Anglo-American conservative ideology after the Cold War
This thesis sets out and examines the distinctive features of Anglo-American conservative ideology after the Cold War, in terms of its continuities with and differences from conservative doctrines of the past. The basic proposition explored is that despite conservatism's victory over socialism it too has been disoriented by the ending of the Cold War, and is possibly even exhausted as an ideology of contemporary relevance. Suggestions that conservatives have been left in a position of ideological hegemony are therefore questioned. A number of reasons are considered for supporting this belief: that the loss of their Cold War opponents has deprived conservatives of any distinctive purpose; that free market agendas are discredited by the critiques of ideologies such as communitarianism and environmentalism; and that traditional beliefs and values have been undermined by developments such as the spread of moral relativism. Moreover, the possibility is considered that the end of the Cold War has exacerbated tensions between varieties of conservatives - for example, free market and 'traditionalist' thinkers - because of the lack of common unifying purposes. The main body of the thesis is presented in two parts. Part I considers how the key traditional elements and themes of conservative ideology relate to the circumstances of the post-Cold War world, whilst Part 11 examines in detail its responses to a number of specific contemporary challenges. The purpose of this division is to facilitate a reflection upon the status of the ideas traditionally central to conservatism, together with an assessment of conservatives' abilities to engage with contemporary ideological developments.