Products – The Centre for Independent Studies

Why I Am Not a Conservative

F.A. Hayek
02 November 1992 | OP41
Why I Am Not a Conservative

Liberals who uphold the idea of a free society in which both economic and civil liberties are respected are often regarded as conservatives. In his essay ‘Why I Am Not a Conservative’, first published in 1960 as a postscript to The Constitution of Liberty, F.A Hayek suggests that the two are not the same. This CIS Occasional Paper reproduces Hayek’s original essay in full. In it Hayek argues that there are some fundamental differences between liberalism and conservatism. Although both take issue with socialist ideology, they differ in their attitudes to a number of questions pertaining to the proper scope of authority. These differences reveal the weaknesses inherent in conservatism which, unlike liberalism, is unable to ‘offer an alternative to the direction in which we are moving’ and is, therefore, destined ‘to be dragged along a path not of its own choosing’.

In Hayek’s view it is important that these differences are understood, for it is mor4 than likely that conservatism will afford a welcoming home for the repentant socialist.

Latest Publications

Reflections on the EU Project and its Flaws: A fatal conceit about markets and the real world
Richard Alston
09 September 2021 | OP185

The European Union shows all the signs of worsening economic, social and political decline — from tepid economic growth and chronically high unemployment to social unrest and rising political extremism. This paper reflects on the idealistic roots of early European integration in the wake of two world wars, before exploring how these worthy intentions have long given way to a…

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The Threat of Identity Politics
Simon Heffer
01 September 2021 | OP184

Global outrage over the killing of George Floyd by a white policeman in America last year has been harnessed by activist groups such as Black Lives Matter to support demands for social and political upheaval that go way beyond making racial equality a reality. This has led to the weaponisation of identity politics across much of the Western world, causing…

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The Psychology of Populism: Tribal Challenges to Liberal Democracy
Joseph P. Forgas
19 August 2021 | OP183

The resurgence of both left-wing and right-wing populism presents a serious challenge for liberal democracies. Whereas liberal democracy is based on the Enlightenment principles of individualism, tolerance and freedom, populism is a fundamentally collectivist, anti-individualist and anti-Enlightenment tribal ideology. This paper goes beyond economic and other explanations for the resurgence of populism to provide a much fuller psychological account —…

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Scaling up success in majority Indigenous schools
Noel Pearson
08 July 2021 | OP182

Addressing the Centre for Independent Studies, Noel Pearson outlines his insights and observations from decades of experience supporting education in remote majority Indigenous communities. He outlines the 6C Education model — Childhood, Class, Club, Culture, Civics, Community — adopted at Good to Great Schools, the organisation he co-Chairs, and the critical role played by teacher-led, direct instruction. Noel argues that…

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Afghanistan on the brink of an abyss
William Maley
01 July 2021 | OP181

Australia’s recent closure of its embassy in Kabul, and the withdrawal of all US forces from Afghanistan after 20 years by 11 September 2021, casts a deep shadow over Afghanistan’s future prospects. In this paper, leading expert on Afghanistan, William Maley, examines the implications of the US withdrawal. He discusses how the ‘peace process’ that was supposed to flow from…

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