Liberal conservatism is a political ideology combining conservative policies with liberal stances, especially on economic, social and ethical issues, or a brand of political conservatism strongly influenced by liberalism.
|Part of a series on|
|Part of a series on|
Liberal conservatism incorporates the classical liberal view of minimal government intervention in the economy, according to which individuals should be free to participate in the market and generate wealth without government interference. However, liberal conservatism also holds that individuals cannot be thoroughly depended on to act responsibly in other spheres of life, therefore liberal conservatives believe that a strong state is necessary to ensure law and order and social institutions are needed to nurture a sense of duty and responsibility to the nation. They also support civil liberties, along with some social conservative positions. In Europe, liberal conservatism is the dominant form of contemporary conservatism and centre-right politics.
Overview, definitions and usage
Both "conservatism" and "liberalism" have had different meanings over time in different centuries. The term "liberal conservatism" has been used in quite different ways. It usually contrasts with "aristocratic conservatism", which deems the principle of equality as something discordant with human nature and emphasizes instead the idea of natural inequality. As conservatives in democratic countries have embraced typical liberal institutions such as the rule of law, private property, the market economy and constitutional representative government, the liberal element of liberal conservatism became consensual among conservatives. In some countries (e.g. the United Kingdom and the United States), the term "liberal conservatism" came to be understood simply as "conservatism" in popular culture, prompting some conservatives who embraced more strongly classical liberal values to call themselves "libertarians" instead. However, there are differences between classical liberals and libertarians.
Nevertheless, in the United States conservatives often combine the economic individualism of classical liberals with a Burkean form of conservatism that emphasizes the natural inequalities between men, the irrationality of human behavior as the basis for the human drive for order and stability and the rejection of natural rights as the basis for government. However, from a different perspective, American conservatism (a "hybrid of conservatism and classical liberalism") has exalted three tenets of Burkean conservatism, namely the diffidence toward the power of the state, the preference of liberty over equality, and patriotism while rejecting the three remaining tenets, namely loyalty to traditional institutions and hierarchies, scepticism regarding progress and elitism. Consequently, in the United States the term "liberal conservatism" is not used. American "modern liberalism" happens to be quite different from European liberalism and occupies the centre-left of the political spectrum, in contrast to many European countries where liberalism is often more associated with the centre-right and social democracy makes up a substantial part of the centre-left. The opposite is true in Latin America, where economically liberal conservatism is often labelled under the rubric of neoliberalism both in popular culture and academic discourse.
For their part, in their embracement of liberal and free market principles, European liberal conservatives are clearly distinguishable from those holding national conservative, fully social-conservative and/or outright populist views, let alone a right-wing populist posture. Being liberal often involves stressing free market economics and the belief in individual responsibility together with the defense of civil rights and support for a limited welfare state. Compared to other centre-right political traditions, such as Christian democracy, liberal conservatives are less traditionalist and more economically liberal, favouring low taxes and minimal state intervention in the economy.
Some regional varieties and peculiarities can be observed:
- In much of central and northwestern Europe, especially in Germanic and traditionally Protestant countries, as well as the United Kingdom and Belgium, a divide persists between liberal conservatives (including Christian democrats) and liberals (including conservative liberals and social liberals).
- In most Nordic countries, liberal conservatives, Christian democrats and liberals form distinct political families and have each their own party.
- In most countries where Romance languages are spoken and where Catholicism is or has been dominant, as well as in Greece, liberal conservative movements, often encompassing Christian democrats and liberals, have more recently gained traction and the terms "conservative" and "liberal" may be understood as synonymous.
Consequently, at the European level, Christian democrats and most liberal conservatives are affiliated to the European People's Party (EPP), while liberals (including conservative and social liberals) to the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Party (ALDE Party).
In this context, some traditionally Christian-democratic parties (such as Christian-Democratic and Flemish in Belgium, the Christian Democratic Appeal in the Netherlands, the Christian Democratic Union in Germany and the People's Party in Austria) have become almost undistinguishable from other liberal-conservative parties. On the other hand, newer liberal-conservative parties (such as New Democracy in Greece, the Social Democratic Party in Portugal, People's Party in Spain, Forza Italia / The People of Freedom / Forza Italia in Italy, the Union for a Popular Movement / The Republicans in France and most centre-right parties from countries once belonging to the Eastern Bloc and Yugoslavia) have not adopted traditional labels, but their ideologies are also a mixture of conservatism, Christian democracy and liberalism.
In the modern European discourse, "liberal conservatism" usually encompasses centre-right political outlooks that reject at least to some extent social conservatism. This position is also associated with support for moderate forms of social safety net and environmentalism (see also green conservatism and green liberalism). This variety of "liberal conservatism" has been espoused by Nordic conservatives (the Moderate Party in Sweden, the Conservative Party in Norway and the National Coalition Party in Finland), which have been fending off competition from right-wing populists to their right and do not include Christian democrats, and, at times, the British Conservative Party. In an interview shortly after taking office as Prime Minister in 2010, David Cameron introduced himself a "liberal conservative". During his first speech to a party conference in 2006, Cameron had defined this as believing in individual freedom and human rights, but being skeptical of "grand schemes to remake the world".
Classical conservatism and economic liberalism
Historically, in the 18th and 19th centuries "conservatism" comprised a set of principles based on concern for established tradition, respect for authority and religious values. This form of traditionalist or classical conservatism is often considered to be exemplified by the writings of Joseph de Maistre in the post-Enlightenment age. Contemporaneous "liberalism" – now recalled as classical liberalism – advocated both political freedom for individuals and a free market in the economic sphere. Ideas of this sort were promulgated by John Locke, Montesquieu, Adam Smith, Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill, who are respectively remembered as the fathers of classical liberalism, the separation of church and state, economic liberalism, utilitarianism and social liberalism.
According to scholar Andrew Vincent, the maxim of liberal conservatism is "economics is prior to politics". Others emphasize the openness of historical change and a suspicion of tyrannical majorities behind the hailing of individual liberties and traditional virtues, by authors such as Edmund Burke and Alexis de Tocqueville, as the basis of current liberal conservatism, as seen both in the works of Raymond Aron and Michael Oakeshott. However, there is general agreement that the original liberal conservatives were those who combined conservative social attitudes with an economically liberal outlook, adapting a previous aristocratic understanding of natural inequalities between men to the rule of meritocracy – without directly criticizing privileges of birth as long as individual liberties were guaranteed. Over time, the majority of conservatives in the Western world came to adopt free market economic ideas as the Industrial Revolution progressed and the aristocracy lost its power, to the extent that such ideas are now generally considered as part of conservatism. Nonetheless, in most countries the term "liberal" is used to describe those with free market economic views. This is the case, for example, in continental Europe, Australia and Latin America.
Liberal-conservative parties or parties with liberal-conservative factions
Åland: Moderates of Åland Albania: Democratic Party of Albania Argentina: Union of the Democratic Centre, Republican Proposal Armenia: Prosperous Armenia Australia: Coalition (Liberal Party of Australia, Liberal National Party of Queensland, Country Liberal Party, National Party of Australia) Austria: Austrian People's Party Belarus: United Civic Party of Belarus Belgium: New Flemish Alliance Bosnia and Herzegovina: Party for Bosnia and Herzegovina, Party of Democratic Progress Brazil: Democrats, New Party Bulgaria: Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria, Union of Democratic Forces Canada: Conservative Party of Canada, British Columbia Liberal Party, Saskatchewan Party, Yukon Party Chile: National Renewal China: Democracy Party of China Croatia: Croatian Democratic Union, Croatian Social Liberal Party Cyprus: Democratic Rally Czech Republic: Civic Democratic Party, TOP 09, Party of Free Citizens, Denmark: Conservative People's Party Dominican Republic: National Progressive Force El Salvador: Grand Alliance for National Unity Estonia: Union of Pro Patria and Res Publica, Estonian Reform Party Faroe Islands: People's Party Finland: National Coalition Party France: The Republicans, Union of Democrats and Independents, Agir Georgia: United National Movement, New Rights, Movement for Liberty - European Georgia Germany: Christian Democratic Union, Christian Social Union of Bavaria, Free Democratic Party, Liberal Conservative Reformers Ghana: New Patriotic Party Greece: New Democracy Greenland: Feeling of Community Indonesia: National Awakening Party Iceland: Independence Party Ireland: Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael Israel: Likud, The Jewish Home India: Bharatiya Janata Party Italy: Forza Italia Jamaica: Jamaica Labour Party Japan: Liberal Democratic Party Kosovo: Democratic League of Kosovo, Alliance for the Future of Kosovo Latvia: Unity Lebanon: National Bloc Lithuania: Homeland Union Malta: Nationalist Party Moldova: Liberal Democratic Party of Moldova Montenegro: Movement for Changes Morocco: Constitutional Union Netherlands: Christian Democratic Appeal, People's Party for Freedom and Democracy New Zealand: New Zealand National Party Nicaragua: Alliance for the Republic Norway: Conservative Party Panama: Nationalist Republican Liberal Movement Philippines: Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino Poland: Civic Platform, Agreement Portugal: Social Democratic Party Romania: National Liberal Party Russia: Civic Platform Saint Vincent and the Grenadines: New Democratic Party Serbia: Serbian Progressive Party, People's Party Singapore: People's Action Party Slovakia: Slovak Democratic and Christian Union – Democratic Party, Ordinary People, Most–Híd, Civic Conservative Party Slovenia: Slovenian Democratic Party South Korea: Bareunmirae Party, Party of New Conservatives Spain: People's Party, Sri Lanka: United National Party Sweden: Moderate Party Switzerland: Conservative Democratic Party of Switzerland Taiwan: Kuomintang, People First Party Turkey: İyi Party Ukraine: Petro Poroshenko Bloc, All-Ukrainian Union "Fatherland" United Kingdom: Conservative Party (See Conservatism in the United Kingdom) United States: Republican Party Uruguay: National Party
Bolivia: Popular Consensus Canada: Progressive Conservative Party of Canada Chile: National Party Czech Republic: Civic Democratic Alliance, Freedom Union – Democratic Union, Realists Estonia: Res Publica Party France: National Centre of Independents and Peasants, Union for the New Republic, Independent Republicans, Perspectives and Realities Clubs, Union of Democrats for the Republic, Republican Party, Rally for the Republic, Union for French Democracy, Liberal Democracy, Independent Republican and Liberal Pole, Union for a Popular Movement, New Centre Gibraltar: Progressive Democratic Party Greenland: Association of Candidates Israel: General Zionists, Liberal Party Italy: Forza Italia, The People of Freedom, Tyrolean Homeland Party, Union of the Centre Latvia: New Era Party, Civic Union, Reform Party Poland: Conservative People's Party, Liberal Democratic Congress Romania: Democratic Convention of Romania, Democratic Liberal Party Russia: Democratic Choice of Russia, Union of Right Forces Serbia: G17 Plus, Together for Šumadija South Korea: Saenuri Party Turkey: Motherland Party
- Nordsieck, Wolfram. "Parties and Elections in Europe".
- McAnulla 2006, p. 71.
- Johnston 2007, p. 155.
- Grigsby, Ellen: Analyzing Politics: An Introduction to Political Science. Cengage Learning, 2011.
- van de Haar 2015, p. 71.
- Grigsby, Ellen: Analyzing Politics: An Introduction to Political Science. Cengage Learning, 2011. p.106-112
- Wooldridge, Adrian; Micklethwait, John (2011). The Right Nation: Why America is Different. Penguin Books Limited. ISBN 9780241958896 – via Google Books.
- Bethell, Leslie: The Cambridge History of Latin America: Latin America since 1930. Cambridge University Press, 1991.
- Cameron, David (2010-05-16). "I am a Liberal Conservative". BBC. Retrieved 18 August 2012.
- "Full text of David Cameron's speech to the Conservative Party conference", BBC, October 2006
- Vincent, Andrew (2009). "Conservatism". Modern Political Ideologies. Chichester, U.K. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell. pp. 65–66. ISBN 978-1-4051-5495-6.
- Lakoff, Sandoff, "Tocqueville, Burke, and the Origins of Liberal Conservatism." The review of politics 60(3), pp. 435–464, 1998. doi:10.1017/S003467050002742X
- Slomp, Hans (2011-09-26). Europe, a Political Profile: An American Companion to European Politics - Hans Slomp - Google Books. pp. 106–108. ISBN 9780313391828.
- Goldfarb, Michael (20 July 2010). "Liberal? Are we talking about the same thing?". BBC News. Retrieved 6 July 2016.
- MacLean, James. ""The Two Meanings of "Liberalism"". Retrieved 6 July 2016.
- Nicole A. Thomas; Tobias Loetscher; Danielle Clode; Michael E. R. Nicholls (May 2, 2012). "Right-Wing Politicians Prefer the Emotional Left". PLOS ONE. 7 (5): 4. Bibcode:2012PLoSO...736552T. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0036552. PMC 3342249. PMID 22567166.
The Liberal Party of Australia has an ideology in line with liberal conservatism and is therefore right of centre.
- Ralph P Güntzel (2010). Understanding "Old Europe": An Introduction to the Culture, Politics, and History of France, Germany, and Austria. Tectum Wissenschaftsverlag. p. 162. ISBN 978-3-8288-5300-3.
- Janusz Bugajski (2002). Political Parties of Eastern Europe: A Guide to Politics in the Post-Communist Era. M.E. Sharpe. p. 22. ISBN 978-1-56324-676-0.
- Kirby, Peadar (2003), Introduction to Latin America: Twenty-First Century Challenges, Sage, p. 157
- Paul Lewis (2002). Political Parties in Post-Communist Eastern Europe. Routledge. p. 53. ISBN 978-1-134-63437-8.
- John Nagle; Alison Mahr (1999). Democracy and Democratization: Post-Communist Europe in Comparative Perspective. SAGE Publications. p. 188. ISBN 978-0-7619-5679-2.
- Elizabeth Bakke (2010). "Central and Eastern European party systems since 1989". In Sabrina P. Ramet (ed.). Central and Southeast European Politics since 1989. Cambridge University Press. p. 78. ISBN 978-1-139-48750-4.
- Maciej Stobinski (2014). "Twenty years of the Czech party system: 1992–2011". In Lucyna Czechowska; Krzysztof Olszewski (eds.). Central Europe on the Threshold of the 21st Century: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Challenges in Politics and Society. Cambridge Scholars Publishing. p. 296. ISBN 978-1-4438-6483-1.
- Otto Eibl; Michal Pink (2016). "Election Results, Candidate Lists and the Framing of Campaigns". In Ruxandra Boicu; Silvia Branea; Adriana Stefanel (eds.). Political Communication and European Parliamentary Elections in Times of Crisis: Perspectives from Central and South-Eastern Europe. Palgrave Macmillan UK. p. 258. ISBN 978-1-137-58591-2.
- "BEDNÁŘ: Svobodní jsou šancí pro zklamané pravicové voliče | Svobodní - Strana svobodných občanů". web.svobodni.cz (in Czech). 2012-04-07. Retrieved 27 March 2017.
- Kjetil Duvold (2017). "When Left and Right is a Matter of Identity: Overlapping Political Dimensions in Estonia and Latvia". In Andrey Makarychev; Alexandra Yatsyk (eds.). Borders in the Baltic Sea Region: Suturing the Ruptures. Springer. p. 132. ISBN 978-1-352-00014-6.
- Mads Dagnis Jensen (2015). "The Nordic Countries and the European Parliament". In Caroline Howard Grøn; Peter Nedergaard; Anders Wivel (eds.). The Nordic Countries and the European Union: Still the Other European Community?. Routledge. p. 89. ISBN 978-1-317-53661-1.
- Gordon Smith (1995). "The Moderate Right in the German Party System". In Peter H. Merkl (ed.). The Federal Republic of Germany at Forty-Five: Union without Unity. Springer. p. 269. ISBN 978-1-349-13518-9.
- José María Magone (2003). The Politics of Southern Europe: Integration Into the European Union. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 148. ISBN 978-0-275-97787-0.
- Christina Bergqvist (1999). Equal Democracies?: Gender and Politics in the Nordic Countries. Nordic Council of Ministers. p. 319. ISBN 978-82-00-12799-4.
- Kerstin Hamann; John Kelly (2010). Parties, Elections, and Policy Reforms in Western Europe: Voting for Social Pacts. Routledge. p. 1980. ISBN 978-1-136-94986-9.
- Karan, Pradyumna P. (2005), Japan in the 21st century: environment, economy, and society, University Press of Kentucky, ISBN 978-0813137773
- William D. Hoover, ed. (2011). Historical Dictionary of Postwar Japan. Scarecrow Press. p. 211. ISBN 978-0-8108-7539-5.
- Janusz Bugajski (2002). Political Parties of Eastern Europe: A Guide to Politics in the Post-Communist Era. M.E. Sharpe. p. 141. ISBN 978-1-56324-676-0.
- Abdo Baaklini; Guilain Denoeux; Springborg, Robert (1999), Legislative Politics in the Arab World: The Resurgence of Democratic Institutions, Lynne Riener, p. 129
- Arco Timmermans; Edwin van Rooyen; Gerrit Voerman (26 November 2014). "Policy analysis and political party think tanks". In Frans van Nispen; Peter Scholten (eds.). Policy analysis in the Netherlands. Policy Press. p. 189. ISBN 978-1-4473-1333-5.
- Liubomir K. Topaloff (2012). Political Parties and Euroscepticism. Springer. p. 21. ISBN 978-1-137-00968-5.
- José M. Magone (2017). The Statecraft of Consensus Democracies in a Turbulent World: A Comparative Study of Austria, Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Switzerland. Taylor & Francis. p. 112. ISBN 978-1-315-40785-2.
- Cheyne, Christine (2009). Social Policy in Aotearoa New Zealand. Oxford University Press. p. 70.
The ideological underpinnings of policy directions in the National Party under the leadership of John Key appear to reflect a liberal conservatism
- Jean-Michel De Waele; Anna Pacześniak (2011). "The Europeanisation of Poland's political parties and party system". In Erol Külahci (ed.). Europeanisation and Party Politics. ECPR Press. p. 131.
- André Krouwel (2012). Party Transformations in European Democracies. SUNY Press. p. 348. ISBN 978-1-4384-4483-3.
- "2016 Russia legislative elections: State Duma". Parties and Elections in Europe. 2016. Retrieved 30 December 2017.
- Stískala, Jozef (2012), "Party System of Slovak Republic and its Stability after 2010 and 2012 Elections in Comparative Perspective", Slovak Journal of Political Sciences, 12 (3): 233
- Alfio Cerami (2006). Social Policy in Central and Eastern Europe: The Emergence of a New European Welfare Regime. LIT Verlag Münster. pp. 29–. ISBN 978-3-8258-9699-7.
- Inmaculada Egido (2005). Transforming Education: The Spanish Experience. Nova Publishers. p. 14. ISBN 978-1-59454-208-4.
- Fernando Reinares (2014). "The 2004 Madrid Train Bombings". In Bruce Hoffman; Fernando Reinares (eds.). The Evolution of the Global Terrorist Threat: From 9/11 to Osama bin Laden's Death. Columbia University Press. p. 32. ISBN 978-0-231-53743-8.
- Peter Viggo Jakobsen (2006). Nordic Approaches to Peace Operations: A New Model in the Making?. Taylor & Francis. pp. 184–. ISBN 978-0-415-38360-8.
- Hariz Halilovich (2013). Places of Pain: Forced Displacement, Popular Memory and Trans-local Identities in Bosnian War-torn Communities. Berghahn Books. p. 208. ISBN 978-0-85745-777-6.
- "Liberální strana". liberalove.bluefile.cz (in Czech). Retrieved 27 March 2017.
- "Unie svobody – zoufalé hledání identity". www.witzany.cz. Retrieved 27 March 2017.
- "Politická strana Realisté po třech letech končí, rozhodli členové". Idnes. Retrieved October 3, 2019.
- David Hanley (1999). "France: Living with Instability". In David Broughton (ed.). Changing Party Systems in Western Europe. Continuum International Publishing Group. p. 66. ISBN 978-1-85567-328-1. Retrieved 21 August 2012.
- Alistair Cole (2003). "Stress, strain and stability in the French party system". In Jocelyn Evans (ed.). The French Party System. Manchester University Press. p. 12. ISBN 978-0-7190-6120-2.
- Ruth Wodak; John E. Richardson (2013). Analysing Fascist Discourse: European Fascism in Talk and Text. Routledge. p. 43. ISBN 978-0-415-89919-2.
- Donatella M. Viola (2015). "Italy". In Donatella M. Viola (ed.). Routledge Handbook of European Elections. Routledge. p. 117. ISBN 978-1-317-50363-7.
- Ilaria Riccioni; Ramono Bongelli; Andrzej Zuczkwoski (2013). "The communication of certainty and uncertainty in Italian political media discourses". In Anita Fetzer (ed.). The Pragmatics of Political Discourse: Explorations across cultures. John Benjamins Publishing Company. p. 131. ISBN 978-90-272-7239-3.
- Pallaver, Günther (2008). Jens Woelk; Francesco Palermo; Joseph Marko (eds.). South Tyrol's Consociational Democracy: Between Political Claim and Social Reality. Tolerance Through Law: Self Governance and Group Rights In South Tyrol. Martinus Nijhoff Publishers. p. 309. ISBN 978-90-04-16302-7.
- Aleks Szczerbiak (2006). "The Polish centre-right's (last?) best hope: The rise and fall of Solidarity Electoral Action". In Aleks Szczerbiak; Seán Hanley (eds.). Centre-right Parties in Post-communist East-Central Europe. Psychology Press. p. 66. ISBN 978-0-415-34781-5.
- McAnulla, Stuart (2006). British Politics: A Critical Introduction. A&C Black. ISBN 978-0-826-46155-1.
- Johnston, Larry (2007). Politics: An Introduction to the Modern Democratic State. University of Toronto Press. ISBN 978-1-4426-0040-9.
- Johnston, Larry (2011). Politics: An Introduction to the Modern Democratic State. University of Toronto Press. ISBN 978-1-4426-0533-6.
- Turner, Rachel S. (2008). Neo-Liberal Ideology: History, Concepts and Policies: History, Concepts and Policies. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. ISBN 0-748-63235-2.
- van de Haar, Edwin (2015). Degrees of Freedom: Liberal Political Philosophy and Ideology. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers. ISBN 1-412-85575-6.