CONSERVATIVE CANT GETS OLD
BURKE'S LAW IS NO LONGER VALID
"State Of The Union | Barack Obama"
A rousing rebuttal to the Right, after forty years of failure from them.
Same Tired Two Hundred Year Old Tory Twaddle Is All The Right Wing Has To Offer
The Great-Grandad of all conservatives was English Whig politician Edmund Burke. Burke was an Irishman who called himself an Englishman, son of a Catholic who converted to Anglicanism for political, financial and professional reasons, a go-along to get along kinda guy, like most "conservatives," with no real loyalties. His claim to conservative fame is based upon his opposition to the French Revolution, which was not exactly a courageous or unpopular stand in monarchist, francophobe Great Britain. He called the French "atheists and tyrannical democrats, given to foul, unnatural vice." (Sound familiar?) Some of his fellow Whigs were pro-Jacobin, and regarded Burke as a Tory.
While at Trinity College, Dublin, Burke started the world's first fraternity, the College Historical Society, hence, perhaps, the popularity with today's aging neo-con frat-boys. A failed lawyer, he took to punditry, practicing the conservative art of reductio ad absurdum on his enemies, rather than honestly debating them. (Bullet train to Vegas, anyone?) He wrote only one actual philosophical tract in his entire life, before he was eighteen; then it was all just politics.
After sucking up to a member of the British aristocracy, he was given a safe seat in the House of Commons from which to bloviate. In that position, he exalted Party over King and Country. He claimed that he represented himself in Parliament, and not his constituents, by Divine Right. He championed "free trade" over fair trade, in opposition to the interests of his own constituency. His Party presided over the loss of the American War of Independence and the Crown's possessions in the Colonies. He delighted in carving up His Majesty's Government, and putting public money into private hands, especially bankers'. Like Newt Gingrich & Ken Starr, his endless investigations, trials and attacks on his political opponents were so vile, personal, unbalanced and violent that they actually created sympathy for his victims, as happened with Starr & Gingrich's victim, Bill Clinton. He could have been a modern, er, contemporary, uh, living, oh, well, a Republican.
Burke claimed that Englishmen's liberties were not created by or won with their own unique individual hearts and minds but came from merely being born English; from tradition and ancient legal documents and not from any new declarations or manifestos based on new realities. Burke was a strict constructionist; a fundamentalist. In his mind, freedom was a gift from the past, not a product of our own labors in the present. And only Englishmen were entitled to English liberties, there being no universal rights of man or connections between men of different nations, according to Burke, or Scalia today.
It was Burke who wrote, "We fear God, we look up with awe to kings; with affection to parliaments; with duty to magistrates; with reverence to priests; and with respect to nobility." A real boot-licking, cap-doffing, forelock-tugging ass-kisser. And good at it, too. (Hey, it's a living. Just ask George Will.)
He also claimed that general prejudices and attitudes are superior to any individual's ideas and philosophy: "Prejudice", Burke claimed, "is of ready application in the emergency; it previously engages the mind in a steady course of wisdom and virtue, and does not leave the man hesitating in the moment of decision, sceptical, puzzled, and unresolved. Prejudice renders a man's virtue his habit." That's what conservative lynch-mobs believe, to this very day.
Burke rejected any notion of a malleable, negotiable or updatable social contract, claiming that the social contract included our obligations to the dead and the unborn which should not nor could not be readily changed. Louis XVI was a big fan, until he lost his head for embodying such attitudes.
Burke's reputation seems based entirely upon his popularity among the high and mighty, the old and entrenched, the rich and powerful, then and now. His opponents included Thomas Paine, Mary Wollstonecraft, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, all much better known names today, and far more influential in the making of modern nations. It is mainly his opposition to wage and price controls which survives today among his followers, being so much in agreement with their inherited prejudices and interests, as Burke would have it.
Edmund Burke did, however, oppose capital punishment and brutalization of homosexuals. He also opposed authoritarianism, militarization and imperialism, and championed the cause of the oppressed Irish minority and struggling Revolutionaries in the New World; but you don't hear much about that from today's cons. His most famous quote, "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil, is for good men to do nothing," was never written or spoken by Burke. No one knows who said it. Perhaps Bartlett himself.
Today, Obama's very existance repudiates Burke: He has transcended his cultural background here in Hawaii, which I know intimately, and is trying to forge something new; not more deterministic conservative crap. And that is what a majority of the electorate voted for: Change. Not something Burke, or any conservative ever was comfortable with at all.
Only conservatives today claim Burke. They can have him. In his life and in his work, he was a servile and self-serving ruthless political hack, like all conservatives.
"Edmund Burke (1729 - 1797)"
A bit of background.
' Burke was a hugely influential Anglo-Irish politician, orator and political thinker, notable for his strong support for the American Revolution and his fierce opposition to the French Revolution. Edmund Burke was born in Dublin on 12 January 1729, the son of a solicitor. He was educated at Trinity College Dublin and then went to London to study law. He quickly gave this up and after a visit to Europe settled in London, concentrating on a literary and political career. He became an MP in 1765. He was closely involved in debates over limits to the power of the king, pressing for parliamentary control of royal patronage and expenditure. '
STANFORD ENCYCLOPEDIA OF PHILOSOPHY
Here's the best the conservatives have to offer. Feh.
' Edmund Burke, author of Reflections on the Revolution in France, is known to a wide public as a classic political thinker: it is less well understood that his intellectual achievement depended upon his understanding of philosophy. The present essay explores the character and significance of this for his thought. '
"American Conservatives "
The trouble with conservatives is Burke.
' The 20th Century conservative movement collapsed because their patron saint Edmund Burke was an 18th Century British elitist whose philosophy was ill-suited to address democracy, the intergenerational transfer of values, mediocre modern bureaucracies and written constitutions. Not surprisingly, the reason why Americans have recently rejected American conservatives at the ballot box is … how they have governed. The first American problem with Burke is that he was a conservative elitist -- favoring the British Monarchy, the House of Lords and the landed gentry vis-à-vis a self-governing people. Burke led the elitists to defend their prerogatives and to prudently exercise their collective duty to the people. Burke opposed truly democratic movements – even abroad. For example, Burke in 1790 opposed the democratic revolution against France’s monarchy – before it happened. Unlike the British people and French people (in 1790), the American people from their beginnings in their United States Constitution have been entitled to govern themselves. So, from the get-go, Burke’s elitist philosophy is ill-suited for an American people that are entitled to democratically govern themselves. Second, American conservatives tend toward the institutional status quo – the "wisdom of the ages" for Burke. However, unlike Britain’s wisdom of the ages, America’s wisdom of the ages rests not in the government’s institutions but with the people as they transfer their values to the next generations. For Americans, governmental institutions with their self-promotion, mediocrity and often out-dated ideology are an obstacle, not conduit, for the intergenerational transfer of the people’s values. Americans have come to understand that American conservatives, out of an abundance of caution, do not give the people the governmental institutions they want. '
"Edmund Burke Quotes"
Ayn Rand in the XVIII Century.
' A spirit of innovation is generally the result of a selfish temper and confined views. People will not look forward to posterity, who never look backward to their ancestors. '
"Books By Edmund Burke"
Read all about it.
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