Reviews of the first edition: 'A spirited polemic, which will give a lot of amusement and, perhaps more important, cause a lot of annoyance. It will never be possible to take conservative claims about tradition, moderation, constitutionality or limited government wholly seriously ever again.' Rodney Barker, Tribune 'It offers a powerful critique of the major beliefs of modern Conservatism, and shows how much a rigorous philosopher can contribute to understanding the fashionable but deeply ruinous absurdities of his times.' Bhikhu Parekh, New Statesman 'The whole book must be read. Indeed, only the final page, like a good detective story, brings with it the full philosophical discovery, and one much too rich to be exposed to impatient disclosure.' Michael Foot, the Observer 'The work of a virulent partisan.' Enoch Powell, the Independent This is a new edition of a classic work by one of the world's leading progressive political philosophers. Ted Honderich examines ideology and reality in British and American politics in order to establish the true distinctions of conservatism.
Conservatives often claim to believe in reform, but not change, to rely on instinct rather than abstract theories. So what is the conservative rationale? Does conservatism have a philosophical founding principle that unifies it? Ted Honderich's search for the fundamental principle of conservatism is an enlightening one. He examines influential thinkers in the conservative tradition, from Edmund Burke and Adam Smith to Michael Oakeshott and Robert Nozick. He brings rigorous analytic philosophy to bear on the Republican party in the United States, and the Conservative party and the New Labour party in Britain. This lucid book, written with wit and clarity, is fully revised and updated in order to give a rigorous and complete analysis of conservatism up to the American election of 2004. Honderich's subtle analysis is not without surprises: the book will continue to be of interest to all students of politics, and anyone who wants a broader understanding of what today's politicians owe to the conservative tradition.
Publisher: Pluto Press