A little while ago Iain Murray emailed me this 1960 statement from some American young conservatives.
It got me to thinking that it would be an interesting project to draw up my own statement of conservatism. I plan to do that during January/ February. It doesn't pretend to be The statement, just A statement. I've drafted a few components (below) - they sometimes use others' language/ they are in no particular order at this stage - and I plan to enlarge upon them most days for the next few weeks and then put them together - all online...
- No insignificant person has ever been born.
- Economic liberalism needs social conservatism (and, 5pm addition, Iain Murray emails me to say and vice versa)
- The presumption should always be in favour of life
- Government should be as small as possible but as large as necessary
- Multilateral organisations transfer power from people to politicians
- Private choices have public consequences/ Policymakers have an interest in 'private choices', at least so long as they have consequences for taxpayers
- Conservatism is a creative coalition between security, economic and cultural conservatives
- A welfare state that feeds-and-forgets isn't compassionate
- Politics is less important than ideas, culture and religion
- Free enterprise and big business are not the same
- Taxation has dynamic effects
- Pre-emption is the best response to many of today's security threats
- There is such thing as society, it's just not the state
- Man is a fallen creature
- Decision-making powers should be as close as possible to those affected by those decisions
- Private ownership is nearly always preferable to common ownership
- A strong society is built upon the vigorous virtues of courage, ambition, creativity, self-sufficiency and enterprise.
- Love of country is fundamental to all conservatism.
- Social liberalism can be destructive of social justice.
- Conservative reform is usually preferable to radical revolution. Conservatism must deal with its own enemies within.
They are far from finished at this stage. They need to be much better expressed but grateful for any initial thoughts.
PS Matthew Taylor is also having a stab at redefining progressivism.