Paternalistic conservatism

Paternalistic conservatism is a strand of conservatism[1][2] which reflects the belief that societies exist and develop organically and that members within them have obligations towards each other.[3] There is particular emphasis on the paternalistic obligation of those who are privileged and wealthy to the poorer parts of society. Consistent with principles such as duty, hierarchy and organicism, 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.[4]

Paternalistic conservatism does emphasize the duties of government to entail fairly broad state interventionism to cultivate a good life for all citizens.[5] This leads to a dirigiste path in which the government is envisaged as a benevolent paternal figure setting goals and ensuring fair play and equal opportunity,[5] with a stress on the importance of a social safety net to deal with poverty and support of redistribution of wealth along with government regulation of markets in the interests of both consumers and producers.[6] Although accepting of state intervention, paternalist conservatives are not supportive of anything resembling a command economy.[7]

Paternalistic conservatism first arose as a distinct ideology in the United Kingdom under Conservative Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli's one-nation Toryism.[6][8] 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.[9] During 19th-century, German 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.[10] Leo von Caprivi, another independent conservative Chancellor, promoted a conservative agenda called the New Course.[11]

By countryEdit


Red ToryEdit

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.[12]

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,[13][14] the term reflects the broad ideological range traditionally found within conservatism in Canada.[15]


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.[16] It mixed social commitment, paternalistic social welfare and authoritarian patronage from above with deepening popular piety.[17]

In France, the influence of these doctrines can be seen in the conservative socialism of Adrien Albert Marie de Mun and François-René de La Tour du Pin Chambly, marquis de La Charce.


Otto von Bismarck, who promoted State Socialism policies as remedial measures to appease the working class and detract support for socialism and the Social Democratic Party of Germany following earlier attempts to achieve the same objective through Bismarck's Anti-Socialist Laws

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.[18] Stoecker respected existing social hierarchies, but he also desired a state that would be active in protecting the poor and vulnerable citizens.[19] Stoecker on occasion used antisemitic rhetoric to gain support, although he urged supporters to practice Christian love even towards Jews.[19]

State SocialismEdit

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.[10] The term State Socialism was coined by Bismarck's liberal opposition, but it was later accepted by Bismarck.[20] Bismarck 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.[10] In addition, the policy of railway nationalization was established after the unification of Germany, bringing transportation under the control of the state.[21][22]

Bismarck's policies have been viewed as a form of state socialism.[23] 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".[23]

The academic equivalent of Bismarck's State Socialism at the time was the Kathedersozialismus of Adolph Wagner and Gustav Schmoller.[23] Schmoller was an opponent of both liberalism and Marxian proletarian socialism.[23] Wagner had originally been a Manchester liberal, but he had developed into a far-right conservative and antisemite.[24] 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".[24] 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.[23] Schmoller endorsed the Prussian monarchy as historically being a "benevolent and socially mediating institution".[24] Schmoller argued that a "firm monarchy is a great blessing when it is bound up with traditions like those of the Prussian monarchy, which recognizes its duties".[23]

War SocialismEdit

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.[25] This was referred to as the war economy (Kriegswirtschaft) or War Socialism (Kriegssozialismus).[25] The term War Socialism was created by General Erich Ludendorff, a prominent proponent of the system.[26]

War Socialism was a militarised state socialism in which the state exercised controls and regulations over the entire economy.[27] The German War Socialist economy was operated by conservative military men and industrialists, who had historically been hostile to socialism.[28] Its goal was to maximize war production and to control worker discontent that was growing amongst the organized labour movement.[29] 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.[30]

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.[31] Tsarist Russia had War Socialism.[32] 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.[32] The War Socialist economy of Russia was based upon that in Germany and was supported by non-socialist and socialist parties alike.[33]

United KingdomEdit

Benjamin Disraeli, who is widely considered to be the architect of one-nation conservatism

One-nation conservatismEdit

One-nation conservatism was first conceived by the Conservative British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli,[34] who presented his political philosophy in two novels, Sybil, Or The Two Nations and Coningsby, published in 1845 and 1844 respectively.[35][36] 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.[37] Disraeli warned that Britain would become divided into two nations (of the rich and poor) as a result of increased industrialisation and inequality.[35] Concerned at this division, he supported measures to improve the lives of the people to provide social support and protect the working classes.[37]

Disraeli justified his ideas by his belief in an organic society in which the different classes have natural obligations to one another.[34] 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.[35] 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.[38] 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.[34]

United StatesEdit

In the United States, Theodore Roosevelt has been the main figure identified with progressive conservatism as a political tradition. Roosevelt stated that he had "always believed that wise progressivism and wise conservatism go hand in hand".[39] Roosevelt's ideas such that of New Nationalism, an extension of his earlier philosophy of the Square Deal, have been described as paternalistic and contrasted with the individualistic New Freedom of progressive Democratic Woodrow Wilson. Wilson's program in practice has been described as resembling the more paternalistic ideas of Roosevelt, excluding the notion of reining in judges.[40] The Republican administration of President William Howard Taft was progressive conservative and he described himself as "a believer in progressive conservatism",[41] with Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower also declaring himself an advocate of "progressive conservatism".[42] 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.[43] 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.[43]


Conservative socialismEdit

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.[44]

An early proponent of conservative socialism was 19th-century Austrian politician Klemens von Metternich as early as 1847.[44] Monarchists had begun to use socialism as an antithesis of "bourgeois laissez-faire", indicating reliance on a social conscience as opposed to pure individualism.[44] Metternich said the aims of such a conservative socialism were "peaceful, class-harmonizing, cosmopolitan, traditional".[45] Monarchic socialism promoted social paternalism portraying the monarch as having a fatherly duty to protect his people from the effects of free economic forces.[46] Metternich's conservative socialism saw liberalism and nationalism as forms of middle-class dictatorship over the masses.[46]

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.[47] 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.[47] 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.[47]

Right-wing socialismEdit

Right-wing socialism[48][49] 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 commercialism, individualism and laissez-faire economics.[44][50] 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.[51]

Although distinct, 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 per cent of the vote in the 1952 and 1953 general elections and was a centre-left, moderate social democratic party.[52][53] 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.[54]

Agrarian socialism, Christian socialism,[citation needed] guild socialism, military socialism, national syndicalism,[55][56][57] Peronism,[58][59] Prussian socialism[60][61][62][63][64][65][66][67] and state socialism are sometimes termed right-wing socialism by various authors.[49] Historian Ishay Landa has described the nature of right-wing socialism as decidedly capitalist.[68]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Heywood, Andrew (2015). Political Ideologies: An Introduction (4th ed.). "Conservatism". Red Globe Press. pp. 34–36. ISBN 978-1137437273.
  2. ^ Gjorshoski, Nikola (2016). "The Ideological Specific of the Variants of Contemporary Conservatism". Journal of Liberty and International Affairs. 2 (1).
  3. ^ Heywood 2013, p. 34.
  4. ^ Heywood 2012, p. 80.
  5. ^ a b Vincent 2009, p. 64.
  6. ^ a b Dunleavy, Patrick; Kelly, Paul Joseph; Mora, Michael (2000). British Political Science: Fifty Years of Political Studies. Oxford, England; Malden, Massachusetts: Wiley-Blackwell. pp. 107–108.
  7. ^ Vincent 2009, p. 79.
  8. ^ Blake, Robert (1967). Disraeli (2nd ed.). London: Eyre & Spottiswoode. p. 524.
  9. ^ Russel, Trevor (1978). The Tory Party: Its Policies, Divisions and Future. Harmondsworth: Penguinp. p. 167.
  10. ^ a b c Taylor, Alan John Percivale (2001) [1988]. The Course of German History: A Survey of the Development of German History. London, England; New York City, New York: Routledge. p. 149.
  11. ^ Nicholas, John Alden (1958). Germany After Bismarck: The Caprivi Era, 1890–1894, Issue 5. Harvard University Press. p. 260.
  12. ^ "Conservatism". The Canadian Encyclopedia.
  13. ^ Rayside, David (2011). Faith, Politics, and Sexual Diversity in Canada and the United States. UBC Press. p. 22. ISBN 978-0-7748-2011-0.
  14. ^ Collin, Richard; Martin, Pamela L. (2012). An Introduction to World Politics: Conflict and Consensus on a Small Planet. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 138. ISBN 978-1-4422-1803-1.
  15. ^ "Red Tory". Collins English Dictionary. Retrieved 14 January 2020. [A] Conservative who holds liberal or mildly socialist views on certain fiscal and social issues.
  16. ^ Eley (1997), p. 174.
  17. ^ Eley (1997), pp. 174–175.
  18. ^ Dietze, Gottfried (1995). In Defense of Property. Lanham, Maryland; London, England: University Press of America. p. 97.
  19. ^ a b Lindemann, Albert S. (2000). Esau's Tears: Modern Anti-Semitism and the Rise of the Jews (1st paperback ed.). Cambridge, England; New York City, New York; Melbourne, Australia; Madrid, Spain: Cambridge University Press. p. 145.
  20. ^ Feuchtwanger, Edgar (2002). Bismarck. Routeledge. p. 221. ISBN 978-0415216142.
  21. ^ Henderson, William (1975). The Rise of German Industrial Power, 1834–1914. University of California Press. p. 207. ISBN 978-0-5200-3073-2.
  22. ^ Croly, Herbert (1911). The Promise of American Life. Macmillan. p. 250.
  23. ^ a b c d e f Harris (1989), p. 442.
  24. ^ a b c Stoetzler, Marcel (2008). The State, the Nation, & the Jews: Liberalism and the Antisemitism Dispute in Bismarck's Germany. University of Nebraska. p. 241.
  25. ^ a b Waite, Robert George Leeson (1993) [1977]. The Psychopathic God: Adolf Hitler. Da Capo Press. p. 304.
  26. ^ Paxton (1997), p. 106.
  27. ^ Waite, Robert George Leeson (1993) [1977]. The Psychopathic God: Adolf Hitler. Da Capo Press. pp. 304–305.
  28. ^ Findley, Carter Vaughn; Rothney, John Alexander (2011). Twentieth-Century World (7th ed.). Belmont, California: Wadsworth Cengage Learning. p. 66.
  29. ^ Paxton & Hessler (2011), p. 89.
  30. ^ Paxton & Hessler (2011), pp. 89, 95.
  31. ^ Corporation, Marshall Cavendish (2002). History of World War I, Volume 3. Tarrytown, New York: Marshall Cavendish Corporation. p. 697.
  32. ^ a b Pons, Silvio; Romano, Andrea (2000). Russia in the Age of Wars, 1914-1945 (English trans.). Feltrinelli. p. 68.
  33. ^ Raleigh, Donald J. (2002). Experiencing Russia's Civil War: Politics, Society, and Revolutionary Culture in Saratov, 1917-1922. Princeton, New Jersey; Oxfordshire, England: Princeton University Press. p. 24.
  34. ^ a b c Dorey 1995, pp. 16-17.
  35. ^ a b c Heywood 2007, pp. 82–83.
  36. ^ Dana Arnold (2004). Cultural Identities and the Aesthetics of Britishness. Manchester University Press. p. 96.
  37. ^ a b Dorey 1995, pp. 16–17.
  38. ^ Bloor 2010, pp. 41–42.
  39. ^ Lurie, Jonathan (2011). William Howard Taft: The Travails of a Progressive Conservative. New York City: Cambridge University Press. p. 196. ISBN 9781139502177.
  40. ^ Kraig, Robert Alexander (2000). "The 1912 Election and the Rhetorical Foundations of the Liberal State". Rhetoric and Public Affairs. 3 (3): 363–395. doi:10.1353/rap.2010.0042. JSTOR 41940243.
  41. ^ Lurie, Jonathan (2012). William Howard Taft: The Travails of a Progressive Conservative. New York City: Cambridge University Press. p. ix.
  42. ^ Kutler, Stanley I. "Eisenhower, the Judiciary, and Desegregation". In Ambrose, Stephen E.; Bischof, Günter, eds. (1995). Eisenhower: A Centenary Assessment. Louisiana State University Press. p. 98.
  43. ^ a b Segal, Hugh (2011). The Right Balance. Victoria, British Columbia: Douglas & McIntyre. pp. 113–148.
  44. ^ a b c d Viereck (2006), p. 74.
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  46. ^ a b Viereck (2006), p. 75.
  47. ^ a b c Shatz, Marshall S. (1989). Jan Waclaw Machajski: A Radical Critic of the Russian Intelligentsia and Socialism. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: University of Pittsburgh Press. p. 86.
  48. ^ Rothbard, Murray (2010). Left, Right, and the Prospects for Liberty. Auburn, Alabama: Mises Institute. p. 19.
  49. ^ a b Huerta de Soto 2010, p. 80.
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  51. ^ Huerta de Soto 2010, p. 79.
  52. ^ Ware, Alan (1996). Political Parties and Party Systems. Oxford University Press. p. 395.
  53. ^ Moask, Carl (2007). Japanese Economic Development: Markets, Norms, Structures. Taylor & Francis. p. 239.
  54. ^ Marx, Karl; Engels, Friedrich (1848). The Communist Manifesto. "Chapter III. Socialist and Communist Literature". "2. Conservative or Bourgeois Socialism".
  55. ^ Sternhell, Ze'ev (1986). Neither Right Nor Left: Fascist Ideology in France. (2nd ed.). Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press.
  56. ^ Sternhell, Ze'ev; Sznajder, Mario; Ashéri, Maia (1994). The Birth of Fascist Ideology: From Cultural Rebellion to Political Revolution. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press.
  57. ^ Sternhill, Ze'ev (1998). "Fascism". In Griffin, Roger, ed. International Fascism: Theories, Causes, and the New Consensus. London; New York City: Arnold Publishers.
  58. ^ Christian, Shirley (13 January 1990). "Buenos Aires Journal; Carlos, Carlos, How Does Your Economy Sink?". The New York Times. Retrieved 14 January 2020.
  59. ^ Servetto, Alicia (1999). "El derrumbe temprano de la democracia en Córdoba: Obregón Cano y el golpe policial (1973-1974)". Archived 6 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine. Estudios Sociales (in Spanish). 17: 19. Revised paper of a 1997 Conference at the National University of La Pampa.
  60. ^ Harris, Abram Lincoln (1989). Race, Radicalism, and Reform: Selected Papers. New Brunswick, New Jersey: Transaction Publishers.
  61. ^ Hughes, H. Stuart (1992). Oswald Spengler. New Brunswick, New Jersey: Transaction Publishers. p. 108.
  62. ^ Hüppauf, Bernd-Rüdiger (1997). War, Violence, and the Modern Condition. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter & Co.
  63. ^ Kitchen, Martin (2006). A History of Modern Germany, 1800-2000. Malden, Massaschussetts; Oxford, England; Carlton, Victoria: Blackwell Publishing.
  64. ^ Blamires, Cyprian; Jackson, Paul (2006). World Fascism: A Historical Encyclopedia, Volume 1. Santa Barbara, California: ABC-CLIO. p. 628.
  65. ^ Winkler, Heinrich August; Sager, Alexander (2006). Germany: The Long Road West (English ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 414.
  66. ^ Rohkrämer, Thomas (2007). "A Single Communal Faith?: The German Right from Conservatism to National Socialism". Monographs in German History. 20. Berghahn Books.
  67. ^ Weitz, Eric D. (2007). Weimar Germany: Promise and Tragedy. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press.
  68. ^ Landa, Ishay (2012). The Apprentice's Sorcerer: Liberal Tradition and Fascism. Haymarket Books. pp. 60–65.


Further readingEdit

  • 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) [2005]. 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.

External linksEdit

  Quotations related to Paternalistic conservatism at Wikiquote