Conservative view of human imperfection


Humans are limited and dependent. People crave safety, familiarity and the security of knowing their designated place in society. Such a view places a premium on social order rather than liberty because order provides humans with much-needed security, predictability and stability. In contrast, liberty raises the unsettling prospect of choice, change and uncertainty.

For this reason, conservatives have frequently endorsed Thomas Hobbes' argument that social order has to come before liberty.


Humans are morally imperfect because they are naturally selfish and greedy. Anti-social or criminal behaviour is due to basic human nature and cannot be attributed to economic or social disadvantage.

A robust law and order system that imposes severe sanctions on such conduct is the only effective deterrent to combat the moral imperfections of humans.


The intellect and reasoning of humans are limited. Humans do not possess the mental faculties to make sense of a complex modern world.

Consequently, conservatives reject overarching theories or ideologies that claim to explain or predict the development of human society.

Instead humans need to draw on tradition, history and practical experience to understand their place in the world.