chapter  2
48 Pages

Dogmatics of Conservatism

WithRobert Nisbet, Brad Lowell Stone

Ideologies, like theologies, have their dogmatics: more or less coherent and persistent bodies of belief and value which have determinative influence upon at least a part of their holders' lives. Ultimately, both relate to the individual's proper place under a system of authority, divine or secular. But a more useful perspective adds to the individual-state relationship a third factor, that of the structure of groups and associations which are intermediate to the two polar entities. Socialism, at least in its main and eventually Marxist character, has the least regard among the three ideologies for the traditional rights of intermediate groups. The socialist position on property tended to set the stage for its views on family, local community, and above all social class. 'History' reduced to its essentials is no more than experience, and it is from conservative trust in experience over abstract, and deductive thought in matters of human relationships that its trust in history is founded.