarchy is a great blessing when it is bound up with traditions like those of the Prussian monarchy, which recognizes its duties".
During World War I, the German government issued total mobilization of the economy and social sphere for war, resulting in government regulation of the private and public sector. This was referred to as the war economy (Kriegswirtschaft) or War Socialism (Kriegssozialismus). The term War Socialism was created by the prominent proponent of the system itself, General Erich Ludendorff.
War Socialism was a militarised state socialism in which the state exercised controls and regulations over the entire economy. The German War Socialist economy was operated by conservative military men and industrialists, who had historically been hostile to socialism. Its goal was to maximize war production and to control worker discontent that was growing amongst the organized labour movement. A leading proponent of War Socialism in Germany was General Wilhelm Groener, who insisted against objections of business leaders that labour union representatives be included in factory labour committees as well as regional food and labour boards. This was achieved and gave German unions collective bargaining rights and official functions in the German state for the first time in history.
War Socialism also existed in other European countries involved in the war. In the United Kingdom, a number of public figures promoted the adoption of War Socialism, including Winston Churchill and Prime Minister David Lloyd George. Tsarist Russia had War Socialism. Sociologist Pitirim Sorokin claims that Tsarist Russian War Socialism had existed for two hundred years in support of the Tsarist regime until their overthrow in 1917. The War Socialist economy of Russia was based upon that in Germany and was supported by non-socialist and socialist parties alike.
A red Tory is an adherent of a political philosophy derived from the Tory tradition, predominantly in Canada, but also in the United Kingdom. This philosophy tends to favour communitarian social policies while maintaining a degree of fiscal discipline and a respect of social and political order. In Canada, red Toryism is found in provincial and federal Conservative political parties. The history of red Toryism marks differences in the development of the political cultures of Canada and the United States. Canadian conservatism and American conservatism have been different from each other in fundamental ways, including their stances on social issues and the role of government in society.
The adjective red refers to the economically left-leaning nature of red Toryism in comparison with blue Toryism since socialist and other leftist parties have traditionally used the colour red. Although the colour red is commonly associated with the centre-left Liberal Party of Canada, the term reflects the broad ideological range traditionally found within conservatism in Canada.
Conservative socialism was used as a rebuke by Marx for certain strains of socialism, but it has also been used by proponents of such a system.
An early proponent of self-described conservative socialism was 19th-century Austrian politician Klemens von Metternich as early as 1847. Monarchists had begun to use socialism as an antithesis of "bourgeois laissez-faire", indicating reliance on a social conscience as opposed to pure individualism. Metternich said the aims of such a conservative socialism were "peaceful, class-harmonizing, cosmopolitan, traditional". Monarchic socialism promoted social paternalism portraying the monarch as having a fatherly duty to protect his people from the effects of free economic forces. Metternich's conservative socialism saw liberalism and nationalism as forms of middle-class dictatorship over the masses.
Johann Karl Rodbertus, a monarchist conservative landowner and lawyer who briefly served as minister of education in Prussia in 1848, promoted a form of state socialism led by an enlightened monarchy supporting state regulation of the economy. Rodbertus supported the elimination of private ownership of land, with the state in control of national capital rather than redistribution of private capital, i.e. state capitalism. In the 1880s, Rodbertus' conservative socialism was promoted as a non-revolutionary alternative to social democracy and a means to justify the acceptance of Bismarck's social policies.
Right-wing socialism is used as a pejorative term by some free-market conservative and right-libertarian movements and politicians to describe paternalistic conservatism as they see it supporting paternalism and social solidarity as opposed to individualism, commercialism and laissez-faire economics. They argue that paternalist conservatism supports state promoted social hierarchy and allows certain people and groups to hold higher status in such a hierarchy which is conservative.
Although distincly, right-wing socialism is also used more commonly to refer to moderate social democratic forms of socialism when contrasted with Marxism–Leninism and other more radical left-wing alternatives. During the post-war period in Japan, the Japan Socialist Party divided itself into two different socialist parties, usually distinguished into the Leftist Socialist Party of Japan (officially the Japanese Socialist Party in English) and the Rightist Socialist Party of Japan (officially the Social Democratic Party of Japan in English). The latter received over 10% of the vote in the 1952 and 1953 general elections and was a centre-left, moderate social democratic party. In The Communist Manifesto, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels criticized the Philosophy of Poverty by the anarchist writer and theorist Pierre-Joseph Proudhon as representing conservative or bourgeois socialism.
Agrarian socialism, guild socialism, military socialism, national syndicalism, Peronism, Prussian socialism and some forms of Christian socialism are also sometimes termed right-wing socialism by various authors. Historian Ishay Landa has described the nature of right-wing socialism as decidedly capitalist.
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- Further reading
- Eley, Geoff (1997). Society, Culture, and the State in Germany, 1870-1930 (1st paperback ed.). University of Michigan.
- Paxton, Robert O. (1975). Europe in the Twentieth Century. Harcourt Brace College Publishers.
- Paxton, Robert O.; Julie Hessler (2011) . Europe in the Twentieth Century. Belmont, California: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.
- Sternhell, Ze'ev (1986). Neither Right Nor Left: Fascist Ideology in France (2nd ed.). Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press.
- Viereck, Peter (2006). Conservative Thinkers: From John Adams to Winston Churchill. New Brunswick, New Jersey: Transaction Publishers.
- Weitz, Eric D. (2007). Weimar Germany: Promise and Tragedy. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press.
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