Politics in Minutes (2016)

A ruling class, the right to rule

The counter-revolutionary aspect of conservatism was, unsurprisingly, especially prevalent in France, in the chaos following the Revolution. One of the founding fathers of European conservatism, Joseph de Maistre, pointed out what he saw as the disastrous effects of such a rapid and radical change in the political order, and especially the lack of a strong leader to maintain order. He believed that this was due mainly to the removal of the hereditary monarchy, whose authority came from long history of ruling and was endorsed by God.

While not all conservatives, especially today, are so supportive of royalty and their divine right to rule, the notion of a ruling class underlies all conservatism. Humans are not naturally equal, and the social order is based on a division between those who need to be led and those suited to lead. For many conservatives, this means a hereditary, privileged ruling class who are not only best qualified and experienced to rule, but will also protect the legacy of the country for the future.