Can we please stop pretending there's anything remotely conservative about free markets?

Tuesday, November 15, 2016
David Sergeant


Read the original article at Generation Conservative

For far too long our ideology has been confused with another. Further, adherents to said ideology have infiltrated the Conservative party and hijacked the meaning of conservatism. These people and their ideology is that of classical liberalism, centred firmly on a deregulated and ‘free’ economy.

Real conservatism is about three things: Faith, family and nation and free-markets do more than anything else to undermine all three.

Of course small-businesses and local enterprise should be encouraged, but unrestrained markets and big, globalist multinationals pose the biggest threat to conservatism in its history.  

God – Whether you’re a genuine believer or not, the idea of a power and moral code higher than man is a non-negotiable element of conservatism. For many Brits, faith and spirituality has been replaced with consumerism and material aspiration. Citizens now measure the ‘success’ of their peers, not in their humble happiness or psychological contentment, but by the swell of their pay packet or the pace of their car from naught to sixty.

More people now shop online than go to church on Christmas day, while Easter is less about bloody sacrifice than milky chocolate. So called conservatives scramble to extend Sunday trading hours, just in case that new smartphone or handbag can’t wait until the following morning. Our High Streets and community businesses once offered an outlet beyond the family. Now, Butchers and Bakers, known and respected by all, have been replaced by soulless, generic ‘superstores.’  

Family – While equality of outcome is a dystopian nightmare, there is nothing less conservative than poverty and massive inequality. If just one man is forced to return home from work and tell his wife they are unable to properly feed their family, without the help of a foodbank, our ideology is a failure.

The much misrepresented and distorted Disraeli, was right to insist that inequality is more than capable of destroying conservatism. Today, Britain’s top 1 percent possesses twenty times the wealth of its bottom fifth. Likewise, big corporations skilfully avoid taxation, refusing to contribute to their collective societies, while their CEOS earn a 100x more than their workers.

As well as demanding the entry of more women into the workplace and ravaging the environment that conservatives are supposed to be stewarding, big businesses are increasingly bold in challenging any values that run contrary to the individualist hedonism on which they rely. When elected officials in North Carolina decided to pass HB2, bullying big business were quick to threaten and punish ordinary residents. PayPal and Deutsche Bank scuppered 650 new job opportunities in a swipe of gleeful self-righteousness.

In addition, Facebook has been caught deliberately censoring social conservatives (and ironically, free-marketeers) Ted Cruz and Glenn Beck by excluding them from their ‘trending bar.’ This is fascistic censorship we simply do not see from the state.

Nation – Market globalism and its necessary free-movement has isolated many, undermined national autonomy and blurred cultural belonging. The working underclass, left behind by their nation’s uncompromising shift to a globalised service economy, finally had their voices heard on June 23rd. A day on which the ‘economic experts,’ big-business neoliberal establishment and Goldman Sachs-funded remain campaign were gloriously defeated. While Mrs Thatcher was, in many ways an admirable woman, her destruction of localised industry and its dependent communities was the antithesis of conservatism. 

It’s time for any conservatives still in denial to acknowledge that big-business is no friend of conservative morality. While Theresa May might not have the same economic radicalism in mind as I do, at least she seems to realise that markets and conservatism are not inevitable bedfellows.

For real conservatism to survive, nobody must be left behind and community must come before corporation.

David Sergeant is an Intern at the Bow Group