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Edmund Burke - History

Edmund Burke - History


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Burke, Edmund

Burke, Edmund (1729-1797) British Statesman and Political Thinker: Edmund Burke was a leading British philosopher and statesman who eventually supported the patriots in their bid for independence. Burke initially advocated parliamentary supremacy over the colonies, but only on terms acceptable to the colonies. Two of his speeches to Parliament later became famous: one on American taxation (1774) and one on conciliation (1775). He suggested a relationship between Britain and her American colonies in which parliamentary sovereignty would be asserted only with the consent of the colonies, and only for purposes which the colonies recognized as being of common interest. After the American victory at Saratoga, however, Burke asserted that the American colonies could not be retained. Burke also wrote books of political and aesthetic philosophy, and was known as an eloquent orator.


Edmund Burke - History

In October 1793, Marie Antoinette, the downfallen Queen of France, was beheaded amid the violent aftermath of the French Revolution. By that time, Irish statesman and orator Edmund Burke (1729-1797) had become an outspoken critic of the Revolutionaries' ongoing reign of terror. Persons of Royal ancestry in France were subject to arbitrary imprisonment and execution, along with anyone accused of aiding or sympathizing with them. In this speech, Burke laments the death of the Queen and the passing of an era.

It is now sixteen or seventeen years since I saw the Queen of France, then the Dauphiness, at Versailles and surely never lighted on this orb, which she hardly seemed to touch, a more delightful vision. I saw her just above the horizon, decorating and cheering the elevated sphere she had just begun to move in, glittering like the morning star full of life and splendor and joy.

Oh, what a revolution! and what a heart must I have, to contemplate without emotion that elevation and that fall! Little did I dream, when she added titles of veneration to those of enthusiastic, distant, respectful love, that she should ever be obliged to carry the sharp antidote against disgrace concealed in that bosom little did I dream that I should have lived to see such disasters fallen upon her, in a nation of gallant men, in a nation of men of honor, and of cavaliers! I thought ten thousand swords must have leaped from their scabbards, to avenge even a look that threatened her with insult.

But the age of chivalry is gone that of sophisters, economists, and calculators has succeeded, and the glory of Europe is extinguished forever. Never, never more, shall we behold that generous loyalty to rank and sex, that proud submission, that dignified obedience, that subordination of the heart, which kept alive, even in servitude itself, the spirit of an exalted freedom! The unbought grace of life, the cheap defense of nations, the nurse of manly sentiment and heroic enterprise is gone. It is gone, that sensibility of principle, that chastity of honor, which felt a stain like a wound, which inspired courage whilst it mitigated ferocity, which ennobled whatever it touched, and under which vice itself lost half its evil, by losing all its grossness.

Edmund Burke - 1793

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Contents

Some writers such as Samuel P. Huntington see conservatism as situational. Under this definition, conservatives are seen as defending the established institutions of their time. [10] According to Quintin Hogg, the chairman of the British Conservative Party in 1959: "Conservatism is not so much a philosophy as an attitude, a constant force, performing a timeless function in the development of a free society, and corresponding to a deep and permanent requirement of human nature itself". [11] Despite the lack of a universal definition, certain themes can be recognised as common across conservative thought.

Tradition Edit

According to Michael Oakeshott, "To be conservative . is to prefer the familiar to the unknown, to prefer the tried to the untried, fact to mystery, the actual to the possible, the limited to the unbounded, the near to the distant, the sufficient to the superabundant, the convenient to the perfect, present laughter to utopian bliss." [12] Such traditionalism may be a reflection of trust in time-tested methods of social organisation, giving 'votes to the dead'. [13] Traditions may also be steeped in a sense of identity. [13]

Hierarchy Edit

In contrast to the tradition-based definition of conservatism, some political theorists such as Corey Robin define conservatism primarily in terms of a general defense of social and economic inequality. [14] From this perspective, conservatism is less an attempt to uphold traditional institutions and more "a meditation on—and theoretical rendition of—the felt experience of having power, seeing it threatened, and trying to win it back". [15] Conversely, some conservatives may argue that they are seeking less to protect their own power than they are seeking to protect "inalienable rights" and promote norms and rules that they believe should stand timeless and eternal, applying to each citizen. [16]

Realism Edit

Conservatism has been called a "philosophy of human imperfection" by Noël O'Sullivan, reflecting among its adherents a negative view of human nature and pessimism of the potential to improve it through 'utopian' schemes. [17] The "intellectual godfather of the realist right", Thomas Hobbes, argued that the state of nature for humans was "poor, nasty, brutish, and short", requiring centralised authority. [18] [19]

Liberal conservatism Edit

Liberal conservatism incorporates the classical liberal view of minimal government intervention in the economy. Individuals should be free to participate in the market and generate wealth without government interference. [20] However, individuals cannot be thoroughly depended on to act responsibly in other spheres of life, therefore liberal conservatives believe that a strong state is necessary to ensure law and order and social institutions are needed to nurture a sense of duty and responsibility to the nation. [20] Liberal conservatism is a variant of conservatism that is strongly influenced by liberal stances. [21]

As these latter two terms have had different meanings over time and across countries, liberal conservatism also has a wide variety of meanings. Historically, the term often referred to the combination of economic liberalism, which champions laissez-faire markets, with the classical conservatism concern for established tradition, respect for authority and religious values. It contrasted itself with classical liberalism, which supported freedom for the individual in both the economic and social spheres.

Over time, the general conservative ideology in many countries adopted fiscally conservative arguments and the term liberal conservatism was replaced with conservatism. This is also the case in countries where liberal economic ideas have been the tradition such as the United States and are thus considered conservative. In other countries where liberal conservative movements have entered the political mainstream, such as Italy and Spain, the terms liberal and conservative may be synonymous. The liberal conservative tradition in the United States combines the economic individualism of the classical liberals with a Burkean form of conservatism (which has also become part of the American conservative tradition, such as in the writings of Russell Kirk).

A secondary meaning for the term liberal conservatism that has developed in Europe is a combination of more modern conservative (less traditionalist) views with those of social liberalism. This has developed as an opposition to the more collectivist views of socialism. Often this involves stressing conservative views of free market economics and belief in individual responsibility, with communitarian views on defence of civil rights, environmentalism and support for a limited welfare state. In continental Europe, this is sometimes also translated into English as social conservatism.

Libertarian conservatism Edit

Libertarian conservatism describes certain political ideologies most prominently within the United States which combine libertarian economic issues with aspects of conservatism. Its four main branches are constitutionalism, paleolibertarianism, small government conservatism and Christian libertarianism. They generally differ from paleoconservatives, in that they favor more personal and economic freedom.

In contrast to paleoconservatives, libertarian conservatives support strict laissez-faire policies such as free trade, opposition to any national bank and opposition to business regulations. They are vehemently opposed to environmental regulations, corporate welfare, subsidies and other areas of economic intervention.

Many conservatives, especially in the United States, believe that the government should not play a major role in regulating business and managing the economy. They typically oppose efforts to charge high tax rates and to redistribute income to assist the poor. Such efforts, they argue, only serve to exacerbate the scourge of unemployment and poverty by lessening the ability for businesses to hire employees due to higher tax impositions.

Fiscal conservatism Edit

Fiscal conservatism is the economic philosophy of prudence in government spending and debt. [24] In his Reflections on the Revolution in France, Edmund Burke argued that a government does not have the right to run up large debts and then throw the burden on the taxpayer:

[I]t is to the property of the citizen, and not to the demands of the creditor of the state, that the first and original faith of civil society is pledged. The claim of the citizen is prior in time, paramount in title, superior in equity. The fortunes of individuals, whether possessed by acquisition or by descent or in virtue of a participation in the goods of some community, were no part of the creditor's security, expressed or implied. [T]he public, whether represented by a monarch or by a senate, can pledge nothing but the public estate and it can have no public estate except in what it derives from a just and proportioned imposition upon the citizens at large.

National conservatism Edit

National conservatism is a political term used primarily in Europe to describe a variant of conservatism which concentrates more on national interests than standard conservatism as well as upholding cultural and ethnic identity, [25] while not being outspokenly nationalist or supporting a far-right approach. [26] [27] In Europe, national conservatives are usually eurosceptics. [28] [29]

National conservatism is heavily oriented towards the traditional family and social stability as well as in favour of limiting immigration. As such, national conservatives can be distinguished from economic conservatives, for whom free market economic policies, deregulation and fiscal conservatism are the main priorities. Some commentators have identified a growing gap between national and economic conservatism: "[M]ost parties of the Right [today] are run by economic conservatives who, in varying degrees, have marginalized social, cultural, and national conservatives". [30] National conservatism is also related to traditionalist conservatism.

Traditionalist conservatism Edit

Traditionalist conservatism is a political philosophy emphasizing the need for the principles of natural law and transcendent moral order, tradition, hierarchy and organic unity, agrarianism, classicism and high culture as well as the intersecting spheres of loyalty. [31] Some traditionalists have embraced the labels "reactionary" and "counterrevolutionary", defying the stigma that has attached to these terms since the Enlightenment. Having a hierarchical view of society, many traditionalist conservatives, including a few [ who? ] Americans, defend the monarchical political structure as the most natural and beneficial social arrangement.

Cultural conservatism Edit

Cultural conservatives support the preservation of the heritage of one nation, or of a shared culture that is not defined by national boundaries. [32] The shared culture may be as divergent as Western culture or Chinese culture. In the United States, the term "cultural conservative" may imply a conservative position in the culture war. Cultural conservatives hold fast to traditional ways of thinking even in the face of monumental change. They believe strongly in traditional values and traditional politics and often have an urgent sense of nationalism.

Social conservatism Edit

Social conservatism is distinct from cultural conservatism, although there are some overlaps. Social conservatives may believe that society is built upon a fragile network of relationships which need to be upheld through duty, traditional values and established institutions [33] and that the government has a role in encouraging or enforcing traditional values or behaviours. A social conservative wants to preserve traditional morality and social mores, often by opposing what they consider radical policies or social engineering. Social change is generally regarded as suspect.

Social conservatives today generally favour the anti-abortion position in the abortion controversy and oppose human embryonic stem cell research (particularly if publicly funded) oppose both eugenics and human enhancement (transhumanism) while supporting bioconservatism [34] support a traditional definition of marriage as being one man and one woman view the nuclear family model as society's foundational unit oppose expansion of civil marriage and child adoption to couples in same-sex relationships promote public morality and traditional family values oppose atheism, especially militant atheism, secularism and the separation of church and state [35] [36] [37] support the prohibition of drugs, prostitution and euthanasia and support the censorship of pornography and what they consider to be obscenity or indecency.

Religious conservatism Edit

Religious conservatism principally applies the teachings of particular religions to politics: sometimes by merely proclaiming the value of those teachings at other times, by having those teachings influence laws. [38]

In most democracies, political conservatism seeks to uphold traditional family structures and social values. Religious conservatives typically oppose abortion, LGBT behavior (or, in certain cases, identity), drug use, [39] and sexual activity outside of marriage. In some cases, conservative values are grounded in religious beliefs, and conservatives seek to increase the role of religion in public life. [40]

Paternalistic conservatism Edit

Paternalistic conservatism is a strand in conservatism which reflects the belief that societies exist and develop organically and that members within them have obligations towards each other. [41] There is particular emphasis on the paternalistic obligation of those who are privileged and wealthy to the poorer parts of society. Since it is consistent with principles such as organicism, hierarchy and duty, it can be seen as an outgrowth of traditional conservatism. Paternal conservatives support neither the individual nor the state in principle, but are instead prepared to support either or recommend a balance between the two depending on what is most practical. [42] Paternalistic conservatives historically favor a more aristocratic view (as opposed to the more monarchist traditionalist conservatism) and are ideologically related to High Tories. [ citation needed ]

In more contemporary times, its proponents stress the importance of a social safety net to deal with poverty, support for limited redistribution of wealth along with government regulation of markets in the interests of both consumers and producers. [43] Paternalistic conservatism first arose as a distinct ideology in the United Kingdom under Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli's "One Nation" Toryism. [43] [44] There have been a variety of one nation conservative governments. In the United Kingdom, the Prime Ministers Disraeli, Stanley Baldwin, Neville Chamberlain, Winston Churchill, Harold Macmillan [45] and Boris Johnson were or are one nation conservatives.

In Germany, during the 19th-century German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck adopted policies of state-organized compulsory insurance for workers against sickness, accident, incapacity and old age. Chancellor Leo von Caprivi promoted a conservative agenda called the "New Course". [46]

Progressive conservatism Edit

In the United States, Theodore Roosevelt has been the main figure identified with progressive conservatism as a political tradition. Roosevelt stated that he had "always believed that wise progressivism and wise conservatism go hand in hand". [47] The Republican administration of President William Howard Taft was a progressive conservative and he described himself as "a believer in progressive conservatism" [47] and President Dwight D. Eisenhower declared himself an advocate of "progressive conservatism". [48]

In Canada, a variety of conservative governments have been part of the Red tory tradition, with Canada's former major conservative party being named the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada from 1942 to 2003. [49] In Canada, the Prime Ministers Arthur Meighen, R. B. Bennett, John Diefenbaker, Joe Clark, Brian Mulroney, and Kim Campbell led Red tory federal governments. [49]

Authoritarian conservatism Edit

Authoritarian conservatism or reactionary conservatism [50] [51] [52] refers to autocratic regimes that center their ideology around conservative nationalism, rather than ethnic nationalism, though certain racial components such as antisemitism may exist. [53] Authoritarian conservative movements show strong devotion towards religion, tradition and culture while also expressing fervent nationalism akin to other far-right nationalist movements. Examples of authoritarian conservative leaders include António de Oliveira Salazar [54] and Engelbert Dollfuss. [55] Authoritarian conservative movements were prominent in the same era as fascism, with which it sometimes clashed. Although both ideologies shared core values such as nationalism and had common enemies such as communism and materialism, there was nonetheless a contrast between the traditionalist nature of authoritarian conservatism and the revolutionary, palingenetic and populist nature of fascism—thus it was common for authoritarian conservative regimes to suppress rising fascist and National Socialist movements. [56] The hostility between the two ideologies is highlighted by the struggle for power for the National Socialists in Austria, which was marked by the assassination of Engelbert Dollfuss.

Sociologist Seymour Martin Lipset has examined the class basis of right-wing extremist politics in the 1920–1960 era. He reports:

Conservative or rightist extremist movements have arisen at different periods in modern history, ranging from the Horthyites in Hungary, the Christian Social Party of Dollfuss in Austria, Der Stahlhelm and other nationalists in pre-Hitler Germany, and Salazar in Portugal, to the pre-1966 Gaullist movements and the monarchists in contemporary France and Italy. The right extremists are conservative, not revolutionary. They seek to change political institutions in order to preserve or restore cultural and economic ones, while extremists of the centre and left seek to use political means for cultural and social revolution. The ideal of the right extremist is not a totalitarian ruler, but a monarch, or a traditionalist who acts like one. Many such movements in Spain, Austria, Hungary, Germany, and Italy-have been explicitly monarchist. The supporters of these movements differ from those of the centrists, tending to be wealthier, and more religious, which is more important in terms of a potential for mass support. [57]

History of conservative thought Edit

In Great Britain, the Tory movement during the Restoration period (1660–1688) was a precursor to conservatism. Toryism supported a hierarchical society with a monarch who ruled by divine right. However, Tories differ from conservatives in that they opposed the idea that sovereignty derived from the people and rejected the authority of parliament and freedom of religion. Robert Filmer's Patriarcha: or the Natural Power of Kings (published posthumously in 1680, but written before the English Civil War of 1642–1651) became accepted as the statement of their doctrine. However, the Glorious Revolution of 1688 destroyed this principle to some degree by establishing a constitutional government in England, leading to the hegemony of the Tory-opposed Whig ideology. Faced with defeat, the Tories reformed their movement. They adopted more conservative positions, such as holding that sovereignty was vested in the three estates of Crown, Lords, and Commons [58] rather than solely in the Crown. Richard Hooker (1554–1600), Marquess of Halifax (1633–1695) and David Hume (1711-1776) were proto-conservatives of the period. Halifax promoted pragmatism in government whilst Hume argued against political rationalism and utopianism. [59] [60]

Edmund Burke (1729–1797) has been widely regarded as the philosophical founder of modern conservatism. [61] [62] Burke served as the private secretary to the Marquis of Rockingham and as official pamphleteer to the Rockingham branch of the Whig party. [63] Together with the Tories, they were the conservatives in the late 18th century United Kingdom. [64] Burke's views were a mixture of conservatism and republicanism. He supported the American Revolution of 1775–1783 but abhorred the violence of the French Revolution (1789–1799). He accepted the conservative ideals of private property and the economics of Adam Smith (1723–1790), but thought that economics should remain subordinate to the conservative social ethic, that capitalism should be subordinate to the medieval social tradition and that the business class should be subordinate to aristocracy. [ citation needed ] He insisted on standards of honor derived from the medieval aristocratic tradition and saw the aristocracy as the nation's natural leaders. [65] That meant limits on the powers of the Crown, since he found the institutions of Parliament to be better informed than commissions appointed by the executive. He favored an established church, but allowed for a degree of religious toleration. [66] Burke ultimately justified the social order on the basis of tradition: tradition represented the wisdom of the species and he valued community and social harmony over social reforms. [67]

Another form of conservatism developed in France in parallel to conservatism in Britain. It was influenced by Counter-Enlightenment works by men such as Joseph de Maistre (1753-1821) and Louis de Bonald (1754-1840). Many continental conservatives do not support separation of church and state, with most supporting state recognition of and cooperation with the Catholic Church, such as had existed in France before the Revolution. Conservatives were also early to embrace nationalism, which was previously associated with liberalism and the Revolution in France. [68] Another early French conservative, François-René de Chateaubriand (1768-1848), espoused a romantic opposition to modernity, contrasting its emptiness with the 'full heart' of traditional faith and loyalty. [69] Elsewhere on the continent, German thinkers Justus Möser (1720-1794) and Friedrich von Gentz (1764-1832) criticized the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen that came of the Revolution. [70] Opposition was also expressed by August Wilhelm Rehberg (1757-1836), Adam Müller (1779-1829) and Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1771-1830), the latter inspiring both left and right-wing followers. [71]

Both Burke and Maistre were critical of pure democracy in general, though their reasons differed. [72] Maistre was pessimistic about humans being able to follow rules, while Burke was skeptical about humans' innate ability to make rules. [73] For Maistre, rules had a divine origin, while Burke believed they arose from custom. [74] The lack of custom for Burke, and the lack of divine guidance for Maistre, meant that people would act in terrible ways. [75] Both also believed that liberty of the wrong kindled to bewilderment and political breakdown. [76] Their ideas would together flow into a stream of anti-rationalist conservatism, but would still stay separate. [77] Whereas Burke was more open to argumentation and disagreement, Maistre wanted authority and obedience, leading to a more illiberal strain of thought. [78]

History of conservative parties and movements Edit

Conservative political parties vary widely from country to country in the goals they wish to achieve. Both conservative and liberal parties tend to favor private ownership of property, in opposition to communist, socialist and green parties, which favor communal ownership or laws requiring social responsibility on the part of property owners. Where conservatives and liberals differ is primarily on social issues. Conservatives tend to reject behavior that does not conform to some social norm. Modern conservative parties often define themselves by their opposition to liberal or labor parties. The United States usage of the term "conservative" is unique to that country. [79]

In Italy, which was united by liberals and radicals (Risorgimento), liberals, not conservatives, emerged as the party of the right. [80] In the Netherlands, conservatives merged into a new Christian democratic party in 1980. [81] In Austria, Germany, Portugal and Spain, conservatism was transformed into and incorporated into fascism or the far-right. [82] In 1940, all Japanese parties were merged into a single fascist party. Following the war, Japanese conservatives briefly returned to politics, but were largely purged from public office. [83]

Conservative elites have long dominated Latin American nations. Mostly, this has been achieved through control of and support for civil institutions, the church and the armed forces, rather than through party politics. Typically, the church was exempt from taxes and its employees immune from civil prosecution. Where national conservative parties were weak or non-existent, conservatives were more likely to rely on military dictatorship as a preferred form of government. However, in some nations where the elites were able to mobilize popular support for conservative parties, longer periods of political stability were achieved. Chile, Colombia and Venezuela are examples of nations that developed strong conservative parties. Argentina, Brazil, El Salvador and Peru are examples of nations where this did not occur. [84] The Conservative Party of Venezuela disappeared following the Federal Wars of 1858–1863. [85] Chile's conservative party, the National Party, disbanded in 1973 following a military coup and did not re-emerge as a political force following the subsequent return to democracy. [86] Louis Hartz explained conservatism in Quebec and Latin America as a result of their settlement as feudal societies. [87] The American conservative writer Russell Kirk provided the opinion that conservatism had been brought to the United States and interpreted the American Revolution as a "conservative revolution". [88]

Historic conservatism in different countries Edit

Although political conservatism developed in most countries, most countries did not have conservative parties. Many conservatives parties disappeared as the reasons for there existence disappeared. Below are listed the historic conservative parties that survive today.

Belgium Edit

Having its roots in the conservative Catholic Party, the Christian People's Party retained a conservative edge through the twentieth century, supporting the king in the Royal Question, supporting nuclear family as the cornerstone of society, defending Christian education, and opposing euthanasia. The Christian People's Party dominated politics in post-war Belgium. In 1999, the party's support collapsed, and it became the country's fifth-largest party. [89] [90] [91] Currently, the N-VA (nieuw-vlaamse alliantie/New Flemish Alliance) is the largest party in Belgium. [92]

Canada Edit

Canada's conservatives had their roots in the Tory loyalists who left America after the American Revolution. They developed in the socio-economic and political cleavages that existed during the first three decades of the 19th century and had the support of the business, professional and established Church (Anglican) elites in Ontario and to a lesser extent in Quebec. Holding a monopoly over administrative and judicial offices, they were called the "Family Compact" in Ontario and the "Chateau Clique" in Quebec. John A. Macdonald's successful leadership of the movement to confederate the provinces and his subsequent tenure as prime minister for most of the late 19th century rested on his ability to bring together the English-speaking Protestant oligarchy and the ultramontane Catholic hierarchy of Quebec and to keep them united in a conservative coalition. [93]

The conservatives combined pro-market liberalism and Toryism. They generally supported an activist government and state intervention in the marketplace and their policies were marked by noblesse oblige, a paternalistic responsibility of the elites for the less well-off. [94] From 1942, the party was known as the Progressive Conservatives until 2003, when the national party merged with the Canadian Alliance to form the Conservative Party of Canada. [95]

The conservative and autonomist Union Nationale, led by Maurice Duplessis, governed the province of Quebec in periods from 1936 to 1960 and in a close alliance with the Catholic Church, small rural elites, farmers and business elites. This period, known by liberals as the Great Darkness, ended with the Quiet Revolution and the party went into terminal decline. [96] By the end of the 1960s, the political debate in Quebec centered around the question of independence, opposing the social democratic and sovereignist Parti Québécois and the centrist and federalist Quebec Liberal Party, therefore marginalizing the conservative movement. Most French Canadian conservatives rallied either the Quebec Liberal Party or the Parti Québécois, while some of them still tried to offer an autonomist third-way with what was left of the Union Nationale or the more populists Ralliement créditiste du Québec and Parti national populaire, but by the 1981 provincial election politically organized conservatism had been obliterated in Quebec. It slowly started to revive at the 1994 provincial election with the Action démocratique du Québec, who served as Official opposition in the National Assembly from 2007 to 2008, before its merger with François Legault's Coalition Avenir Québec in 2012, that took power in 2018.

The modern Conservative Party of Canada has rebranded conservatism and under the leadership of Stephen Harper, the Conservative Party added more conservative policies.

Colombia Edit

The Colombian Conservative Party, founded in 1849, traces its origins to opponents of General Francisco de Paula Santander's 1833–1837 administration. While the term "liberal" had been used to describe all political forces in Colombia, the conservatives began describing themselves as "conservative liberals" and their opponents as "red liberals". From the 1860s until the present, the party has supported strong central government supported the Catholic Church, especially its role as protector of the sanctity of the family and opposed separation of church and state. Its policies include the legal equality of all men, the citizen's right to own property and opposition to dictatorship. It has usually been Colombia's second largest party, with the Colombian Liberal Party being the largest. [97]

Denmark Edit

Founded in 1915, the Conservative People's Party of Denmark. was the successor of Højre (literally "Right"). The conservative party led the government coalition from 1982 to 1993. The party was a junior partner in coalition with the Liberals from 2001 to 2011. [98] The party is preceded by 11 years by the Young Conservatives (KU), today the youth movement of the party. The party suffered a major defeat in the parliamentary elections of September 2011 in which the party lost more than half of its seat and also lost governmental power. A liberal cultural policy dominated during the post-war period. However, by the 1990s, disagreements regarding immigrants from entirely different cultures ignited a conservative backlash. [99]

Finland Edit

The conservative party in Finland is the National Coalition Party (in Finnish Kansallinen Kokoomus, Kok). The party was founded in 1918 when several monarchist parties united. Although in the past the party was right-wing, today it is a moderate liberal conservative party. While the party advocates economic liberalism, it is committed to the social market economy. [100]

France Edit

Conservatism in France focused on the rejection of the secularism of the French Revolution, support for the role of the Catholic Church and the restoration of the monarchy. [101] The monarchist cause was on the verge of victory in the 1870s, but then collapsed because the proposed king refused to fly the tri-colored flag. [102] Religious tensions heightened in the 1890–1910 era, but moderated after the spirit of unity in fighting the First World War. [103] An extreme form of conservatism characterized the Vichy regime of 1940–1944 with heightened antisemitism, opposition to individualism, emphasis on family life and national direction of the economy. [104]

Following the Second World War, conservatives in France supported Gaullist groups and have been nationalistic and emphasized tradition, order and the regeneration of France. [105] Gaullists held divergent views on social issues. The number of conservative groups, their lack of stability and their tendency to be identified with local issues defy simple categorization. Conservatism has been the major political force in France since the Second World War. [106] Unusually, post-war French conservatism was formed around the personality of a leader, Charles de Gaulle and did not draw on traditional French conservatism, but on the Bonapartism tradition. [107] Gaullism in France continues under The Republicans (formerly Union for a Popular Movement), which was previously led by Nicolas Sarkozy, a conservative figure in France. [108] The word "conservative" itself is a term of abuse in France. [109]

Greece Edit

The main inter-war conservative party was called the People's Party (PP), which supported constitutional monarchy and opposed the republican Liberal Party. Both it and the Liberal party were suppressed by the authoritarian, arch-conservative and royalist 4th of August Regime of Ioannis Metaxas in 1936–1941. The PP was able to re-group after the Second World War as part of a United Nationalist Front which achieved power campaigning on a simple anticommunist, ultranationalist platform during the Greek Civil War (1946–1949). However, the vote received by the PP declined during the so-called "Centrist Interlude" in 1950–1952. In 1952, Marshal Alexandros Papagos created the Greek Rally as an umbrella for the right-wing forces. The Greek Rally came to power in 1952 and remained the leading party in Greece until 1963—after Papagos' death in 1955 reformed as the National Radical Union under Konstantinos Karamanlis. Right-wing governments backed by the palace and the army overthrew the Centre Union government in 1965 and governed the country until the establishment of the far-right Greek junta (1967–1974). After the regime's collapse in August 1974, Karamanlis returned from exile to lead the government and founded the New Democracy party. The new conservative party had four objectives: to confront Turkish expansionism in Cyprus, to reestablish and solidify democratic rule, to give the country a strong government and to make a powerful moderate party a force in Greek politics. [110]

The Independent Greeks, a newly formed political party in Greece, has also supported conservatism, particularly national and religious conservatism. The Founding Declaration of the Independent Greeks strongly emphasises in the preservation of the Greek state and its sovereignty, the Greek people and the Greek Orthodox Church. [111]

Iceland Edit

Founded in 1924 as the Conservative Party, Iceland's Independence Party adopted its current name in 1929 after the merger with the Liberal Party. From the beginning, they have been the largest vote-winning party, averaging around 40%. They combined liberalism and conservatism, supported nationalization of infrastructure and opposed class conflict. While mostly in opposition during the 1930s, they embraced economic liberalism, but accepted the welfare state after the war and participated in governments supportive of state intervention and protectionism. Unlike other Scandanivian conservative (and liberal) parties, it has always had a large working-class following. [112] After the financial crisis in 2008, the party has sunk to a lower support level around 20–25%.

Luxembourg Edit

Luxembourg's major conservative party, the Christian Social People's Party (CSV or PCS), was formed as the Party of the Right in 1914 and adopted its present name in 1945. It was consistently the largest political party in Luxembourg, and dominated politics throughout the 20th century. [113]

Norway Edit

The Conservative Party of Norway (Norwegian: Høyre, literally "right") was formed by the old upper class of state officials and wealthy merchants to fight the populist democracy of the Liberal Party, but lost power in 1884, when parliamentarian government was first practised. It formed its first government under parliamentarism in 1889 and continued to alternate in power with the Liberals until the 1930s, when Labour became the dominant political party. It has elements both of paternalism, stressing the responsibilities of the state, and of economic liberalism. It first returned to power in the 1960s. [114] During Kåre Willoch's premiership in the 1980s, much emphasis was laid on liberalizing the credit and housing market, and abolishing the NRK TV and radio monopoly, while supporting law and order in criminal justice and traditional norms in education [115]

Sweden Edit

Sweden's conservative party, the Moderate Party, was formed in 1904, two years after the founding of the Liberal Party. [116] The party emphasizes tax reductions, deregulation of private enterprise and privatization of schools, hospitals, and kindergartens. [117]

Switzerland Edit

There are a number of conservative parties in Switzerland's parliament, the Federal Assembly. These include the largest, the Swiss People's Party (SVP), [118] the Christian Democratic People's Party (CVP) [119] and the Conservative Democratic Party of Switzerland (BDP), [120] which is a splinter of the SVP created in the aftermath to the election of Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf as Federal Council. [120] The right-wing parties have a majority in the Federal Assembly.

The Swiss People's Party (SVP or UDC) was formed from the 1971 merger of the Party of Farmers, Traders and Citizens, formed in 1917 and the smaller Swiss Democratic Party, formed in 1942. The SVP emphasized agricultural policy and was strong among farmers in German-speaking Protestant areas. As Switzerland considered closer relations with the European Union in the 1990s, the SVP adopted a more militant protectionist and isolationist stance. This stance has allowed it to expand into German-speaking Catholic mountainous areas. [121] The Anti-Defamation League, a non-Swiss lobby group based in the United States has accused them of manipulating issues such as immigration, Swiss neutrality and welfare benefits, awakening antisemitism and racism. [122] The Council of Europe has called the SVP "extreme right", although some scholars dispute this classification. For instance, Hans-Georg Betz describes it as "populist radical right". [123] The SVP is the largest party since 2003.

United Kingdom Edit

According to historian James Sack, English conservatives celebrate Edmund Burke who was Irish, as their intellectual father. [124] Burke was affiliated with the Whig Party which eventually became the Liberal Party, but the modern Conservative Party is generally thought to derive from the Tory party and the MPs of the modern conservative party are still frequently referred to as Tories.

Shortly after Burke's death in 1797, conservatism revived as a mainstream political force as the Whigs suffered a series of internal divisions. This new generation of conservatives derived their politics not from Burke, but from his predecessor, the Viscount Bolingbroke (1678–1751), who was a Jacobite and traditional Tory, lacking Burke's sympathies for Whiggish policies such as Catholic emancipation and American independence (famously attacked by Samuel Johnson in "Taxation No Tyranny"). In the first half of the 19th century, many newspapers, magazines, and journals promoted loyalist or right-wing attitudes in religion, politics and international affairs. Burke was seldom mentioned, but William Pitt the Younger (1759–1806) became a conspicuous hero. The most prominent journals included The Quarterly Review, founded in 1809 as a counterweight to the Whigs' Edinburgh Review and the even more conservative Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine. Sack finds that the Quarterly Review promoted a balanced Canningite toryism as it was neutral on Catholic emancipation and only mildly critical of Nonconformist Dissent it opposed slavery and supported the current poor laws and it was "aggressively imperialist". The high-church clergy of the Church of England read the Orthodox Churchman's Magazine which was equally hostile to Jewish, Catholic, Jacobin, Methodist and Unitarian spokesmen. Anchoring the ultra Tories, Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine stood firmly against Catholic emancipation and favoured slavery, cheap money, mercantilism, the Navigation Acts and the Holy Alliance. [125]

Conservatism evolved after 1820, embracing free trade in 1846 and a commitment to democracy, especially under Disraeli. The effect was to significantly strengthen conservatism as a grassroots political force. Conservatism no longer was the philosophical defense of the landed aristocracy, but had been refreshed into redefining its commitment to the ideals of order, both secular and religious, expanding imperialism, strengthened monarchy and a more generous vision of the welfare state as opposed to the punitive vision of the Whigs and liberals. [126] As early as 1835, Disraeli attacked the Whigs and utilitarians as slavishly devoted to an industrial oligarchy, while he described his fellow Tories as the only "really democratic party of England" and devoted to the interests of the whole people. [127] Nevertheless, inside the party there was a tension between the growing numbers of wealthy businessmen on the one side and the aristocracy and rural gentry on the other. [128] The aristocracy gained strength as businessmen discovered they could use their wealth to buy a peerage and a country estate.

Although conservatives opposed attempts to allow greater representation of the middle class in parliament, they conceded that electoral reform could not be reversed and promised to support further reforms so long as they did not erode the institutions of church and state. These new principles were presented in the Tamworth Manifesto of 1834, which historians regard as the basic statement of the beliefs of the new Conservative Party. [129]

Some conservatives lamented the passing of a pastoral world where the ethos of noblesse oblige had promoted respect from the lower classes. They saw the Anglican Church and the aristocracy as balances against commercial wealth. [130] They worked toward legislation for improved working conditions and urban housing. [131] This viewpoint would later be called Tory democracy. [132] However, since Burke, there has always been tension between traditional aristocratic conservatism and the wealthy business class. [133]

In 1834, Tory Prime Minister Robert Peel issued the Tamworth Manifesto in which he pledged to endorse moderate political reform. This marked the beginning of the transformation of British conservatism from High Tory reactionism towards a more modern form based on "conservation". The party became known as the Conservative Party as a result, a name it has retained to this day. However, Peel would also be the root of a split in the party between the traditional Tories (led by the Earl of Derby and Benjamin Disraeli) and the "Peelites" (led first by Peel himself, then by the Earl of Aberdeen). The split occurred in 1846 over the issue of free trade, which Peel supported, versus protectionism, supported by Derby. The majority of the party sided with Derby whilst about a third split away, eventually merging with the Whigs and the radicals to form the Liberal Party. Despite the split, the mainstream Conservative Party accepted the doctrine of free trade in 1852.

In the second half of the 19th century, the Liberal Party faced political schisms, especially over Irish Home Rule. Leader William Gladstone (himself a former Peelite) sought to give Ireland a degree of autonomy, a move that elements in both the left and right-wings of his party opposed. These split off to become the Liberal Unionists (led by Joseph Chamberlain), forming a coalition with the Conservatives before merging with them in 1912. The Liberal Unionist influence dragged the Conservative Party towards the left as Conservative governments passing a number of progressive reforms at the turn of the 20th century. By the late 19th century, the traditional business supporters of the Liberal Party had joined the Conservatives, making them the party of business and commerce. [134]

After a period of Liberal dominance before the First World War, the Conservatives gradually became more influential in government, regaining full control of the cabinet in 1922. In the inter-war period, conservatism was the major ideology in Britain [135] [136] [137] as the Liberal Party vied with the Labour Party for control of the left. After the Second World War, the first Labour government (1945–1951) under Clement Attlee embarked on a program of nationalization of industry and the promotion of social welfare. The Conservatives generally accepted those policies until the 1980s.

In the 1980s, the Conservative government of Margaret Thatcher, guided by neoliberal economics, reversed many of Labour's programmes. [138] The Conservative Party also adopt soft eurosceptic politics, and oppose Federal Europe. Other conservative political parties, such as the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP, founded in 1993), Northern Ireland's Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) and the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP, founded in 1971), began to appear, although they have yet to make any significant impact at Westminster (as of 2014 [update] , the DUP comprises the largest political party in the ruling coalition in the Northern Ireland Assembly), and from 2017 to 2019 the DUP provided support for the Conservative minority government.

Modern conservatism in different countries Edit

Many sources refer to any political parties on the right of the political spectrum as conservative despite having no connection with historical conservatism. In most cases, these parties do not use the term conservative in their name or self-identify as conservative. Below is a partial list of such political parties.

Australia Edit

The second largest party in the country is the Australian Labor Party and its dominant faction is Labor Right, a socially conservative element. Australia undertook significant economic reform under the Labor Party in the mid-1980s. Consequently, issues like protectionism, welfare reform, privatization and deregulation are no longer debated in the political space as they are in Europe or North America. Moser and Catley explain: "In America, 'liberal' means left-of-center, and it is a pejorative term when used by conservatives in adversarial political debate. In Australia, of course, the conservatives are in the Liberal Party". [140] Jupp points out that, "[the] decline in English influences on Australian reformism and radicalism, and appropriation of the symbols of Empire by conservatives continued under the Liberal Party leadership of Sir Robert Menzies, which lasted until 1966". [141]

Brazil Edit

Conservatism in Brazil originates from the cultural and historical tradition of Brazil, whose cultural roots are Luso-Iberian and Roman Catholic. [142] Brazilian conservatism from the 20th century on includes names such as Gerardo Melo Mourão and Otto Maria Carpeaux in literature Oliveira Lima and Oliveira Torres in historiography Sobral Pinto and Miguel Reale in law Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira and Father Paulo Ricardo [143] in the Catholic Church Roberto Campos and Mario Henrique Simonsen in economics Carlos Lacerda [144] in the political arena and Olavo de Carvalho in philosophy. [145] Brazilian Labour Renewal Party, Patriota, Progressistas, Social Christian Party and Social Liberal Party are the conservative parties in Brazil.

Germany Edit

Conservatism developed alongside nationalism in Germany, culminating in Germany's victory over France in the Franco-Prussian War, the creation of the unified German Empire in 1871 and the simultaneous rise of Otto von Bismarck on the European political stage. Bismarck's "balance of power" model maintained peace in Europe for decades at the end of the 19th century. His "revolutionary conservatism" was a conservative state-building strategy designed to make ordinary Germans—not just the Junker elite—more loyal to state and emperor, he created the modern welfare state in Germany in the 1880s. According to Kees van Kersbergen and Barbara Vis, his strategy was:

[G]ranting social rights to enhance the integration of a hierarchical society, to forge a bond between workers and the state so as to strengthen the latter, to maintain traditional relations of authority between social and status groups, and to provide a countervailing power against the modernist forces of liberalism and socialism. [146]

Bismarck also enacted universal male suffrage in the new German Empire in 1871. [147] He became a great hero to German conservatives, who erected many monuments to his memory after he left office in 1890. [148]

With the rise of Nazism in 1933, agrarian movements faded and was supplanted by a more command-based economy and forced social integration. Though Adolf Hitler succeeded in garnering the support of many German industrialists, prominent traditionalists openly and secretly opposed his policies of euthanasia, genocide and attacks on organized religion, including Claus von Stauffenberg, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Henning von Tresckow, Bishop Clemens August Graf von Galen and the monarchist Carl Friedrich Goerdeler.

More recently, the work of conservative Christian Democratic Union leader and Chancellor Helmut Kohl helped bring about German reunification, along with the closer European integration in the form of the Maastricht Treaty.

Today, German conservatism is often associated with politicians such as Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose tenure has been marked by attempts to save the common European currency (Euro) from demise. The German conservatives are divided under Merkel due to the refugee crisis in Germany and many conservatives in the CDU/CSU oppose the refugee and migrant policies developed under Merkel. [149]

India Edit

In India, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), led by Narendra Modi, represent conservative politics. The BJP is the largest right-wing conservative party in the world. It promotes cultural nationalism, Hindu Nationalism, an aggressive foreign policy against Pakistan and a conservative social and fiscal policy. [150]

Italy Edit

By 1945 the extreme right fascist movement of Benito Mussolini was discredited. [151] After World War II, in Italy the conservative parties were dominated by the Christian Democracy (DC) party. With its landslide victory over the left in 1948, the Center Right was in power and was, says Denis Mack Smith, "moderately conservative, reasonably tolerant of everything which did not touch religion or property, but above all Catholic and sometimes clerical." It dominated politics until the DC party's dissolution in 1994. [152] [153]

In 1994, the media tycoon and entrepreneur Silvio Berlusconi founded the liberal conservative party Forza Italia (FI). Berlusconi won three elections in 1994, 2001 and 2008, governing the country for almost ten years as Prime Minister. Forza Italia formed a coalition with right-wing regional party Lega Nord while in government. Besides FI, now the conservative ideas are mainly expressed by the New Centre-Right party led by Angelino Alfano, Berlusconi formed a new party, which is a rebirth of Forza Italia, thuds founding a new conservative movement. Alfano served as Minister of Foreign Affairs. After the 2018 election, Lega Nord and the Five Star Movement formed the current right-wing populist government. [154] [155]

Russia Edit

Under Vladimir Putin, the dominant leader since 1999, Russia has promoted explicitly conservative policies in social, cultural and political matters, both at home and abroad. [156] Putin has attacked globalism and economic liberalism. Russian conservatism is unique in some respects as it supports Economic intervention with a mixed economy, with a strong nationalist sentiment and social conservatism with its views being largely populist. Russian conservatism as a result opposes libertarian ideals such as the aforementioned concept of economic liberalism found in other conservative movements around the world. Putin has as a result promoted new think tanks that bring together like-minded intellectuals and writers. For example, the Izborsky Club, founded in 2012 by Aleksandr Prokhanov, stresses Russian nationalism, the restoration of Russia's historical greatness and systematic opposition to liberal ideas and policies. [157] Vladislav Surkov, a senior government official, has been one of the key ideologists during Putin's presidency. [158]

In cultural and social affairs, Putin has collaborated closely with the Russian Orthodox Church. Mark Woods provides specific examples of how the Church under Patriarch Kirill of Moscow has backed the expansion of Russian power into Crimea and eastern Ukraine. [159] More broadly, The New York Times reports in September 2016 how that Church's policy prescriptions support the Kremlin's appeal to social conservatives: [160]

"A fervent foe of homosexuality and any attempt to put individual rights above those of family, community, or nation, the Russian Orthodox Church helps project Russia as the natural ally of all those who pine for a more secure, illiberal world free from the tradition-crushing rush of globalization, multiculturalism, and women's and gay rights."

South Korea Edit

South Korea's major conservative party, the People Power Party (South Korea), has changed its form throughout its history. First it was the Democratic-Liberal Party(민주자유당, Minju Ja-yudang) and its first head was Roh Tae-woo who was the first President of the Sixth Republic of South Korea. Democratic-Liberal Party was founded by the merging of Roh Tae-woo's Democratic Justice Party, Kim Young Sam's Reunification Democratic Party and Kim Jong-pil's New Democratic Republican Party. And again through election its second leader, Kim Young-sam, became the fourteenth President of Korea. When the conservative party was beaten by the opposition party in the general election, it changed its form again to follow the party members' demand for reforms. It became the New Korean Party, but it changed again one year later since the President Kim Young-sam was blamed by the citizen for the International Monetary Fund. [ clarification needed ] It changed its name to Grand National Party (GNP). Since the late Kim Dae-jung assumed the presidency in 1998, GNP had been the opposition party until Lee Myung-bak won the presidential election of 2007.

United States Edit

The meaning of "conservatism" in the United States has little in common with the way the word is used elsewhere. As Ribuffo (2011) notes, "what Americans now call conservatism much of the world calls liberalism or neoliberalism". [161] American conservatism is a broad system of political beliefs in the United States that is characterized by respect for American traditions, support for Judeo-Christian values, economic liberalism, anti-communism and a defense of Western culture. Liberty within the bounds of conformity to conservatism is a core value, with a particular emphasis on strengthening the free market, limiting the size and scope of government and opposition to high taxes and government or labor union encroachment on the entrepreneur.

In early American politics, it was the Democratic party practicing 'conservatism' in its attempts to maintain the social and economic institution of slavery. Democratic president Andrew Johnson, as one commonly known example, was considered a Conservative. [162] "The Democrats were often called conservative and embraced that label. Many of them were conservative in the sense that they wanted things to be like they were in the past, especially as far as race was concerned." [163] [164] In 1892, Democrat Grover Cleveland won the election on a conservative platform, that argued for maintaining the gold standard, reducing tariffs, and supporting a laisse faire approach to government intervention. [165] Since the 1950s, conservatism in the United States has been chiefly associated with the Republican Party. However, during the era of segregation, many Southern Democrats were conservatives and they played a key role in the conservative coalition that largely controlled domestic policy in Congress from 1937 to 1963. [166] The conservative Democrats continued to have influence in the US politics until 1994's Republican Revolution, when the American South shifted from solid Democrat to solid Republican, while maintaining its conservative values.

The major conservative party in the United States today is the Republican Party, also known as the GOP (Grand Old Party). Modern American conservatives consider individual liberty, as long as it conforms to conservative values, small government, deregulation of the government, economic liberalism, and free trade, as the fundamental trait of democracy, which contrasts with modern American liberals, who generally place a greater value on social equality and social justice. [167] [168] Other major priorities within American conservatism include support for the traditional family, law and order, the right to bear arms, Christian values, anti-communism and a defense of "Western civilization from the challenges of modernist culture and totalitarian governments". [169] Economic conservatives and libertarians favor small government, low taxes, limited regulation and free enterprise. Some social conservatives see traditional social values threatened by secularism, so they support school prayer and oppose abortion and homosexuality. [170] Neoconservatives want to expand American ideals throughout the world and show a strong support for Israel. [171] Paleoconservatives, in opposition to multiculturalism, press for restrictions on immigration. [172] Most US conservatives prefer Republicans over Democrats and most factions favor a strong foreign policy and a strong military. The conservative movement of the 1950s attempted to bring together these divergent strands, stressing the need for unity to prevent the spread of "godless communism", which Reagan later labeled an "evil empire". [173] [174] During the Reagan administration, conservatives also supported the so-called "Reagan Doctrine" under which the US as part of a Cold War strategy provided military and other support to guerrilla insurgencies that were fighting governments identified as socialist or communist. The Reagan administration also adopted neoliberalism and trickle-down economics, as well as Reaganomics, which made for economic growth in the 1980s, fueled by trillion-dollar deficits.

Other modern conservative positions include opposition to big government and opposition to environmentalism. [175] On average, American conservatives desire tougher foreign policies than liberals do. [176] Economic liberalism, deregulation and social conservatism are major principles of the Republican Party.

The Tea Party movement, founded in 2009, had proven a large outlet for populist American conservative ideas. Their stated goals included rigorous adherence to the US constitution, lower taxes, and opposition to a growing role for the federal government in health care. Electorally, it was considered a key force in Republicans reclaiming control of the US House of Representatives in 2010. [177] [178] [179]

Following the Second World War, psychologists conducted research into the different motives and tendencies that account for ideological differences between left and right. The early studies focused on conservatives, beginning with Theodor W. Adorno's The Authoritarian Personality (1950) based on the F-scale personality test. This book has been heavily criticized on theoretical and methodological grounds, but some of its findings [ clarification needed ] have been confirmed by further empirical research. [180]

In 1973, British psychologist Glenn Wilson published an influential book providing evidence that a general factor underlying conservative beliefs is "fear of uncertainty." [181] A meta-analysis of research literature by Jost, Glaser, Kruglanski, and Sulloway in 2003 found that many factors, such as intolerance of ambiguity and need for cognitive closure, contribute to the degree of one's political conservatism and its manifestations in decision-making. [180] [182] A study by Kathleen Maclay stated these traits "might be associated with such generally valued characteristics as personal commitment and unwavering loyalty". The research also suggested that while most people are resistant to change, liberals are more tolerant of it. [183]

According to psychologist Bob Altemeyer, individuals who are politically conservative tend to rank high in right-wing authoritarianism (RWA) on his RWA scale. [184] This finding was echoed by Adorno. A study done on Israeli and Palestinian students in Israel found that RWA scores of right-wing party supporters were significantly higher than those of left-wing party supporters. [185] However, a 2005 study by H. Michael Crowson and colleagues suggested a moderate gap between RWA and other conservative positions, stating that their "results indicated that conservatism is not synonymous with RWA". [186]

Psychologist Felicia Pratto and her colleagues have found evidence to support the idea that a high social dominance orientation (SDO) is strongly correlated with conservative political views and opposition to social engineering to promote equality, [187] though Pratto's findings have been highly controversial [ citation needed ] as Pratto and her colleagues found that high SDO scores were highly correlated with measures of prejudice. However, David J. Schneider argued for a more complex relationships between the three factors, writing that "correlations between prejudice and political conservative are reduced virtually to zero when controls for SDO are instituted, suggesting that the conservatism–prejudice link is caused by SDO". [188] Conservative political theorist Kenneth Minogue criticized Pratto's work, saying: "It is characteristic of the conservative temperament to value established identities, to praise habit and to respect prejudice, not because it is irrational, but because such things anchor the darting impulses of human beings in solidities of custom which we do not often begin to value until we are already losing them. Radicalism often generates youth movements, while conservatism is a condition found among the mature, who have discovered what it is in life they most value". [189]

A 1996 study on the relationship between racism and conservatism found that the correlation was stronger among more educated individuals, though "anti-Black affect had essentially no relationship with political conservatism at any level of educational or intellectual sophistication". They also found that the correlation between racism and conservatism could be entirely accounted for by their mutual relationship with social dominance orientation. [190]

In his 2008 book, Gross National Happiness, Arthur C. Brooks presents the finding that conservatives are roughly twice as happy as liberals. [191] A 2008 study demonstrates that conservatives tend to be happier than liberals because of their tendency to justify the current state of affairs and because they're less bothered by inequalities in society. [192] In fact, as income inequality increases, this difference in relative happiness increases because conservatives, more so than liberals, possess an ideological buffer against the negative hedonic effects of economic inequality. [192]

A 2009 study found that conservatism and cognitive ability are negatively correlated. It found that conservatism has a negative correlation with SAT, Vocabulary, and Analogy test scores, measures of education (such as gross enrollment in primary, secondary, and tertiary levels), and performance on math and reading assignments from the PISA. It also found that conservatism correlates with components of the Failed States Index and "several other measures of economic and political development of nations." [193] Nonetheless, in a Brazilian sample, the highest IQs were found among centre-rightists and centrists, even after correcting for gender, age, education and income. [194]


Edmund Burke: Bio, Life and Political Ideas

Edmund Burke was basically a politician and he is still remembered because of certain political ideas but these do not form a political philosophy. We also study Machiavelli because he took a stand on political matters that still evokes our thought. He clearly stated that politics had nothing to do with religion.

Burke’s views of French Revolution and role of people’s representative are still remembered by students of Western political thought.

In this connection we remember Maxey’s considered opinion:

“Edmund Burke is one of the best known figures in English history and one of the few politicians of the eighteenth century England whose renown has not faded”.

Edmund Burke was born in Dublin in 1729. His father was an attorney and a Protestant by faith. His mother was a Roman Catholic. These two streams of religious faith met together in the family of Burke.

Burke’s two brothers followed father’s religion, while their sister followed the faith of mother. He was educated at Trinity College, Dublin, and received his degree from this college.

In 1750 he went to London to study law, but as it was against his liking he gave up the study of law, and devoted himself to literary work. Two Essays—a Vindication of Natural Society and Philosophical Inquiry into the Origin on our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful— were published and he came to be known in the academic circles of England.

In 1759 Burke came in direct contact with Gerard Hamilton who became the Secretary of Ireland and he appointed Burke as a member of his staff. This post helped him to acquire a lot of experience about the practical affairs of government.

In 1765 he was made private secretary to Lord Rockingham, the newly appointed Prime Minister of England. The association with the Prime Minister enables him to win a seat in the House of Commons and he entered Parliament in 1765. He delivered his first speech in 1766.

The first speech appeared to be very promising and contained the seeds of a good parliamentarian. The death of his son and other family troubles disturbed his mind. He was also faced with financial problems.

However, during his long career as a Member of Parliament he was able to establish himself as an orator and, in fact, he was a legendary figure in the field of oration. He was the leader of the Whig Party until his retirement in 1794. Three years after, he died.

The important writings of Burke are—Thoughts on the Cause of Present Discontents (1770), American Taxation (1774), Conciliation with the Colonies (1775), Affairs of America (1777), and Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790).

After he became the Member of Parliament his first objective was to preserve the constitution. Burke was a number one conservative. He was against any sort of compromise with despotism and for this reason he supported the Irish, American and Indian standpoints regarding freedom movement and fight against imperial­ism.

But he could not support the French Revolution. His Reflection on Revolution of France created a sensation. Eleven editions of the book were sold within a year. Within a short span of time more than 30,000 copies were sold. He carefully analysed the different aspects of the Revolution and also his point of view.

Edmund Burke retired from British parliament but he did not retire from studying, analysing and expressing different hot and current political views and burning issues. That was the characteristic feature of Burke.

Towards the end of the century a peace treaty between France and England was about to be signed and when his attention was drawn to it he immediately expressed his view in Letter on Regicide Peace. But before the publication of the letter he breathed his last.

About Burke’s thought Plamenatz’s comment runs as follows—it he is among the least systematic, he is also among the more consistent of political philosophers.

Political Ideas of Edmund Burke:

1. Social Contract:

Edmund Burke was primarily a conservative thinker and because of his conservativeness he never recognized any abrupt or radical change for the upliftment of society. Because of his conservatism he could not lend his support to the French Revolution.

Throughout the world there prevails a unique discipline and continuity. With the help of the well-articulated laws created by God the society achieves and maintains its mobility.

These divine laws are also moral laws. In every civil society there are moral laws and the consciousness and wisdom of individuals facilitate the application of these laws. Membership of the civil society entitles man to enjoy certain rights and privileges. Society changes and develops, reforms are introduced.

People continue to enjoy these rights and privileges and when attempts are made to impinge them they resist.

It is the thought, action, accumulated knowledge and wisdom that help the human society to march forward. In other words, the past helps the present generation and simultaneously helps it to go ahead. Abruptness has no place in Burke’s thought.

Society is indeed a contract. Subordinate contracts for objects of mere occasional interest may be dissolved at pleasure—but the state ought not to be considered as nothing better than a partnership agreement in a trade of pepper and coffee, calico or tobacco or some other such low concern, to be taken up for a little temporary interest and to be dissolved by the fancy of the parties.

It is to be looked on with other reverence because it is not a partnership in things subservient only to the gross animal existence of a temporary and perishable nature. It is a partnership not only between those who are living…those who are dead, those who are to be born…

It is a partnership in all science, a partnership in all art, a partnership in every virtue and in all perfection. Each contract of each particular state is but a clause in the great primeval contract of eternal society linking the lower with the higher natures, connecting the visible and invisible world, according to a fixed compact sanctioned by an inviolable oath which holds all physical and moral natures each in their appointed peace.”

Here Burke seems to be playing a rhetorical game with the familiar contractarian phraseology or rather to be reading into it such new depths of meaning as to transform it out of all recognition.

If such are the real truths of politics could they not be better expressed by frankly abandoning the contract altogether and openly adopting an organic theory of the state? But he was addressing an audience accustomed to think in terms of the original contract.

He deliberately intended to direct their thoughts away from of the errors usually advocated by its adherents. Party sympathy and dislike of revolutionary radicalism led him to defend the Whig settlement of 1689 and with it the idea of original contract. He made it a matter of practical politics rather than of theoretical solution.

2. Rights and Liberties:

About natural rights and liberties Burke held different view. Hobbes and Locke believed that natural rights and liberties meant people of the state of nature possessed and enjoyed these. But Burke is of opinion that natural rights mean rights indispensable for the general development of all faculties of man and the govern­ment has responsibility to protect and implement these rights and it cannot deny its responsibility.

In Burke’s own words – “If civil society be made for the advantage of man all the advantages for which it is made become his right. Such rights are the right to justice to the fruits of one’s industry, to the acquisition of one’s parents to instruction in life and to consolation in death. In the partnership of society all men have equal rights but not have equal things.”

On the subject of natural rights what he wants to say is:

Government is not made in virtue of natural rights which may and do exist in total independence of it and exist in much greater clearness… By having a right to everything, they want everything.

Government is a contrivance of human wisdom to provide for human wants. Men have a right that these should be provided for by this wisdom. Among these wants to be reckoned they want, out of civil society, of a sufficient restraint upon their passions. Society requires not only that passion of individuals should be subjected, but that even in the mass and body, as well as in the individuals, the inclinations of men should frequently be thwarted.

The restraints on men as well as their liberties are to be reckoned among their nights. But as the liberties and restraints vary with times and circumstances, and admit of infinite modifications, they cannot be settled upon any abstract rule.

Burke’s views on rights and liberties are really excellent. According to Burke people formed civil society primarily for the purpose of enjoying fights and liberties. Because only in such a society there is a legitimate authority and his responsibility lies in safeguarding these rights. In a society where there is no authority to implement rights men are absolutely helpless and rights face greater jeopardy.

That is why he felt the necessity of the formation of a civil society. Here it is also to be noted that Burke did not tract the term civil society in ordinary sense. He was an eighteenth century intellectual and towards the end of his life he observed that the concept of civil society was gathering momentum and Burke could not keep him away from this popular and powerful trend.

In Burke’s thought system there is no place of abstract philosophy of liberty. He has judged liberty from the practical point of view. Liberty is also a product of history and inheritance. Both liberty and authority in Burke’s idea are subject to limitation. Unlimited liberty is equivalent to license and unlimited authority is inimical to liberty.

So both require to be restrained. Burke has conceived of liberty in the perspective of the whole society. The well-being of the society is to be placed at the highest point and all are to be adjusted with this ideal.

One end ought not to be pursued at the detriment of the interests or other persons. Enjoyment or rights and liberties must stem at the common well being of society. Liberty is valuable no doubt, but also valuable are justice, order and peace of the society. They are even indispensable to the reality of liberty itself. Liberty is also the product of evolution.

“You will observe, that from Magna Carta to the Declaration of Right, it has been the uniform policy of our constitution to claim and assert our liberties as an entailed inheritance derived to us from our forefathers and to be transmitted to our posterity as an estate belonging to the people of this kingdom, without any reference whatever to any other more general or prior right.”

Liberty thus is not a claim of people at a particular moment of time. It has a lone background. So, to what extent people will enjoy liberty and exercise rights depends upon the history and civilization of the state. Rights and liberties are parts of the whole civilization. The above observation of Burke reveals that he did not treat rights liberty and privileges as the product of contemporary situation.

They are derived from the past conditions as well as they are the products of civilization. In his view it is abundantly clear that Burke explained the ideas of rights and liberties from the standpoint of his favourite conservative philosophy or conservatism Rights are not the products of any particular moment of time. They must have a history and tradition.

3. Democracy and Aristocracy:

Like Plato and Aristotle, Edmund Burke had no faith in the administrative ability and quality of masses of men. Administration requires special ability and all men do not possess it. In other words, only few people have the capability to shoulder the burden of managing the affairs of state. This approach of Burke does not corroborate the general attitude of people towards democracy.

Of course this does not mean that Burke was an anti-democrat. Commenting on Burke’s concept of democracy Ebenstein says “Burke denies the validity of the central doctrine of democracy that only the governed have the right to determine who is governing them and that all votes count equally. He opposes this democratic method as arithmetic devoid of meaning and thinks of representation in terms of historic interests, such as the Lords, the Commons, the monarchy, the established church rather than in terms of individual citizens. Burke adheres to the medieval idea that the man is significant, not as an individual citizen, but solely as a member of a group to which he belongs socially or economically.” Burke thus speaks of the corporate identity of the individual.

A man outside the group is insignificant. His views and opinions, if expressed individually, are all perverted. Hegel has expressed the same view Man always acts in corporate capacity. Individual identification or importance is both unnecessary and harmful view individual is precursor to totalitarian state of Hitler.

Edmund Burke treated aristocracy as a necessary feature of constitutional monarchy. To him it was not a pure form of government. He laid faith on aristocracy on two grounds. Its members were wealthy and exerted influence on society. The aristocracy formed a political culture. In his opinion this would facilitate the administration of state.

4. View on Constitution:

Every or almost all the political views of Burke are intrinsically parts of his conservatism and his idea about constitution is no exception. The accumulated knowledge and culture of a nation is reflected in the constitution. On this ground he vehemently opposed the attempt of French revolutionaries attempt to introduce a new constitution.

By a constitutional policy, working after the pattern of nature, we receive, we hold, we transmit our government and our privileges, in the same manner in which we enjoy and transmit our property and our lives. The institutions of policy, the goods of fortune, and the gifts of providence are handed down to us, and from us, in the same course and order.

The constitution is a repository of the past experience and it guides the future course of action. It is continuity. The whole scheme of our mixed constitution is to prevent any one of its principles from being carried as far as, taken by itself and theoretically, “it would go” (Burke). Checks and balances are the essence of the system. Each part limits and controls the other parts. Hence in the “British constitution there is a perpetual treaty and compromise going on, sometimes openly, sometimes with less observation.”

Edmund Burke thus attempts to establish a philosophical justification of constitution. Traditions, morality, experience etc. all are carried over and all these together enrich the civilization. In this way the fund of knowledge and experience expands. This is ultimately embodied in the constitutions, institutions and political processes.

Edmund Burke then speaks of the prescriptive type of constitution. Let us quote him “our constitution is a prescriptive constitution, it is a constitution whose sole authority is that it has existed time out of mind… your king, your lords, your judges, your juries, grand and little all are, all are prescriptive… Prescription is the solid of all titles, not only to property, but to government. It is a presumption in favour of any settled scheme of government against any untried project that a nation has long existed and flourished under it… A nation is not an idea of only of local extent and individual momentary aggregation, but it is an idea of continuity which extends in time as well as in numbers and in space. This is a choice not of one day or one set of people, not a tumultuary and giddy choice, it is a deliberate election of the ages and of generations, it is a constitution made by what is ten thousand times better than choice it is made by peculiar circumstances, occasions, tempers, dispositions, and moral, civil and social habitudes of the people which disclose themselves only in a long space of time”.

“As to the theory of constitution, Burke has nothing positive to offer beyond the exposition and eulogy of the constitution of England. In this he sees social and political forces operating with the regularity, ease and effectiveness of nature itself. The organs of the government—king, parliament and courts—have their authority from the law and custom of the land.”

We do not agree with Dunning’s view. Burke has emphasized that the constitution of a country must contain in itself the characteristic features of social, political and economic conditions of the country concerned.

It is true that while he was talking about constitution the picture of the British constitution was quite alive in his mind. Till now no country of the world has framed her constitution completely ignoring the past history and tradition as well as the peculiar social, economic and political situation.

Hence there is nothing objectionable in the view of Burke. Again, it is not surprising that a large number of countries have adopted the British constitution as their model, of course with some modification and variation.

Sabine says that Burke’s theory of constitution is based upon the actual settlement of 1688 by which the effective political control passed into the hands of the Whig nobility.

Edmund Burke was against all sorts of reforms of parliamentary system and this was due to his loyalty to the British system of government. He lent his unqualified support to the then British parliament on the ground that it would be able to fulfill the needs of the people and augment the welfare of society.

It is to be noted here that though Burke was dead against the incorporation of new elements in the British constitution the British Government could not resist people’s persist­ent demand for introduction of new thoughts and elements into the main body of the constitution. But since the British constitution is unwritten it is not always easy to make distinction between old elements and added new elements. However, the entry of new elements into the body of the constitution is undeniable.

5. Representation and Political Party:

For pretty long time Edmund Burke was a member of the House of Commons and he established himself as a successful and able parliamentarian. In this regard he favoured certain ideas.

Particularly, he had definite conception about territorial constituency and responsibility of the representative towards the voters of his constituency. He held that the constituency was not a numerical or territorial unit.

It is not simply a territorial area consisting of certain numbers of voters or citizens. Virtual representation, that is, representation in which there is a communion of interests and a sympathy in feelings and desires, he thought, had most of the advantages of representation by actual election and was free from any disadvan­tages.

Burke criticized the existing system of representation and mentality and outlook of the representative. He was of opinion that English representative form of government was not functioning satisfactorily due to the defective system.

In his address to the voters of his Bristol constituency Burke defended the independence of the representative. In this famous address Burke rejected the time-old conception of territorialism.

Once a man is elected from a particular constituency, he is to be regarded as a Member of Parliament, and not as a representative of that particular constituency. He receives by virtue of his membership, the right to represent the whole country. He is also to be allowed to exercise his own judgment and freedom.

A Member of Parliament is not a spokesman of his constituency, although he is bound to look after the interests of his constituency, he is not bound to do it at the cost of national interests. He is not the ambassador of the constituency. He has his own view, outlook and attitude.

He must adhere to his own principles. No representative can sacrifice all these things and it is quite unjustified to ask him to do that. The constituency is not a school where the members will go to take lessons from the voters and advices his future course of action.

He will have full freedom to express his views in the Parliament and it may so happen that this may contradict the interest of his voters.

He cannot take lessons about the law and government from the voters. What Edmund Burke asserts here is that a Member of Parliament must have freedom of thought and expression and though he represents a territorial area he must see the national interests.

The view of Burke regarding the duty and responsibility of a representative has been a subject of a good deal of controversy. But this view is still a subject of serious discussion. Burke refused to accept that a representative was the spokesperson of the constituency.

He cannot neglect the interests of the constituency he represents and simultaneously he cannot go against the national interests. He argued that it is the primary duty for the representative to give priority to the national interests. Today the situation has undergone changes.

A prudent representative must make a balance between local and national interest. If he completely ignores the legitimate interests of the constituency he represents, the next election will not produce results that will go to his favour.

Particularly in weak and developing democratic systems the representatives have been found to be serious about the issues and problems of their own constituencies. So far as the holistic approach to the representative system is concerned Edmund Burke is hundred percent correct. But his approach has certain practical limitations.

According to Burke—Party is a body of men united, for promoting by their joint endeavours, the national interests, upon some particular principle in which they are all agreed. Burke strongly advocated in favour of a party system.

In his time the party system of the House of Commons had acquired a clear picture and this created a favourable impression about party functioning in his mind. He realized that British representative system could not work successfully without the proper development of party system.

He also supported the loyalty of every statesman to the principles and ideology of the party. Private consideration, in his opinion, would not be allowed to break the loyalty to the party.

It is interesting to note that though Burke supported the independence of thought and judgment of members of Parliament he did not allow the same thing to the members of political parties.

Edmund Burke emphasized the observance of party principles and ideology and he did not support any aberration. It is due to the fact that Burke had a great respect for the constitutional government of England and his clear opinion was that without a well-organized party this would collapse. So government was more important to him than individual freedom.

6. Conservatism:

It is generally observed that Burke’s criticisms of the intense political movements on behalf of democracy in Europe during his time constitute the basis of modern political tradition usually called conservatism.

A reflection on the Revolution of France (1790) contains the conservative political philosophy of Burke. No attempt should be made to destroy the old tradition and civilization of any society. The government and constitution both are the products of old tradition.

Burke’s attitude to towards ideology is helpful to an understanding of conserva­tism, Burke was against ideology as such because ideologies oversimplify and exaggerate actual social conditions.

Worst of all the slogans such as freedom, liberty and natural rights are dangerous to society and weapons of the revolutionaries and reformers who have scant respect for the tradition and civilization of the country.

They do not also care for the consequences of their revolutions. In his Reflections on the Revolutions of France Burke has raised the following questions whose answer is ‘No’.

Am I to felicitate a mad man who has escaped from the protecting and wholesome darkness of his, on his restoration to the enjoyment of right and liberty?

Am I to congratulate a highwayman and murderer, who have broken prisons upon the recovery of his natural rights?

These two questions reveal Burke’s attitude towards abstract rights and liberties as well as to ideology. Was by comments that Burke’s conservatism represents an anti-ideology.

At the least it is strongly critical of most political ideas, especially those which urge social reform and social change. But even an anti-ideology cannot be expressed without ideas. The primary notion of Burke’s conservatism is that to conserve the past.

To destroy the past and introduce a novelty is harmful. Burke felt that there were certain “truths” about which there could be little doubt. One of such truths is that men are naturally unequal and society requires orders and classes for the good of all men.

Man is the creature of appetite and will and is governed more by emotion than by reason. Burke also believed that the constitutions, institutions and other political forms had history or long background and tradition. They are necessary for the society and must be preserved at any cost.

Edmund Burke, because of his conservativeness, did not approve the revolutionary attempts and he strongly criticized the French revolutionaries. We shall now turn to his view of French Revolution.

7. French Revolution:

“The French revolutionaries seemed to Burke to be using the doctrine of the rights of man for a quite different purpose – not to justify resistance in defence of traditional freedom, of acquired rights, not even to support new claims intended to make that freedom more secure, but to subvert society. They were making claims incompatible with the existing social order, the system of existing rights they were challenging those rights in the name of the principles such as equality, liberty taken in the abstract. ”

The French revolutionaries, according to Burke, were fanatical. They could not attain their avowed purposes nor did they have that capacity. They had only ruined an ancient country having a long tradition, culture and civilization. Burke called them ignorant surgeons. They were making preparations for major operations of the human body without any knowledge of anatomy.

The French revolutionaries did not know that without any knowledge of the body any operation could not be done at all. All of them were incompetent persons. Their eagerness for change was the evidence of foolishness. The society is hard and complex. It is not soft clay which the potter can use to make any article or pot according to his own choice.

They adopted a wrong path and the whole nation had to pay for it. From this observation of Burke it appears to us that he castigated the French revolutionaries in the strongest language.

The chief reason behind this is the revolutionaries did not give any credence or recognition to the past history, tradition and culture of France as well as to its centuries old civilisation.

That greatly hurt Burke’s sentiment along with his conservatism. To him the past civilisation, culture and tradition are more important than mere political change. His belief was that the desirable change could be achieved keeping the past tradition and civilisation intact. But this could not be done.

Burke even did not spare the philosophers from whom the revolutionaries received inspiration and lessons. The philosopher were eager to destroy the old prejudices on the ground that they were irrational and were obstacles to progress Burke said “We know that we have made no discoveries, and we think that no discoveries are to be made in morality, nor many in the great principles of government, nor in the ideas of liberty which were understood long before we were born Instead of casting away our old prejudices, we cherish them because they are prejudices and the longer they have lasted, and the more generally they have prevailed, the more we cherish them.”

Edmund Burke realized that the French Revolution was more than an internal affair of France It was a revolution of doctrine and theoretic dogma, and he attacked the state that emerged from it as a college of armed fanatics, for the propagation of principles of assassination, robbery, fraud, faction, oppression and impiety Burke therefore, called for a European crusade to crush the revolutionary spirit by force of arms He was convinced that no monarchy would be saved as long as this strange, nameless wild, enthusiastic thing is established in the centre of Europe.

Importance of Burke:

Maxey makes the following observation on the importance of Burke. “As a creative and systematic political thinker Edmund Burke cannot be rated high. An unrelenting foe of all theories and dogmas, of all reforms and innovations and indeed of all principles not verified by actual experience, his mind declined airy flights of speculation and deprecated all attempts at the systematic rationalization of political institutions.” The observation of Maxey is quite correct. Burke was primarily a politician.

He was not a philosopher or an academician nor a scholar of high repute. His views about French Revolution and his thought or the role of a parliamentary representative still evoke interest in the mind of his readers. He has been painted as a reactionary conservative thinker and propagandist. This is the view of a good number of his numerous readers.

His attitudes towards French Revolution have been strongly criticized by historians and scholars. His view that the French revolutionaries were against tradition and their purpose was not progress of society and their efforts would ultimately lead to anarchy has been vehemently opposed by various critics. After the Revolution, anarchy did not swallow the French society.

It is said that the Revolution laid the foundation of a new society and the post-Revolutionary situation of France belied the prediction of Burke. The military power and the image in international field both increased after the Revolution. His call for the unity of European powers to crush the revolutionaries reveals his counter-revolutionary and reactionary mentality.

Edmund Burke saw only the destructive effects of French Revolution. We agree with Burke that revolutions do not always proceed smoothly and produce desired result^ But our question is if the present system cannot be reformed by constitutional methods what is the way out?

Unfortunately Burke does not enlighten us on this matter. Reforms and revolution are the two chief ways of change. When one fails the other remains. The French society reached an explosive situation and there was no other way than revolution. It is unfortunate that an experienced man of the stature of Burke failed to understand it.

In comparing the French Revolution with the English Revolution, Burke always pointed out to the violent and radical character of the first contrasted with the peaceable and conservative character of the second. But this comparison is unten­able.

In all the stages the English Revolution was not bloodless. Execution of Charles I cannot be termed a bloodless act. Ebenstein observes “In cutting off the head of their monarch the French were no more than good disciples of the English and their Revolution was much more peaceful than the Puritan Revolution”.

Burke also failed to see that the revolution is not necessarily the result of metaphysical fanaticism, but may spring from the soil of experience, the experience of protracted suffering.

The breakdown of social and political institution and democratic values and norms forced a section and really a considerable section to resort to revolutionary method. Their judgment and their evaluation must be given due consideration.

Another pathetic side of Burke’s view of French Revolution is he had not the patience to analyse impartially the results of the Revolution As if he knew what would happen. His analysis of French Revolution reveals that he played the role of an astrologer. He drew conclusions according to his own frame of mind.

In spite of all this his contribution to political thought cannot be underestimated Maxey observes “he made a very substantial contribution to political thought. He takes a rank” continues the same critic “as one of the ever-luminous orbs in the galaxy of political thought.

When Burke appeared…political thought had almost succumbed to the maudlin romanticism of Rousseau. Montesquieu was in eclipse, likewise Hume, Spinoza, Hobbes and other great realists of the past History was bunk , reason despised, and facts mere obstacles to be swept aside ” Burke appeared on the political scene of England and Europe in general to sprinkle cold water upon the idealist thoughts and made serious efforts to abnegate the influence of past experience.

Edmund Burke makes it clear that both political and social life are extremely complex and their problems cannot be solved with the help of any easy formula or technique in the tradition of political organization, the attitude and temperament of people and many other things are to be brought under active consideration before suggesting any solution.

Reckless destruction of old and established institutions and values has, according to Burke, never produced salutary results. It is not irrelevant to say that Lenin, the great revolutionary of the twentieth century, was very much cautious about the selection of revolutionary tactics timing of launching revolution.

C. W. Parkin in his article Burke and the Conservative Tradition writes— “In the era of worldwide Marxism, Burke’s polemic against the revolutionary idea-the utopianism, the canonization of dualism and conflict, the search for some final political solution-has not lost its relevance or cogency. And for Britain’s needs cultural as much as political, the fruitfulness of his position has not been exhausted”

Edmund Burke is regarded as the best interpreter of the traditional principles of British political life. It is interesting to note that his justification of British tradition prevails today. He has not been proved wrong or unjustified.

A strong current of social change has flown over British society. But the continuity and tradition of which Burke spoke can still be identified. New changes have been grafted on to the old but the old has not been thrown into the dustbin.

The principles of the old were adapted to those of the new. This prevails almost everywhere. For example, in the working class movement or in the working of the ancient institutions, some critics belittle him as the spokesman or philosopher of British system of political party. But the actual position is not that. “Burke is not the philosopher of the British conservatism, but of British political life from Right to Left. His spirit informs the progressive movement as much as it informs the Conservative Party.

Edmund Burke is not an exception so far as the political thought is concerned. There is always conflict in history, the conflict between old and new, between haves and have-nots, between pro-changers and no-changers. This conflict will never come to an end we know Burke as the spokesman of the old tradition. This is not his fault.

There is no dearth in his argument, there is no vagueness in his thought Harmon writes.”In any event there is much in Burke’s theory to support the stand of those who wish to keep things as they are. And his is an impressive contribution that cannot be ignored. Much depends, in any appraisal of Burke upon the circumstances surrounding those who agree or disagree with his theory”.

Edmund Burke was absolutely fearless while expressing his views. He did not hesitate to denounce the misdeeds of Warren Hastings. His famous speech delivered in the British House of Commons still invokes our interest about him and kindles our respect to him.

He impeached Warren Hastings on the ground that as the Governor General of India his activities and administrative policies violated the “eternal laws of justice”.

Commenting upon Burke’s speech Amartya Sen in his .The Idea of Justice says “he spoke eloquently not on one misdeed of Hastings but on a great many, and proceeded from there to present simultaneously a number of separate and quite distinct reasons for the need to indict Warren Hastings. Burke in one place of his speech said I impeach him in the name and virtue of those eternal laws of justice which he has violated.”


Did Edmund Burke Support the American Revolution?

Many conservatives have assumed that Edmund Burke was opposed to the American Revolution. It is, to my mind, an erroneous assumption.

“Burke broke his agentship and went publicly silent on the American cause once war broke out,” Robert Nisbet claimed in his most definitive analysis of Edmund Burke, written and published in 1985. His fellow great conservative of the era, Russell Kirk, argued something similar, though 30 years earlier. “But it is a confusion of ideas to say that Burke was in favor of the American Revolution. Burke never was in favor of any revolution,” Kirk wrote.

Kirk, especially, must be identified with Burke when looking at the history of Burke in the 20th century. “If conservatives would know what they defend, Burke is their touchstone and if radicals wish to test the temper of their opposition, they should turn to Burke,” Kirk famously wrote. He “was the first conservative of our time of troubles. He labored to safeguard the permanent things, which have converted the brute into the civil social man.”

Not surprisingly, given the prevalence (well deserved, of course) of Kirk and Nisbet, conservatives ever since have echoed this assumption. It is, to my mind, though, an erroneous assumption. While it would be too much to claim that Burke actively championed American notions of Natural Rights—as understood in the founding through the Declaration of Independence—it would be, to my mind, equally wrong to claim that Burke vehemently disagreed with American ideas. Given the evidence available in Burke’s private letters and in his public addresses, it is impossible to argue either extreme.

There are several things we do know for certain, however. From his inaugural address to Parliament in early 1766 until the signing of the Peace of Paris in 1783, Burke dealt with almost nothing in Parliament that did not, in some way, affect the British effort to suppress American independence.

During the Crises period, especially in 1774 and 1775, Burke openly defended the rights of Americans as the rights of Englishmen.

Leave the Americans as they anciently stood and these distinctions, born of our unhappy contest, will die along with it. They and we, and their and our ancestors, have been happy under that system. Let the memory of all actions in contradiction of that good old mode, on both sides, be extinguished forever . . . Do not burden them by taxes you were not used to do so from the beginning. Let this be your reason for not taxing. These are the arguments of states and kingdoms. Leave the rest to the schools for only there may they be discussed with safety. But, if intemperately, unwisely, fatally, you sophisticate and poison the very source of government, by urging subtle deductions, and consequences odious to those you govern, from the unlimited and illimitable nature of supreme sovereignty, you will teach them by these means to call that sovereignty itself in question. When you drive him hard, the boar will surely turn upon the hunters. If that sovereignty and their freedom cannot be reconciled, which will they take? They will cast your sovereignty into your face. Nobody will be argued into slavery.

And, again, giving the Americans a specific historical context:

The mode of inquisition and dragooning is going out of fashion in the Old World, and I should not confide much to their efficacy in the New. The education of the Americans is also on the same unalterable bottom of their religion. You cannot persuade them to burn their books of curious science, to banish their lawyers from their courts of law, or to quench the lights of their assemblies by refusing to choose those persons who are best read in their privileges. It would be no less impracticable to think of wholly annihilating the popular assemblies in which these lawyers sit. The army, by which we must govern in their place, would be far more chargeable to us, not quite so effectual, and perhaps, in the end, full as difficult in obedience.

One might, based on these quotes alone, assume that Burke did become quiet about the revolution after the war actually broke out. Yet, he remained far from silent. “The despair that has seized upon some, and the Listlessness that has fallen upon almost all, is surprising, and resembles more the Effect of some supernatural Cause, stupyfying and disabling the powers of a people destined to destruction, than anything I could have imagined,” a bewildered Burke wrote in August of 1775. “The people seem to have completely forgot the resources of a free government for rectifying publick mismanagements and mistakes.”

Here’s, perhaps, Burke’s most radical public statement, given on November 6, 1775, more than half a year after the Battles of Lexington, Concord, and Bunker Hill. This (below) came as a response to the King’s call for a day of fasting to support British troops in America.

In this situation, Sir, shocking to say, are we called upon by another proclamation, to go to the altar of the Almighty, with war and vengeance in our hearts, instead of the peace of our blessed Saviour. He said ‘my peace I give you’ but we are, on this fast, to have war only in our hearts and mouths war against our brethren. Till our churches are purified from this abominable service, I shall consider them not as the temples of the Almighty, but the synagogues of Satan. An act not more infamous, as far as respects its political purposes, than blasphemous and profane as a pretended act of national devotion—when the people are called upon, in the most solemn and awful manner, to repair to church, to partake of a sacrament, and at the foot of the altar, to commit sacrilege, to perjure themselves publicly by charging their American brethren with the horrid crime of rebellion, with propagating ‘specious falsehoods,’ when either the charge must be notoriously false, or those who make it, not knowing it to be true, call Almighty God to witness, not a specious but a most audacious and blasphemous falsehood.

These are, in no way shape or form, the words of a conservative, prudent, or timid man. In a way that can only regarded as treasonous to the crown, Burke had identified George III with Satan. Burke backed all of his rhetoric up by proclaiming “Feast Days” in honor of the American soldiers.

In January 1776, Burke wrote privately: “As to America—what will happen to her God knows. She is acting a part of the utmost Magnanimity under every distance, (except the distance of her Enemy), that can be imagined.”

By mid-August of 1776, he feared that all was lost. “We are deeply in blood. We expect now to hear of some sharp affair, every hour. God knows how it will be. I do not know how to wish success to those whose Victory is to separate from us a large and noble part of our Empire. Still less do I wish success to injustice, oppression and absurdity.”

In December of 1777, Burke wrote, again privately: “The fate of my worthy and unhappy friend the brave Genl Burgoyne and his whole Army, must be a subject of very melancholy interest to this Country, in whatever light it may be considered and nothing, but the success of that Army, in wasting and ruining a Country, just beginning to emerge from an hideous desart [sic] by the indefatigable industry of its Inhabitants, could be more deplorable.” Five months later, in April 1778, Burke conceded, “There is a dreadful schism in the British nation. Since we are not able to re-unite the empire, it is our business to give all possible vigour and soundness to those parts of it which are still content to be governed by our councils. Sir, it is proper to inform you, that our measures must be healing.”

A year later, in June 1779, he wrote, “I mean pleasant as to the principle, for nothing is so perfectly disagreeable as the present aspect of things which regard to the public, in which (however odious it may sound) I include our breather in America, whether they find it in their Interest to embody under our Monarchy, or to regulate themselves in Republics of their own.” Again, one must ask Kirk and Nisbet, if Burke so adamantly opposed the principles of the American Revolution, why did he note that he would be satisfied with America as an independent republic of republics?

Four months later, in October 1779, Burke wrote: “If nothing else can free us from that cursed American War why let this do it—and the total failure of all our absurd designs may become the beginning of our salvation.”

Finally, we have Burke’s very confessional letter to Benjamin Franklin, dated December 1781, two full months after British forces surrendered at the Battle of Yorktown.

There was a day when I held high the honour and dignity of the Community I belong to. Indeed its authority, which I always connected with its Justice and its Benevolence was a subject of my warmest enthusiasms. I ever wished and not wished only, but struggled that this Government in all Stages of this unfortunate Contest, and in all the variety of Policy which arises in it, should take the lead in every act of Generosity and benignity, and without derogating from the regard due to the younger and (not the inferior) Branch of our Nation, wishd that as the older we should furnish you with examples. But providence has not done its work by halves. You have Success and you have added and may yet add more to what success is unable to bestow. I never had the smallest reason to be personally proud Nationally I was high and haughty. But all the props of my pride are slipped from under me. I wishd to bestow, and I am left to supplicate.

Again, it is possible that Burke actively disliked the principles of the American Revolution, but there exists no such evidence one way or another. What we do know is that Burke, when pushed, supported the American cause for independence, though he very much lamented the breakdown and breakup of the British commonwealth.

From my perspective, Burke was a vital ally in the cause, as patriotic to the American cause as any American revolutionary leader. He not only defended our cause, he did so in a way that could have easily been regarded as treasonous by his own people.

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Burke on the Inhumanity of the French Revolution

Whatever its own stated purposes and desired ends, the French Revolution never sought to better the condition of humanity or even of France. The Revolutionaries, as Edmund Burke stressed, were radicals, seeking civil war not only in France, but also in all of Christendom.

The grand Anglo-Irish statesman, Edmund Burke (1729-1797) spent much of his last eight years dwelling upon the French Revolution as well as trying to define its most important elements. If the British failed to understand the “armed doctrine” of the Revolutionaries as a religious sect, with the French looking for nothing less than a re-doing of the most violent aspects of the Protestant Reformation of the sixteenth century, they would fail miserably to understand the movement as a whole. They could not pretend it was merely a political party or a new way of thinking about government. They must understand that the Revolution would never rest without conquering the entire world. In this, Burke states with some shock value, they were superior to their enemies, as they knew what kind of war they waged.

It is a dreadful truth, but it is a truth that cannot be concealed in ability, in dexterity, in the distinctness of their views, the Jacobins are our superiors. They saw the thing right from the very beginning. Whatever were the first motives to the war among politicians, they saw that it is in its spirit, and for its objects, a civil war and as such they pursued it. It is a war between the partisans of the ancient, civil, moral, and political order of Europe against a sect of fanatical and ambitious atheists with means to change them all. It is not France extending a foreign empire over other nations: it is a sect aiming at universal empire, and beginning with the conquest of France. The leaders of that sect secured the centre of Europe and that ensured, they knew, that whatever might be the event of battles and sieges, their cause was victorious. Whether its territory had a little more or a little less peeled from its surface, or whether an island or two was detached from its commerce, was of little moment to them. The conquest of France was a glorious acquisition.

Success in France, it seems, was merely the beginning of world-wide revolution.

Yet, this still left “Jacobinism,” the official theology and philosophy of the Revolutionaries, somewhat vague. Well, possibly vague. Those who advocated it were nothing less than monsters, with the Revolution itself being the “mother of monsters.” In his attempt to understand the Revolution, Burke—in Letters on a Regicide Peace I—had tried to define three different terms. First, he labeled the remnants of the French Revolutionary “state” as a “Regicide Republic.” It decreed all governments unlike itself usurpations, thus challenging the very fabric of Christendom.

Second, Burke defined “Jacobinism” as

the revolt of the enterprising talents of a country against its property. When private men form themselves into associations for the purpose of destroying the pre-existing laws and institutions of their country when they secure to themselves an army by dividing amongst the people of no property, the estates of the ancient and lawful proprietors when a state recognizes those acts when it does not make confiscations for crimes, but makes crimes for confiscations when it has its principal strength, and all its resources in such a violation of property when it stands chiefly upon such a violation massacring by judgments, or otherwise, those who make any struggle for their old legal government, and their legal, hereditary, or acquired possessions—I call this “Jacobinism by Establishment.”

Finally, Burke defined the new French Revolutionary state—by its insane focus on humanity and its driving desire to undo the laws of nature—as “atheism by establishment.”

When, in the place of that religion of social benevolence, and of individual self-denial, in mockery of all religion, they institute impious, blasphemous, indecent theatric rites, in honour of their vitiated, perverted reason, and erect altars to the personification of their own corrupted and bloody Republic when schools and seminaries are founded at public expense to poison mankind, from generation to generation, with the horrible maxims of this impiety when wearied out with incessant martyrdom, and the cries of a people hungering and thirsting for religion, they permit it, only as a tolerated evil—I call this “Atheism by Establishment.”

The Revolution wanted nothing less than the complete abolition of God, and it would do so by making the new state the only state, a church in the form of a political and social leviathan.

The design is wicked, immoral, impious, oppressive but it is spirited and daring: it is systematic it is simple in its principle it has unity and consistency in perfection. In that country entirely to cut off a branch of commerce, to extinguish a manufacture, to destroy the circulation of money, to violate credit, to suspend the course of agriculture, even to burn a city, or to lay waste a province of their own, does not cost them a moment’s anxiety. To them, the will, the wish, the want, the liberty, the toil, the blood of individuals is as nothing. Individuality is left out of their scheme of Government. The state is all in all. Every thing is referred to the production of force afterwards every thing is trusted to the use of it. It is military in its principle, in its maxims, in its spirit, and in all its movements. The state has dominion and conquest for its sole objects dominion over minds by proselytism, over bodies by arms.

The shortest letter of the four, by far, Letter II continued these definitions, expounding upon them, finding a way to round them and their implications out.

They who do not love religion, hate it. The rebels to God perfectly abhor the Author of their being. They hate him “with all their heart, with all their mind, with all their soul, and with all their strength.” He never presents himself to their thoughts but to menace and alarm them. They cannot strike the Sun out of Heaven, but they are able to raise a smouldering smoke that obscures him from their own eyes. Not being able to revenge themselves on God, they have a delight in vicariously defacing, degrading, torturing, and tearing in pieces his image in man.

Thus, whatever its own stated purposes and desired ends, the Revolution, by its very essence, must rain inhumanity upon itself and the world.

Additionally, Burke reminded his audience, never did the Revolution seek to better the condition of humanity or even of France. Rather, it sought nothing less than pure, unadulterated power.

The Revolution was made, not to make France free, but to make her formidable not to make her a neighbour, but a mistress not to make her more observant of laws, but to put her in a condition to impose them. To make France truly formidable it was necessary that France should be new-modelled. They who have not followed the train of the late proceedings, have been led by deceitful representations (which deceit made a part in the plan) to conceive that this totally new model of a state in which nothing escaped a change…

Again and again, Burke stressed, the Revolutionaries would never be content with mere revolution in France. They were radicals, seeking civil war not only in France, but also in all of Christendom. Britain, in alliance with other European powers, must eradicate the Revolution. There can be no compromise with such an infection.

From all this, what is my inference? It is, that this new system of robbery in France, cannot be rendered safe by any art that it must be destroyed, or that it will destroy all Europe that to destroy that enemy, by some means or other, the force opposed to it should be made to bear some analogy and resemblance to the force and spirit which that system exerts that war ought to be made against it in its vulnerable parts. These are my inferences. In one word, with this Republic nothing independent can co-exist.

There is, Burke lamented, no France anymore. Rather, what was France is long gone, and those who control it now do so as an occupying force. Should the British fail to stop this, such will be the fate of the world.

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Edmund Burke - History

mid-13c., "something heavy heaviness," from heavy (adj.). Theatrical sense of "villain" is 1880, short for heavy villain (1843), heavy leading man (1849) or similar phrases.

city in California, named c. 1866 for George Berkeley (1685-1753), Bishop of Cloyne, who denied the objective reality of the material world. The college there opened in 1873. The surname (also Barclay ) is the birch-tree wood or clearing. The transuranic element berkelium (1950) is named for the laboratory there, where it was discovered. It does not occur naturally.

late 13c., "something which strikes with a loud, sharp noise," agent noun from clap (v.). Meaning "tongue of a bell" is from late 14c. Old English had clipur . Meaning "hinged board snapped in front of a camera at the start of filming to synchronize picture and sound" is from 1940.

European bird of prey, inferior hawk ( Milvus ictinus , but applied elsewhere to similar birds), Old English cyta , probably imitative of its cry (compare ciegan "to call," German Kauz "screech owl"). Of persons who prey on others, 1550s.

The toy kite , a light frame covered with paper or cloth, is first so-called 1660s, from its way of hovering in the air like a bird. The dismissive invitation to go fly a kite is attested by 1942, American English, probably tracing to the popular song of the same name (lyrics by Johnny Burke), sung by Bing Crosby in "The Star Maker" (1939):

*man- (2) Proto-Indo-European root meaning "hand."

It forms all or part of: amanuensis command commando commend countermand demand Edmund emancipate legerdemain maintain manacle manage manciple mandamus mandate manege maneuver manicure manifest manipulation manner manque mansuetude manual manubrium manufacture manumission manumit manure manuscript mastiff Maundy Thursday mortmain Raymond recommend remand Sigismund .

It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Hittite maniiahh- "to distribute, entrust" Greek mane "hand," Latin manus "hand, strength, power over armed force handwriting," mandare "to order, commit to one's charge," literally "to give into one's hand" Old Norse mund "hand," Old English mund "hand, protection, guardian," German Vormund "guardian" Old Irish muin "protection, patronage."

Spenserian (adj.) 1817, from Edmund Spenser (c. 1552-1599), Elizabethan poet (for the origin of the surname, see Spencer ). Spenserian stanza , which he employed in the "Faerie Queen," consists of eight decasyllabic lines and a final Alexandrine, with rhyme scheme ab ab bc bcc .

"The measure soon ceases to be Spenser's except in its mere anatomy of rhyme-arrangement" [Elton, "Survey of English Literature 1770-1880," 1920] it is the meter in Butler's "Hudibras," Scott's "Lady of the Lake," and notably the "Childe Harold" of Byron, who found (quoting Beattie) that it allowed him to be "either droll or pathetic, descriptive or sentimental, tender or satirical, as the humour strikes me for, if I mistake not, the measure which I have adopted admits equally of all these kinds of composition."

twentieth letter of the English alphabet in the Phoenician alphabet the corresponding sign was the 22nd and last everything after T in the modern alphabet represents European alterations or additions. The sound has been consistent throughout its history.

In Late Latin and Old French, -t- before -e- and -i- acquired the "s" value of -c- and words appeared in both spellings ( nationem/nacionem ) and often passed into Middle English with a -c- ( nacioun ). In most of these the spelling was restored to a -t- by or in the period of early Modern English, but sorting them out took time (Edmund Coote's "English Schoole-maister" (1596) noted malicious/malitious ) and a few ( space, place, coercion, suspicion ) resisted the restoration.

To cross one's t's (and dot one's i's) "to be exact" is attested from 1849. Phrase to a T "exactly, with utmost exactness" is recorded from 1690s, though the exact signification remains uncertain despite much speculation. The measuring tool called a T-square (sometimes suggested as the source of this) is recorded by that name only from 1785. The T-cell (1970) so called because they are derived from the thymus . As a medieval numeral, T represented 160. A T was formerly branded on the hand of a convicted thief.

late 12c., "loss, lack " c. 1200, "regret occasioned by loss or absence," from Old English miss "absence, loss," from source of missan "to miss" (see miss (v.)). Meaning "an act or fact of missing a being without" is from late 15c. meaning "a failure to hit or attain" is 1550s.

Phrase a miss is as good as a mile (1761) was originally an inch, in a miss, is as good as an ell (1610s see ell ). To give (something) a miss "to abstain from, avoid" is attested by 1919, perhaps from earlier use of the term in billiards, "to avoid hitting the object ball" (1807).

"word by which a person or thing is denoted," Old English nama , noma "name, reputation," from Proto-Germanic *naman- (source also of Old Saxon namo , Old Frisian nama , Old High German namo , German Name , Middle Dutch name , Dutch naam , Old Norse nafn , Gothic namo "name"), from PIE root *no-men- "name."

Meaning "a famous person" is from 1610s ( man of name "man of distinction" is from c. 1400). Meaning "one's reputation, that which is commonly said of a person" is from c. 1300. As a modifier meaning "well-known," it is attested by 1938.

In the name of "in behalf of, by authority of," used in invocations, etc., is by late 14c. Name-day "the day sacred to the saint whose name a person bears" is by 1721. Name brand "product made by a well-known company" is from 1944. Name-dropper "person who seeks to impress others by mentioning well-known persons in a familiar way" is by 1947. Name-child , one named out of regard for another, is attested by 1830. The name of the game "the essential thing or quality" is from 1966 to have one's name in lights "be a famous performer" is by 1908.


Edmund Burke and the Birth of Traditional Conservatism

Edmund Burke (1729-1797) is one of the philosophical fountainheads of modern conservatism. But he didn’t start out that way.

Edmund Burke (1729-1797) is the philosophical fountainhead of modern conservatism. But he didn’t start out that way. The Irish-born politician started as a fiery Whig, a voice for American independence and for Dissenters and radicals at home in Great Britain. He stood against slavery and prosecuted the head of the British East India Company for corruption. Then he met the French Revolution, and his views seemed to change abruptly.

His famous pamphlet Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790) manifested what Thomas Jefferson called a “revolution in Mr. Burke.” Friends who were dumbstruck by the Reflections’s diatribe against Unitarians and Jews, not to mention the French, and his allusions to lunatics, criminals, and cannibals, even thought Burke might be temporarily deranged.

But was it, indeed, the French Revolution that caused “an abrupt political tack from advocating parliamentary reform, religious toleration, and American liberty“? Or was Burke’s critique of the French Revolution, as Burke himself sometimes argued, “first and foremost a parable for the English of his day”? Historian McCalman argues that understanding Burke’s domestic experience is key to explaining his transformation.

According to McCalman, Burke’s radical transformation was greatly fanned, if not sparked, by the Gordon Riots of 1780. Named after Lord George Gordon, the firebrand head of the Protestant Association (and onetime friend of Burke), this chaotic political uprising essentially scared the reformer out of Burke.

Centered in London but manifesting throughout Britain, the uprising was eventually suppressed by the military, but not before hundreds died. All this was a response to a parliamentary law that had attempted reduce official discrimination against Catholics by lifting some of the eighty-year old anti-Catholic laws. These laws were little enforced by 1780, but their formal weakening by Parliament aroused old prejudices and were eagerly exploited by rabble-rousers like Gordon.

Gordon’s uprising wasn’t just about religion, however. It had populist economic strands, appealing to artisan and middling classes against the Crown and aristocracy. Yet it manifested itself as an apocalyptic, millenarian, neo-Puritanism that turned reform into a burning cross led by a howling mob.

Gordon and Burke had started as friends and collaborators, working in Parliament as its two poorest members. They were both, McCalman argues, types of extremists, but separated by the “ancient allegiance and discourse of Protestant antipopery.” So by the time of the pogrom-like insurrection that bears his name, Gordon was calling Burke the chief enemy of the “Protestant Cause.” During the Riot, Burke had to defend his London home and himself from what he later called “the swinish multitude.” The experience, unsurprisingly, put the fear of “King Mob,” a word born in the Riots, into him.

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Condemning the demagogues and pamphleteers who stirred up that mob, Burke wrote that they “fill them with nothing but a violent hatred of the religion of other people, and of course, with a hatred of their persons and so, by a very natural progression they led men to a destruction of their goods and houses, and attempts on their lives.” Only the military power of the Crown could help, decided Burke, a perspective that would have once been anathema to a Whig.

Long before the French Revolution descended with the guillotine into the Reign of Terror of 1793-94, Burke was well on his way to being what McCalman calls “a prophet of counterrevolution.” Opposed to Gordon-esque, “threatening new romantic-revolutionary” figures arising on the Continent and in England, Burke moved right before the French even divided politics into a left and a right. Radicals and visionaries who unleashed the mob, intentionally or not, were more than just threats to public safety according to Burke, they were threats to the order of civilization itself.


We have the following statements in Burke's writings:

They [leaders of previous revolutions] were not like Jew brokers contending with each other who could best remedy with fraudulent circulation and depreciated paper the wretchedness and ruin brought on by their degenerate councils.

We have in London very respectable persons of the Jewish nation, whom we will keep but we have of the same tribe others of a very different description, - housebreakers, and receivers of stolen goods, and forgers of paper currency, more than we can conveniently hang."

In Burke's Reflections we see a deliberate blurring between family, land, country, loyalty and religion, which raised the question whether Jews can become loyal subjects.

So it seems fair to say that his views on Jews were pretty prejudiced.

On the other hand, he did condemn the British mistreatment of the Jews of St. Eustatius during the American revolution:

If Britons were so injured, Britons have armies and laws to fly to for the protection and justice. But the Jews have no such power and no such friend to depend upon. Humanity then must become their protector.


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1 The following is roughly the relation of this essay to the standard essays on Burke's thought: (1) This essay opposes the view of Morley , John in Edmund Burke: A Historical Study ( London , 1867 ), pp. 20 – 23 Google Scholar , 150–151, 309–310, that Burke is a kind of utilitarian, and goes beyond Morley to explain, by reference to Burke's views of history, why he, pp. 49–50, finds Burke always confounding “existing usages and traditions … with a moral and just equilibrium.” (2) John MacGunn, perhaps the best commentator on Burke's politics, treats of Burke's view of history more extensively than any other writer but many of Burke's historical notions are not made explicit, and I think the present essay solves more clearly than does MacCunn's the central problem: the reconciliation of Burke's notions of “organic” and providential national development and of man's mind as a proximate efficient cause of change. See his The Political Philosophy of Burke ( London , 1913 ), pp. 50 – 67 Google Scholar , 86–91, 101–103. (3) Alfred Cobban believes that in Burke the “reason [of the rationalists] is replaced by utility, and for utility Burke reads history.” See Edmund Burke and the Revolt against the Eighteenth Century ( London , 1929 ), pp. 85 – 96 Google Scholar , where he briefly formulates Burke's view of history. This essay, in emphasizing Burke's belief in free will, denies Cobban's claim that Burke says “what has been must have been ordained by God,” that is, it denies Cobban's claim that Burke equated Providence and history. (4) It refutes Charles E. Vaughan's principal contention that “it was because Burke never reached the conception of progress that the principles of justice and expediency jostle each other uneasily in his system.” See Studies in the History of Political Philosophy ( Manchester , 1939 ), II, 59 Google Scholar . It does so by developing Burke's theory of progress, which relates abstract right and historical development it refutes Vaughan's contention that Burke's “appeal to the Constitution is only one form among many of the arguments from expedience” (ibid., p. 13). (5) This essay amplifies Ernest Barker's fine but brief account of what he calls the “ultimate foundation of Burke's philosophy,” Burke's notion of providential historical development. See Essays on Government ( Oxford , 1945 ), pp. 233 –34Google Scholar . It also explains what Barker means by designating Burke's thought as “historical romanticism” (ibid., p. 226). (6) This essay takes partial issue with Strauss , Leo , Natural Right and History ( Chicago , 1953 )Google Scholar , by denying that Burke failed to recognize the “ultimate superiority of theory,” that is, natural right, and by denying that Burke “secularized” history, that is, saw in all events the will of God fulfilled (ibid., pp. 311–12, 317–18). (7) This essay explains how Burke's moral values, which Parkin , Charles in The Moral Basis of Burke's Political Thought ( Cambridge University Press , 1956 )Google Scholar emphasizes, are realized in the historical process. Parkin develops correctly but insufficiently Burke's view of history (ibid., pp. 121–23, 125–30) this essay may be considered as an explanation of the first seven lines in the last chapter of Parkin's book.

2 Fueter , Eduard , Histoire de I'historiographie moderne , trans. Jeanmaire , Emile ( Paris , 1914 ), pp. 524 –25Google Scholar . See also Croce , Benedetto , Theory and History of Historiography , trans. Ainslie , D. ( London , 1921 ), p. 31 Google Scholar .

8 Burke , Edmund , Correspondence of the Right Honourable Edmund Burke , eds. William , Charles , Fitzwilliam , Earl , and Bourke , Sir Richard ( London , 1844 ), II , 162 –63 — henceforth cited as CorrGoogle Scholar .

4 The Works of the Right Honorable Edmund Burke ( Boston , 1871 ), IX , 350 henceforth the volume and page numbers will be put within parentheses in the text and the edition cited as Works in the footnotesGoogle Scholar .

5 For further indications of his recognition of the enlightenment and refinement of his age see Works, II, 406.

6 Hansard's Parliamentary History, XIX, 202 XXII, 222 (henceforth cited as Hansard) and especially Works, II, 389–90.


Watch the video: Conservatism of Edmund Burke Richard Bourke (July 2022).


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