There's nothing conservative about free markets

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Are those in our parliament who claim to be conservative in fact neo-liberal? Liam Carlton-Jones (aged 18) argues against the common belief that free-market ideology is a conservative principle rather it is a form of Utopianism which has failed to conserve anything. 

IT''S TRUE that there aren’t many real conservatives left in the Australian Parliament. In fact, I can’t really think of any. You may wish to count Rent-a-Quote Cory Bernardi or the born-to-rule Eric Abetz as conservatives, I don’t happen to do so. Why? Because conservatives, such as myself, feel betrayed by these cave-dwellers who only become "conservative" when same-sex marriage is mentioned, but are quite happen to abandon conservativism when it comes to pleasing lobby groups who wish for greater neo-liberalism in our economy.

Markets and capitalism are perfectly good things of course, and you couldn’t have a functioning economy without them. But leaving markets to their own devices, believing that they will solve society’s problems, is a dangerous absurdity and certainly not a very conservative way of thinking.

The confusion between neo-liberalism and conservatism is a nexus that has to be broken and it won’t whilst people believe that the likes of Bernardi and Abetz speak for the true conservative tradition.

For people who claim to believe in God, they seem to worship an awful lot at the altar of more worldly idols. Now I’m sure they would agree with me when I say that socialism is an idealistic fantasy, but what they fail to see is that neo-liberalism also attempts to create a utopian society in a completely different way.

The bible of neo-liberalism, Adam Smith’s ''The Wealth of Nations'' attempts to emulate Jesus in feeding the five thousand through divine intervention, by what is known as "The Invisible Hand". 


A nice substitute for God which claims that self-interested buyers and sellers will be able to allocate resources perfectly to people who need them most. The idea that the components of a selfish free-market will magically make life better for all is the very definition of Utopianism.

Yet so called conservatives admire the likes of Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan for their commitment to such an ideology. An ideology that is not only a fantasy, but is dangerous to the institutions that a conservative should hold dear. Most notably its role in the general decay of the most important conservative institution of all, the family.

The married family, headed by authoritative fathers and held-together by selfless mothers, is the absolute pinnacle of moral conservativism. The Liberal Party and another so-called conservative Tony Abbott had no desire to maintain this institution and were quite happy to abandon in the name of the economy. Their 2015 Child-Care package was the epitome of this. The whole idea of this policy is for children to spend as much time separated from their mothers. To be shoved into subsided child-care facilities to be raised by other people, while their mothers go to work at Woolworths or the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

Designed I’m sure to get more women into the work-place. But in reality all it does is get the unemployment figures down on paper and provide extra inputs of labour for big business owners to increase profits. All the while thousands of children are being deprived of the opportunity to be raised, taught and properly loved and nurtured by their parents.

Raising children is the most important job any of us will ever undertake (mothers who stay home to raise children truly, more than anybody, hold up the sky) but yet is being undermined. Yet people like Bernardi are constantly going on about same-sex marriage, which is unlikely to do as much social damage to heterosexual marriage as Margaret Thatcher did during her Prime Ministership, or indeed the policies of his own party.


Being the hypocrites they are however, they will not properly stand up for the importance of heterosexual marriage and are instead lumbering away at the immensely unimportant issue of same-sex marriage. All that does is give the Left excuses to dismiss everything they say as "bigoted" and "homophobic" and doesn’t do anything for the cause of heterosexual marriage.

They should spend their time fighting for the continuation of family-tax benefits to show that they truly care about keeping marriages together and don’t only care about money and the economy (and possibly re-election).

The free-market has no intention of saving our marriages and thrive on their collapse. The small number of homosexuals aren’t out to destroy our marriages. But guess which one so-called conservatives are most wedded too and which one they are most angry about? So it wouldn’t surprise me if they actually hated the idea of the married family. Politicians hate it because of the authority, commitment, restraint, patience and love that it brings to people. And it certainly flies in the face of neo-liberalism and vice-versa.

The conservative politicians in this country are completely wedded to this economic principle. I hope they realise that the collapse of heterosexual marriage and the rise of single or even non-parent households is far more revolutionary than where our submarines are built.  

As a conservative, I have little hope. We really do not have any friends in parliament. And if people constantly believe that Abetz and Bernardi are true representatives of the conservative tradition then we are in bigger trouble than I feared. The Liberal party and its "conservative" members have failed to conserve anything. The free-market won’t help them do this, yet it remains their guiding principle.

We need an acknowledgment that capitalism works, but also a recognition that we can actually put restraints on it for a net-social benefit, rather than a purely economic one. For those who believe in personal responsibility but not individualism. Markets but not totally free-markets. Family over finances. Restraint over desire. God over Reagan. Happiness over pleasure. This is how a conservative mind works. Let’s leave the free-market to the revolutionaries.  

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How NOT to be a "conservative"

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