Socialists usually see themselves as progressives, helping to drive society forward, away from the outmoded social forms of the past towards a more rational, scientifically based future.
Conservative Socialism (as conceived by the writer of this post) would be about recognising that socialism can be a force for holding onto what is worth preserving in a world where rampant capitalism is rapidly destroying traditional values and social stuctures and riding roughshod over local economies as well as causing enormous environmental damage.
What makes Conservative Socialism conservative?
- In the field of economics, Conservative Socialism would recognise that competition and market forces are very efficient tools for stimulating innovation and allocating productive resources. While the basic necessities for living would, under Conservative Socialism, be provided through democratic planning, free enterprise would still have an important role to play in the economy.
- Conservative Socialism would be opposed to 'social engineering'. Governments should not attempt to change human nature or to control the way people think.
- Conservative Socialism would not share the thoroughly materialistic outlook of traditional Marxism but would be comfortable with the idea of a religious or spiritual dimension to life.
- While acknowledging the importance of solidarity between working class people internationally, Conservative Socialism would recognise the importance of nations as the most appropriate units for democratic government (based on the sharing of a common language or geographically distinct location).
What makes Conservative Socialism socialist?
- One of the most important tenets of Conservative Socialism would be that everyone has the right to access the means of making a decent living. This does not just mean that everyone has the right to a basic income, but also that everyone has the right to dignified work. The essentials of living (food, shelter, clothing, healthcare, education, security from crime or invasion) should, as far as possible, be produced at the most local level possible, under democratic control, and everyone should have the right not only to be provided with these essentials, but, if they so wish, to take part in the actual process of producing them. There would, in fact, be no unemployment under Conservative Socialism.