"Conservatives believe that our identities and values are formed through our relations with other people, and not through our relation with the state. The state is not an end but a means. Civil society is the end, and the state is the means to protect it. The social world emerges through free association, rooted in friendship and community life. And the customs and institutions that we cherish have grown from below, by the ‘invisible hand’ of co-operation. They have rarely been imposed from above by the work of politics, the role of which, for a conservative, is to reconcile our many aims, and not to dictate or control them."
Monday, 6 January 2014
This seems to me to encapsulate the central tenets of conservatism with brilliant concision. It is from Roger Scruton's article in the current Spectator (4.1.14). which can be found in its entirety here.