Quote of the Week: Quintin Hogg, “The Case for Conservatism”

The aim of politics, as of all else, is the good life. But the good life is something which cannot be comprehended in some phrase or formula about any political or social order, and even if it could be so comprehended, it could not be brought about, in the main, by political means. The Conservative contends that the most a politician can do is to ensure that some, and these by no means are the most important, conditions in which the good life can exist are present, and, more importantly still, to prevent fools of knaves from setting up conditions which make an approach to the good life impossible except for solitaries or anchorites. A depressing creed? A negative creed? No! A Holy Gospel! All the great evils of our time have come from men who mocked and exploited human misery by pretending that good government, that is government according to their way of thinking, could offer Utopia.

▪ Quintin Hogg, The Case for Conservatism (Penguin Books, 1947) as cited by R. J. White in The British Political Tradition vol IV “The Conservative Tradition” (Nicholas Kaye, 1950) on page 32.

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