British Journal of Political Science



Research Article

Analytic Conservatism


GEOFFREY  BRENNAN a1 and ALAN  HAMLIN a2 a
a1 Research School of Social Sciences, Australian National University
a2 Economics, University of Southampton

Abstract

We propose an analytic account of dispositional conservatism that attempts to uncover a foundation of what is often taken to be an anti-foundationalist position. We identify a bias in favour of the status quo as a key component of the conservative disposition and address the question of the justification of such a conservative disposition, and the circumstances in which the widespread adoption of such a disposition might be normatively desirable. Our analysis builds on a structural link between the economist's traditional emphasis on questions of feasibility and the conservative's attachment to the status quo.



Footnotes

a This article has benefited from the comments of a number of seminar audiences, the participants in a colloquium on ‘the status of the status quo’ in Blacksburg, Virginia, three referees, and an Editor of this Journal.