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Distinguish Between a Socialist and Conservative View on Human Nature

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Distinguish between a socialist and conservative view on human nature.

While socialists believe that human nature is inherently philanthropic and that humans are shaped by their environments, conservatives believe that human nature is imperfect. The conservative view of human nature stems from the doctrine of origin sin leading to the belief that humankind is in need of a firm and at times authoritarian government to maintain law and order. Edmund Burke stated that the relationship between government and the people should be similar to that between a parent and a child; this is the view of paternalistic conservatives. Furthermore conservatives believe that there is a natural hierarchy into which each individual fits and some kind of class system is inevitable, this hierarchy creates stability. All socialists on the other hand share a positive view of human nature which is why they believe humans do not need an authority to guide them and revolutionary socialists completely reject a state and wish to destroy any class systems.

Socialists believe that humans are social animals and at the core of our nature is the need to cooperate with others. From this socialists believe in collectivisation of the means of production in order to incentivise the workforce who won't feel exploited and to create a more equal society. Conservatives on the other hand believe that human nature is driven by basic appetites such as the desire for physical property. Conservatives believe in a capitalist mode of production as they think it encourages people to work as they are driven by the desire for property. The defense of private property is seen as sacred by conservatives which is why they reject nationalisation. A view held by Neo Liberals is that human nature is individualistic; Thatcher famously stated 'there are individuals and there are families. There is no such thing as society'.



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