Assignment Requirements:

This Assignment will require that you compare and contrast two texts of political theory along the question of your choice.

Papers should explain and evaluate the readings and may bring in other material if you find it relevant–always make sure that the papers make an argument that is clearly supported by specifics.

Compare and Contrast Conservatism and Liberalism – A Heterogeneous Approach


Political theory- is the science of political laws and principles which people used to describe explain and evaluate political events and scenarios.  It helps to analyze, interpret and infer political events. There are two popular political theories i.e. Conservatism and Liberalism which is greatly compared and contrasted. Political theory also popularly known as political ideology is a set of defined behaviors and attitudes which presents the most elusive concepts of social sciences. However, the most widely accepted uncontroversial text of political ideology referring it as set of beliefs about proper societal order and structure an how this can be achieved. Also, political ideologists have classified political ideologies between symbolic and operational aspects of political ideology. Symbolic aspects refers to general ideological labels and tags and in contrast operational aspects contribute more towards the concrete opinions towards either extreme left or right. The evaluation of these propositions forms the foundations of the explanations that are based on moral leadership which relies heavily on the divine rights of the monarchy and dynamics of the social order.

There is greater debate over the issue that is liberalism and conservatism orthogonal dimensions. The origin of this debate has initiated from the popular beliefs and opinions that argue over uni-dimensional approach and consistently argue that left and right are two independent and uni-polar beliefs. However, it should be noted that the measures of liberalism and conservatism are closely related, there are less chances that they are closely unrelated. At this point of discussion what is important to evaluate is the fact that why evaluation of conservatism and liberalism are negatively correlated but on the other hand the economic factors pertaining to conservatism and liberalism are positively correlated.

Political Theory of Conservatism

Various multidimensional approaches have been defined to understand ‘Conservatism’. The ideology of conservatism is besieged with many difficulties. Several attempts have been made to clearly define the ideology of conservatism precisely. After several attempt of definition, it is frequently assumed that conservatism theory itself is more susceptible to internal contradictions and other varieties of widely prevailing thought. Most people consider that analysis of conservatism ideology is somewhat biased because it is itself written by conservative themselves (Jost, 2003).

For various centuries and era, scientist and psychologist are tracking down the foundation of hypothesis which clearly states different psychological motives and tendencies which greatly result in underlying differences. Political conservatism is regularly utilized as a famous spurred social comprehension. Conservatism is a famous hypothesis which incorporates different speculations of identity, for example, tyranny, obstinacy and prejudice of vagueness. What is important to understand is the idea that too many theories which have been designed have conflated psychological and political variable. The measurement of these variables is an attempt to evaluate a construct which is hybrid construct of psychological and a political one (John T. Jost., 2012).

Additionally, different scholars have defined conservatism and its amalgamation in different ways. The most acceptable form of definition which is widely explained defined conservatism as ‘It is a resistance to change and an innate tendency of an individual to feel safe and security while adhering to the social norms and traditions along with convention and predefined forms of institutions and behavior. To understand and interpret conservatism, conservatism scale is designed. A conservatism scale is an instrument which is exclusively designed to measure conservatism. It is additionally used to quantify non-political jolts that further sorts out and inspire general states of mind therefore, unequivocally saying to political referents. The motivation behind this apparently heterogeneous scale is to display psychometric properties as for unwavering quality and legitimacy. This displays an associating join these two epistemic inspirations. However, despite of several efforts, various theoretical and empirical attempts have been done to clearly differentiate between psychological and ideological variables of conservatism (Hanszawa, 2008, p. 99).

Furthermore, treating political conservatism as an individual parameter avoids the growing evidence of the situational factor analysis which particularly influence the expression and discretion of conservatism. Conservatism is a notorious contemporary set of political ideas which is diversified among its own versions. Few scholars consider the conservatism political theory as possible political tenets whereas; others may consider it as attitude to be prevailed in the society.  The theory was coined in early nineteenth century and later on by the end of nineteenth century, the proliferation of its meaning grew and widely expanded. When it was originally coined by a Russian thinker, it was considered to be generally employed like liberalism, nationalism and socialism and remained associate with the name of political parties such as ‘Conservation European Political Party’. This equivocally suggests that the word was associated in its meaning to the political parties and particular political attitude (Eidelman, 2010, p. 809).

Moreover, conservative political ideologies in Western culture comprises of several components that are weaved together such as emphasis on personal responsibility, acceptance of hierarchy and concerned preference for the status quo. These ideological components of conservatism merge with the non-ideological components of psychological and though processes mainly which further support the attitudes and behaviors that are concerned with political conservatism.  This help us to understand that how attitudes and behaviors are formulated that are consistent with the conservatism (Eidelman, 2010, p. 810).

There is greater need of understanding traditionalist conservatism. With the greater need of understanding traditionalist conservatism means that there are new conservatives too. The new word not merely supports and indicates generational transition but in fact represent a simple analysis to the history of conservatism political ideology. Focusing on the French revolution, a popular political ideologist Kirk concluded that conservatism in more simplified terms is simply the negation of ideology which predominantly describes politics of prudence. Whereas, according to the perspective of the Kirk it is the liberalism that is the negation of ideology. Considering the fact that liberty is not only a genuine element of good but an inherent ability that is already preprogrammed in the human nature (Bell, 2014, p. 685).

Political Theory of Liberalism

Liberalism is a genre of spectrum that frequently haunts Western imperialism, political thought and practice. For some it is a site of the cutting edge, an object of yearning, even the telos of history. For others it speaks to an unfurling bad dream, meaning either the horrendous rationale of free enterprise or a filthy plummet into good relativism. For others still, maybe the lion’s share, it is a characteristic of inner conflict, the ideological essential for carrying on with a sensibly agreeable life in prosperous popularity based states—the minimum most noticeably bad alternative (Bell, 2014, p. 684).

Liberalism is a political and moral philosophy which is mainly based on few key principles. The term ‘Liberalism’ is itself contested in its meaning and implications which attempt to answer one of the pressing question of the community that how society should be? There are our key principles which attempt to answer the above question. This includes egalitarianism, universalism, individualism and meliorism.  Liberalism is mainly centered on two main principles that is individual and liberty. The popular political theory which is itself composed of many individual theories in defining the political, moral and social structure of society. According to the political theory of liberalism and the followers of liberalism converges on the fact that the highest value social order is mainly focused and revolves around an individual which is center of primary attention. Moreover, with this individualism also ensures on the values of individuality (Henrie, 2008, p. 6).

In accordance with the political scholar, John Locke which clearly states that all individuals are humans and humans have their particular set of rights related to right to live, right to access facilities and right to freedom of speech. According to him, these are the basic moral rights which are above the discretion of state and are free from any political affiliation. A classical liberal will view these rights as morally right and legal. However, since all individuals are interest-centered i.e. act in accordance to their own rights, this approach allows modern liberals to glance over some of the negative impacts of the political theory of liberalism where state officials can’t impinge on the rights of these individuals. Apart from individualism, which is the most integral component of liberalism, the other three principles egalitarianism, universalism and meliorism are also critical factors of success. Egalitarianism according to classical liberals is the provision of equal opportunity. It not refers to equal distribution of wealth but entails equal distribution of political and legal equality. Universalism applies to uniformity among all the people irrespective of the culture to which they belong thus rejecting any biases based on caste, creed or color. Lastly, meliorism in wider context refers to the potential and capacity possessed by an individual in order to become a better representation of social and political attributes of the society (Chau, 2009, p. 5).

Thus, followers of liberalism Keep in mind, in any case, that established liberals contend that any sort of state impedance other than that relating to maintaining the damage standard will hurt the individual – no advantage is conceivable. Such a conviction does not imply that there will be nonstop clash. Traditional liberals trust that people can deliberately meet up and shape serene affiliations. Melleuish, a popular scholar of political science focused on that freedom ought not to be mistaken for rivalry or Social Darwinism, but rather that it includes the flexibility of individuals to collaborate (Bell, 2014, p. 684).

All in all, despite of increasing visibility, there is greater debate and discussion on role of liberalism as intellectual tradition. There are significant efforts being done to construct an authoritative liberal tradition.

Compare and Contrast Political Theory of Conservatism and Liberalism

It is a matter of known fact that all human beings are roughly worthy of a respect which is enshrined and defined in the doctrine of the human rights. Kirk and Hayek significantly made efforts in establishing between chastened liberals and neo conservatives. But according to the observation of the Kirk, American traditionalist liberals have ultimately failed to analyze and infer the partiality i.e. deep rooted in their core principle. Likewise, their principle of individuality is simple which possess no other principle apart from authoritative limit which is eventually an application of their principles to all spheres of human life. But what is appreciable is the fact that for liberalism public sphere is limited. Furthermore, liberalism in all kinds of political theories thus, claiming to be a comprehensive one presenting a meaningful and comprehensive conception of the good (John T. Jost., 2012, p. 4).

Liberalism and Conservatism are two major political ideologies which aim to sets out thus, making an attempt to set out few common queries. Both the theories tend to answer what is human nature? How the economy should be organized? However, there are similarities and differences of these political ideologies. On one hand, classical view f liberalism promotes optimistic view of rationalism in humans whereas conservatism political ideology projects pessimistic view of imperfection in human. Both the theories utilize different rationales and ground to evaluate diverse political situations (Muller, 2006, p. 360).

According to the ideology of conservatism, continuity is the most essential, integral and valuable commodity which particularly stresses strong leadership and management in overseeing changes. This basically reflects their view on close ties with parallel revolution which is not supported by conservative followers. According to this theory, revolt is not appreciable because it involves throwing away the old and replacing it with something new. This is principally unacceptable according to a conservative. Conservative considers society as a complex mechanism which is too complex to predict the success of a new infused system which is recently formulated. Moreover, people in the society are more comfortable in practicing what better works to it rather than investing energies in something that is new and extraordinarily challenging. Whereas, on the other hand libertarian completely reject out the idea of being sticking to old practices and welcomes new ideas, beliefs and rationales thus, promoting revolution(Jost, 2003, p. 340).

The liberal and conservative school of political thought, both has provided liberal and conservative views on the human nature, society, economy and change. Moderates consider neediness to be a type of sadness that in a few circumstances can be evaded so pioneers in the public eye frequently have an obligation to the poor to help them. This is a range where the two belief systems contrast, as liberals offers nothing in the method for welfare. Be that as it may, when considering their level of social obligation in contrast with that of Marxism and Social Reformism they don’t appear to difference that much. Neediness and unemployment is presumably a range where Conservatives and Classical Liberals battle to offer complete clarifications. The clarifications given appear to be very unclear. Likewise neither appears to offer a valid arrangement. Through looking at the two conventions of thought on their methods of insight and view of current issues it’s conceivable to reach a few inferences. It is conceivable to say that the two schools of legislative issues are entirely comparable in spite of essential contrasts at the base of each. They have totally differentiating perspectives of human instinct yet offer comparable assessments. Both conventions demonstrate little duty to social obligation and this is reflected in their fundamental territory in which there is mutual agreement.

Since liberals and moderates corner the political level headed discussion, they focus on their disparities keeping in mind the end goal to keep up gathering union, peculiarity and significance. Notwithstanding, it has been regularly noticed that there’s not that much distinction between them, or possibly that the distinctions are minor contrasted with the likenesses.  The most debilitating and intriguing question of political science is in what ways are liberals and conservatives are similar and likely to complement each other?  The widely accepted proposal of similarity among conservative and liberals is the most evident closeness is that they both have faith in chains of importance as a sorting out rule of society. This is not to say that they have faith in chains of command similarly. They bolster distinctive chains of command and pull back backing from various progressive systems: for instance, preservationists bolster religious power however question union force, while liberals do the inverse. They likewise bolster and pull back backing from various parts of government (e.g. the military vs. welfare state)

Another aspect of similarity among the paradigms and trends of conservatism and liberalism is that they both put stock in unlimited financial development and neo-radicalism. Do they have faith in it, as well as they see no conceivable option? The peculiar conviction that financial development is constantly great corners talk about monetary news in light of the fact that both liberals and traditionalists have complete steady confidence in it. Furthermore, this implies they can’t reprimand neo-progressivism, despite the fact that neo-radicalism is in charge of destroying whole economies, trading off the lives of a huge number of individuals, and the mass hijacking/homicide of commentators in numerous nations Liberals contradict neo-progressive approaches at home, however they wouldn’t fret delivering them on blameless individuals somewhere else(Jost, 2003).

In a nut shell, the words and ideas of Conservatism and Liberalism have changed in significance since the nineteenth century. Present day moderates need less government intercession in their lives, which is the definite inverse of what it intended to be a traditionalist in the nineteenth century. Another expression for conservatism in this century is monarchism, as moderates wanted social strength through monarchical standard. Traditionalists put stock in convention and progressive system to represent over a country. There were three fundamental vital stays of social congruity: Monarchy, Aristocracy and Church. They didn’t trust that all men were made equivalent, and that a few men were truth be told conceived more prominent than others. A country needs to have a wide venture into the lives of its nationals and that every country was committed to expanding the force of the country. On the other hand, liberals took another way to deal with the moderate considered government mediation in its natives’ lives. They trusted that every people had innate rights and each native ought to have the capacity to work their way up in the social class of the country. Their objective was finished financial, individual and political flexibility. Liberals were comprised of basically the white collar class. While the liberals sound like the great folks in the nineteenth century, it is critical to remember that they didn’t have faith in offering energy to ladies, the poor nor the uneducated. Conservatism versus Liberalism was a fight amongst rulers and the white collar class to pick up the force and dominate the society(Hanszawa, 2008, p. 10; Haidt, 2007).


In consistent with the argument and research which clearly shows that symbolic and operational forms of political ideology are more likely to be congruent and relatable to the audience who are involved in politics or informed about being engaged in politics. Researchers conclude that conservatism and liberalism are more likely to be considered as uni-dimensionality with the evaluation of attitude objects that particularly demonstrate higher education and related political expertise. Furthermore, attitudes and behaviors such as social and economic issues are not only stable but also organized, coherent, dimensionally correct and inter-correlated. It is proposed that the nature of both the political ideologies i.e. conservatism and liberalism is characterized by elective affinities. In more simplified terminology it is more related to ideas that are selected and inferred from the text of original doctrine. This provides an additive advantage to gain an affinity of special stratas or as abandoned and demolished(Haidt, 2007, p. 100).

In a nut shell, it is clear that liberalism is a multifaceted ideology which has wide range of implications in the society in comparison to conservatism with restricted and confined implications. Although there are some elements of debate which are frequently argued regarding the aspects of liberalism. Furthermore, situation analysis of various political situations reveal that wherever individuals are taking impact of their freedom government then go for Laissez fire approach which not only actually intervene to uphold the harm principle but also prevent free riders in making decisions and helping individuals to make decisions who are incapable of making themselves. This traditional view of liberalism is more inclined to the neo conservatism (Napier, 2007, p. 1630)



Bell, D., 2014. What Is Liberalism?. Political Theory, 46(6), pp. 682-715.

Chau, R., 2009. Liberalism: A Political Philosophy, Sydney: Cengage Learning.

Eidelman, S. C. S. J. A. J. C., 2010. Low-Effort Thought Promotes Political Conservatism. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 38(6), pp. 808-820.

Haidt, J. J., 2007. When Morality Opposes Justice: Conservatives Have Moral Intuitions that Liberals may not Recognize. Social Justice Research, XX(1), pp. 98-116.

Hanszawa, T., 2008. Conservatism. Government and Politics, II(5), pp. 98-105.

Henrie, M. C., 2008. Understanding Traditionalist Conservatism, New Jersey: Jones and Barlett.

John T. Jost., C. M. F. J. L. N., 2012. Political Ideology: Its Structure, Functions, and Elective Affinities, Pensylvannia: Jones and Barlett Publishers.

Jost, J. T. J. A. W. F. J., 2003. Political Conservatism as Motivated Social Cognition. Psychological Bulletin, 129(3), pp. 339-375.

Muller, W. J., 2006. Comprehending conservatism: A new framework for analysis. Journal of Political Ideologies, XI(3), pp. 359-365.

Napier, J. L. J. T., 2007. Why Are Conservatives Happier Than Liberals?. Psychological Science, X(2), pp. 1630-1638.