Is conservatism merely a ruling class ideology?
A ruling class ideology as defined by Karl Marx is “the class which has the means of material production at its disposal, has control at the same time over the means of mental production... the ideas of those who lack the means of mental production are subject to it”, in other words a ruling class is the social class that decides and sets governmental policy. Traditionally conservative supporters have originated from upper and middle class backgrounds and its core themes such as the need to conserve and ownership of private property suggest that is in fact a ruling class ideology. For conservatives a fundamental theme is to conserve or tradition, tradition leaves the ruling class in its superior position. However in the past conservatives have allowed some reform, such as the emancipation acts throughout the 18th and 19th centuries that finally allowed all men; the employer, the employee or the unemployed the right to vote. This puts forward the idea that conservatism is not or was not a ruling class ideology as the newly emancipated included working class men who may favour other political parties in elections, however it may also be said that the passing of these acts may have had populist effects that benefited the conservatives and gained them more support, this is most likely to have been an intended result. A second theme of conservatism is its attraction to private property. Conservatives feel similarly to liberals who believe that property is earned through meritocracy, by hard work a person can achieve greatly. Conservatives feel that private property, particularly a home, offers them security, protection and respect of others property and that it promotes social values.This central theme of conservatism favours the wealthy and thus the ruling class whom can afford private property, however a conservative policy, the Housing Act 1980 allowed poorer people in council owned property the chance to purchase...
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