Paternalistic conservatism

strand of conservatism that stresses the social obligation of those with privilege and wealth to aid the poor and disadvantaged
(Redirected from Right-wing socialism)

Paternalistic conservatism, also known as conservative socialism or right-wing socialism, is a strand in conservatism which reflects the belief that societies exist and develop organically and that members within them have obligations towards each other.


  • It is necessary to explain that when one speaks of the P.S.U.C. ‘line’ one really means the Communist Party ‘line’. The P.S.U.C. (Partit Socialista Unificat de Catalunya) was the Socialist Party of Catalonia; it had been formed at the beginning of the war by the fusion of various Marxist parties, including the Catalan Communist Party, but it was now entirely under Communist control and was affiliated to the Third International. Elsewhere in Spain no formal unification between Socialists and Communists had taken place, but the Communist viewpoint and the Right-wing Socialist viewpoint could everywhere be regarded as identical.
    • George Orwell, Homage to Catalonia, New York: NY, Harvest Book, Harcourt Brace & Company (1980) chapter 5, pp. 58-59, first published in 1938.
  • When [Hitler] talked of National-Socialism what he really meant was military-Socialism, Socialism within a framework of military discipline or, in civilian terms, police-Socialism.
    • Ernst Hanfstaengl, Hitler: The Memoir of a Nazi Insider Who Turned Against the Führer, New York: NY, Arcade Publishing, 2011, pp. 70-71
  • ‘Conservative’ or ‘right-wing socialism’ can be defined as that type in which institutional aggression is employed to maintain the social status quo and the privileges certain people or groups enjoy. The fundamental objective of right-wing socialism is to keep things as they are by preventing the free exercise entrepreneurship and creative human action from disrupting the pre-established framework of social organization.
    • Jesús Huerta de Soto, Socialism, Economic Calculation and Entrepreneurship, Glos, England, UK; Northampton, Massachusetts, US: Edward Elgar Publishing Limited (2010) pp. 79-80.
  • [C]onservative socialism and democratic socialism differ only in the motivations behind them and in the social group each aims to favor.
    • Jesús Huerta de Soto, Socialism, Economic Calculation and Entrepreneurship, Glos, England, UK; Northampton, Massachusetts, US: Edward Elgar Publishing Limited (2010) pp. 79-80.
  • Even in the Social-Democratic Party, petty bourgeois Socialism has its defenders.
    • Friedrich Engels, “Preface to The Housing Question,” Selected Works, Moscow Edn., (1877) Vol. I. p.498.
  • From the moment Mussolini declared himself in favor of the war, Italian Socialists smeared him for his heresy. ... From the beginning, fascism was dubbed as right-wing not because it necessarily was right-wing but because the communist left thought this was the best way to punish apostasy (and, even if it was right-wing in some long forgotten doctrinal sense, fascism was still right-wing socialism).
    • Jonah Goldberg, Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Change, Three Rivers Press (2009) p. 44.
  • Hence the final years of the 18th century saw a last desperate effort by the people to reimpose the older moral economy as against the economy of the free market. In this they received some support from old-fashioned J.P.s, who threatened to prosecute forestallers, tightened controls over markets, or issued proclamations against engrossers who brought up growing corn in the fields. The Speenhamland decision of 1795, to subsidise wages in relation to the price of bread, must be seen as arising out of this background; where the custom of the market-place was in dissolution, paternalists attempted to evoke it in the scale of relief. But the old customary notions died hard. There was a scatter of prosecutions for forestalling between 1795 and 1800; in 1800 a number of private prosecuting societies were formed, which offered rewards for convictions; and an important conviction for forestalling was upheld in the High Courts, to the evident satisfaction of Lord Kenyon. But this was the last attempt to enforce the old paternalist consumer-protection. Thereafter the total break-down of customary controls contributed much to popular bitterness against a Parliament of protectionist landlords and laissez-faire commercial magnates.
    • E. P. Thompson, The Making of the English Working Class (1963), pp. 67-68
  • These early British measures, like Bismarck's, illustrate the affinity between aristocracy and socialism. In 1904 Winston Churchill left the Tory party—the party of the aristocracy—for the Liberal party. As a member of Lloyd George’s cabinet he took a leading role in social reform legislation. The change in party, which proved temporary, required no change of principles—as it would have a half-century earlier, when the Liberal party was the party of free trade abroad and laissez-faire at home. The social legislation he sponsored, while different in scope and kind, was in the tradition of the paternalistic Factory Acts that had been adopted in the nineteenth century largely under the influence of the so-called Tory Radicals—a group drawn in considerable part from the aristocracy and imbued with a sense of obligation to look after the interests of the working classes, and to do so with their consent and backing, not through coercion. It is no exaggeration to say that the shape of Britain today owes more to Tory principles of the nineteenth century than to the ideas of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels.

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