Hegel Summer School 2006


Each of the four sessions here will be devoted to one of the four currents of conservative thinking which have a significant social base.

This idea comes from a research project in which three of our speakers have been involved over the past year: Matthew Sharpe, Geoff Boucher and Andrew Vandenberg. The idea is that behind these four groups is a fifth, the neoconservatives. The neo-cons are a very small group; that is to say, they are a small number of people in very powerful positions in the developed capitalist countries who play the key role in the order of things, despite the fact that they have no real social base.

These people are not patriots, they don’t really believe in God or free trade, but what they are able to do is to articulate, or link up, the interests of the other four groups who do have substantial social bases. These other groups which we will be looking at can be quite hostile to one another, but the neo-cons are able to exercise a kind of hegemony over them, and make themselves predominant power in the world.

They are called postmodern because they are doing exactly what previous generations of conservatives said you should never do, and that is pursue a utopian project. These people, who do not really believe in religion and tradition, are able to consciously manipulate these ideals for the consolidation of existing power relations with themselves at the top.

So the first step for all of us here who are interested in social justice is to understand the distinctive nature of each of the social strata who are part of this dominant formation, and the way in which they too differ from earlier generations of their kind.

Perhaps if we understand better where different types of conservative people are coming from, we can better confront the challenge of breaking this neoconservative hegemony.