Free markets cannot be reconciled with traditionby Robin McGhee / February 21, 2013 / Leave a comment
Conservatism in 2013 faces an existential problem: how can it reconcile free markets with traditional values? As the Conservative party shuffles meekly towards electoral demolition, this intellectual imbalance can only become more damaging.
Case in point: a Prospect essay by the usually brilliant conservative philosopher Roger Scruton. In reviewing recent pamphlets on modern conservatism, he inadvertently exposes the failure of intellectual conservatism. It is remarkable to realise that this is notionally the best brain of the old guard examining the leading lights of the young.
One of the pamphlets—it seems over-indulgent to call it a book—is Britannia Unchained, published last year by five prominent Conservative MPs including Kwasi Kwarteng, Priti Patel and Dominic Raab. According to the authors, Britain can only be great if it turns itself into a global economic powerhouse, and this requires radical structural reform of the economy to curtail state intervention and encourage hard work.