Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/34496
Title: The Sceptical Conservative Disposition: Alexis De Tocqueville and Michael Oakeshutt on the Limits of Politics
Authors: NISHANTHA DOMINIC COORAY
Keywords: Oakeshott, Tocqueville, democracy, scepticism, conservative, human nature
Issue Date: 17-Aug-2011
Source: NISHANTHA DOMINIC COORAY (2011-08-17). The Sceptical Conservative Disposition: Alexis De Tocqueville and Michael Oakeshutt on the Limits of Politics. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: Although strains of modern political thought have lost sight of the dignity and especially the fallibility of human beings (focusing instead on social and economic structures), the writings of Alexis de Tocqueville and Michael Oakeshott display a strong focus on human character which leads them to adopt a sceptical conservative disposition towards politics and the state. They are pessimistic because of the pride and sensuality which colour politics, but also seek to protect and give expression to the moral agency or free will that gives humankind its unique dignity. Thus they hold conservative attitudes towards the state, being critical of state actions that impose substantive common goals, and towards politics, being suspicious of attempts to rid politics of its uncertainties by seeking to base political decisions on proof rather than on persuasion. Appreciating this sceptical conservative disposition adds some much-needed balance into the discourse and habits of current politics.
URI: http://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/34496
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