6,584 research outputs found

    Politics and Trust

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    I’ve been asked to speak briefly today about trust in public and political life, and the extent to which there has been a genuine decline in public trust over the last few years. To cut a long story short, I believe there has been something of a decline, although its properties may be a little different from those that some commentators have detected. I also believe that some of the remedies proposed for the decline are somewhat misconceived. In that context, let me begin by welcoming today’s report, which, as well as being a solid piece of work and a good read, brings together many aspects of the issue which are often neglected in debate

    Conservatism, epistemology, risk and mind

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    In this paper, I comment on recent contributions to the debate about what conservatism is, and delineate something central or even essential to conservatism as very broadly defined as “an ideology predominantly concerned with the problem of change: not necessarily proposing to eliminate it, but to render it safe” (Freeden 1996). If possible, any account should also illuminate, and make sense in the context of, at least some of the important political philosophers in the tradition of Burke and Oakeshott which is generally known as the conservative tradition. Given the promiscuity with which politicians and thinkers describe themselves as ‘conservative’, this is always a bit of a balancing act. I briefly summarise a series of papers about conservatism, from MĂŒller, Brennan and Hamlin, and Beckstein. I consider the importance to conservatism of a bias toward the status quo. Using a definition of conservatism which emphasises scepticism, I argue that a status quo bias is neither necessary nor sufficient for conservatism. I consider some of the consequences of the focus on epistemology in definitions of conservatism, arguing that the conservative is not prevented from acting politically, and that sceptical conservatism can inherit some moral force.<br/