Sunday, November 23, 2003


What conservatism means: Owen Harries (a fellow Australian and a former colleague of mine at the University of New South Wales) offers a useful review of the thought of Edmund Burke, long one of conservatism’s most influential writers and also, of course, a friend of the American revolutionaries. I liked several points: That Burke wrote BEFORE the French revolution degenerated into tryanny so was wise indeed to predict that tyranny; that he was an experienced practical politician rather than a theorist when he wrote so knew how people seeking privilege and influence really operate; that Burke was emphatic that change was necessary but just wanted it to be done carefully; that he consistently opposed abuse of power, no matter from where the abuse came.

Burke has been the thinker most quoted by conservatives for around 200 years but according to the usual Leftist view, the fact that Burke favoured change would make him not a conservative! It shows their gross ignorance of conservative thought. But of course they just KNOW what is the case -- no need for any reading.


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