Politics in Minutes (2016)

Communitarianism

Socialism’s emphasis on collectivity contrasts starkly with classical liberalism’s focus on the individual, encapsulated in Margaret Thatcher’s 1987 statement ‘There is no such thing as society.’ Many on the right-wing, although supporting capitalist principles, are uncomfortable with the loss of community values that neoliberal policies have brought along with them. Communitarianism, although not a political movement as such, has become a principle informing the policies of many centrist governments in recent years. Communitarians believe that as well as the right’s dismissal of collectivity, there has been a failure of the left to recognize traditional culture and community, and that these should be revived by strengthening civil society. Rather than either the individual or the state being responsible for social welfare, it should be communities, using what communitarians describe as ‘social capital’. Described by its advocates as a sort of ‘radical centrism’, communitarianism has its greatest support in countries that have enthusiastically pursued neoliberal policies, such as the USA and Britain.

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