Josefin Malmqvist

4 thoughts on “Campaigning for a Conservative Oxford

  1. Just curious: in your view, what does it mean to be ”conservative”?

    I understand what the term ”conservative” means in Physics, but when applied to Politics, I find it confusing.

    Maybe I am a heretic, but I believe the world is far too complicated to be classified in simplistic terms such as ”right-wing” and ”left-wing”, ”conservative” or ”liberal”. Moreover, the world has changed dramatically over the last couple of decades, and even ”capitalism” and ”communism” are now fuzzy terms.

  2. Indeed. I fully agree with you. It is confusing mainly as the concept and it’s meaning has developed or changed over time and also the meaning across boarders.

    To me, it’s also quite confusing as I’m rather a conservative in the Swedish sense, which I’ve progressively come to understand is quite different from the British meaning of the word. Personally, I’m privately conservative and economically liberal to put it simple. That is also basically the standpoint of the current Swedish government. That means that I’m on a lot of issues far more liberal than my friends on this side of the Channel, for example when it comes to gay rights, immigration, defence to mention some. Conservatism is almost easier defining from political standpoints such as focus on the free market, decreased power of unions, emphasis on the family, strong police, defence, tax cutting, decreased state ownership, basically reducign the role of the state that has come to take up far too much space in our modern lives. We should live our lives, make our decisions, and the state should have a small role in the background, not the other way around. This is naturally a very simplified version. Margret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan have ´come to symbolise much of hte conservative movement since their time in office so that’s a good start for understanding the development.

  3. Thanks for the elucidation.

    Just like you pointed out, the same word can have different meanings in different places and different times. For that reason, I despize the words ”liberal” and ”conservative”. Too vague, too fuzzy.

    If I understood it correctly, your definition of ”conservative” is basically the notion that ”less state is a better state” (in a Reagan-like way: ”Government does not solve problems; it subsidizes them”). In other words, pro-libertarian, pro-free trade. I am fond of such principles myself, though I believe that one should keep in mind that free markets are flawed and that some government intervention is needed sometimes (but not ALL the time).

    I could not agree more that ”we should live our lives, make our decisions, and the state should have a small role in the background”, because I believe that humans should be driven by incentives, not subsidies.

    A truly competent, effective centralized government would be simply overloaded with information, and in that case time-efficient decision-making is mathematically impossible. The virtue of free markets is that it self-corrects based on feedback loops (pretty much the same way Nature regulates itself), and decentralized, distributed regulation occurs with no government intervention.

  4. Given that words can be ambiguous, I would like to point out that I used the term ”regulation” from an engineering perspective, not from a legal/political viewpoint.

    By ”regulation”, I mean the phenomenon that leads a system to re-stabilize when perturbed. That could be applied to an airplane re-stabilizing after flying through turbulence, or to a market economy where time-varying supply, prices, interest rates, wages (etc) allow the economy to regain equilibrium on its own, with no government intervention.


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