Conservative Political Philosophy Essay

Pages: 6 (1567 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 0  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Government

¶ … Political Philosophy

Generally, I hold a "modern conservative" political philosophy that emphasizes the value of a free market economic society. In that regard, I believe that certain fundamental governmental controls are necessary but, in principle, government regulation should not seek to impose artificial restraints on economic matters. The state should encourage economic self-responsibility and self-sufficiency and should not seek to balance the natural or earned advantages of some individuals artificially. I believe that the state should uphold public order by removing criminals from free society and that social change should be a gradual process that proceeds with appropriate regard for traditional principles.

World View:

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Having lived under three different political systems and experienced life under others in my travels, I have reached the conclusion that there are certain advantages and disadvantages to different political philosophies and that human beings are naturally rational and capable of intelligent reasoning but that equally rational and intelligent minds may differ substantially in their decisions and beliefs. Generally, human knowledge depends on the accurate interpretation of observable facts and is subject to continual reinterpretation, correction, revision, and alternate conclusions based on those analyses of fact. In some cases, that is a function of the learning process; in other cases, it represents the discovery of additional facts or the proposal of new methods of examination and analysis. While the scientific method undoubtedly brings us closer and closer to a comprehensive understanding of the facts, it may never be possible for human beings to know the absolute truth about everything.

Freedom and Justice:

Essay on Conservative Political Philosophy Assignment

Freedom and personal autonomy are essential to human happiness and welfare, but a society must always balance the value of personal freedom against the need to ensure the respective rights of all individuals among one another. In principle, personal freedom should govern matters and behaviour whose effects and consequences are limited to the individual and the state should govern matters and behaviour whose effects and consequences are borne by the public or anybody else besides the individual. Therefore, if an individual chooses to become an alcoholic or to smoke marijuana in the privacy of his own flat, that should not be a matter of state authority. However, if, while intoxicated on alcohol or under the influence of marijuana, the individual engages in conduct that threatens or harms others, that conduct and that irresponsible use of either substance is rightfully a matter of government control.

Whereas Plato (and others) have suggested that there is fundamental value in the concept of justice for its own sake, I believe that the only relevance of an abstract concept such as justice derives from the tangible differences it contributes to human life. Therefore, justice systems and the administration of justice within society must always defer as much as possible to the interest of achieving the most beneficial and objectively fair solution to specific issues. The relevance of justice derives mainly from the differences it achieves in human affairs and the degree to which those achievements better the lives and circumstances of those it affects.

With respect to establishing and administrating the enforcement of man-made laws, the appropriate role of government is to provide a centralized system for consolidating the various different beliefs and approaches to regulating human behaviour throughout society. In addition to fulfilling the function of recognizing and arbitrating specific issues, a centralized government also ensures a uniform system of national values and social policies. In general, the government should allow maximum individual freedom while providing appropriate control over matters where individual behaviour affects others or society as a whole.

Since human perceptions, interpretations, values, and laws are all subject to error and re-evaluation, political systems must provide some form of democratic process to effect policy changes through peaceful means. In that regard, voting rights are essential, as is the right to question, lobby, and protest governmental decisions and policies without the fear of punishment or retaliation. Governments must be the most tolerant of political speech and must not interfere with the freedom of the press, because both are crucial to the process of peaceful changes and evolution in human society. Violent protest should be punished, but for the method of implementation rather than the underlying message.

The state also has a moral obligation to use only the amount of force or violence absolutely necessary to respond to violent protest and never for retaliatory purposes. Naturally, since the government is composed of individual human beings, political corruption can likely never be eliminated entirely. However, it is the responsibility of the state to define corruption appropriately and to take all reasonable and necessary measures to identify, neutralize, and punish any instances of unethical conduct or corruption in public affairs.

Economics, Capitalism, and Public Welfare:

Capitalism functions best with a minimum of government regulation beyond those that are necessary to ensure honesty and justice as those concepts apply to economics. Those types of government controls are beneficial to society and prerequisite to any efficient and stable national economy. However, it is not the role of government to equalize economic opportunities based on differences in natural aptitude, intelligence, resourcefulness, or personal commitment to hard work and achievement. Throughout nature, organisms evolve and those with better adaptation and survival skills prevail over those with less capacity to overcome circumstances. In many ways, that observation also applies to human life.

More specifically, extensive public assistance and affirmative action programs unfairly reduce opportunities to those who earn them while unfairly benefiting those who have not. The role of government in this regard is to ensure that everyone has the same opportunity to apply for admission to educational institutions, vocational fields, and specific employment; the role of government is not to redistribute opportunities or wealth among individuals. Extensive reliance on public welfare has been demonstrated to generate a "free-rider" mentality among many beneficiaries; ironically, that approach can become another obstacle to self-responsibility and to developing self-sufficiency.

That notion applies equally to alls segments of society. Therefore, when corporate entities or wealthy private investors take irresponsible risks -- and even where their risks are completely responsible -- it is not appropriate for government to bail them out. Likewise, where irresponsible spending and borrowing contribute to personal financial problems, it is not the responsibility of society to share the consequences by spreading the loss among those who had no responsibility for those circumstances in the first place.

Crime:

I believe in the fundamental proposition that it is preferable to allow many guilty go free than to punish a single innocent individual. Therefore, criminal justice policies and procedures must adequately protect against wrongful arrest, prosecution, and punishment. On the other hand, the safety and security of the nation and its peoples are of paramount importance and justify certain restrictions and impositions on our rights and freedoms as necessary to protect us from crime and violence. Penal policies and sentences must be sufficiently harsh to provide an effective deterrent function. Therefore, ambiguity or so-called "grey areas" in law must be minimized to provide clear guidance and to allow for efficient prosecution of criminal conduct.

Civil Rights and Equality:

In principle, the civil rights movement is necessary to ensure against outright instances of unjustified discrimination. However, the current course of civil rights legislation errs excessively on the side of enforcing an artificial equality beyond what is appropriate for society and the equal benefit of all it members. Specifically, the excessive use of affirmative action and defacto admissions policies in universities and hiring quotas in the workplace have resulted in extensive reverse racism. Instead of neutralizing any impact of racial or ethnic elements, the emphasis on cultural diversity has swung too far and resulted in prejudices against native-born white males in particular.

Women, like other minorities, have also benefited from civil rights policies and protections that artificially impose unnecessary… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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