Edmund Burke (Major Conservative and Libertarian Thinkers)
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
Edmund Burke, 1729-1797, was perceived as leading progressive figure until he published his reaction to the French Revolution, Reflections on the Revolution in France, which he wrote as the Revolution unfolded. This volume places Burke in his historical context and carefully sets out the whole of Burke's philosophical contribution. It not only discusses the reception of Burker by his contemporaries, but also the impact of his ideas on politics and policy today.
cannot abandon his optimism. He thinks the Revolution is a one-off anomaly.10 The conservative Burke seems to have grasped the Revolution’s insidious potential for mutation and reproduction in Burke: The Contradictions of Benevolence 19 terms of a future template. He even, we have just noted, correctly predicted the possibility of its imminent transformation into military dictatorship. What with hindsight we can see, and what Constant shied away from, is that the Revolution in France was in
stronger, as we now know, in the case of the free enterprise industrial economy of which Burke and Smith were as yet unaware, though it was springing up under their feet. Of course, just as some landed proprietors may be corrupt, so may some businessmen. While there are brakes on corruption under the aristocratic mode of governance, when a market economy grows to a higher level, as was to prove Acclaim, Derision and Controversy 111 dramatically the British case in the nineteenth century, the
Oakeshott calls ‘rationalism in politics’ (Grant 1986). This latter is the Cartesian, hubristic philosophy, which, as if there were no yesterdays, sees current inhabitants of the world as fruitfully employed when Acclaim, Derision and Controversy 121 they engage, on the contrary, in isolated, atomistic contemplation of our human lot, without a jot of historical sense or hint of indebtedness. Indeed, they have a habit of dismissing all experience in favour of their own present thought. This is
achieved; it does not look at its main agency: mass education. Mass Education and the Fantasy of Children’s Happiness Our educational arrangements would have greatly offended Burke. We have the wealth and technical means to create high standards of education. Just as Burke would have spotted the moral collapse in our politics, so too would he have homed in on the intimately related collapse in education. Huge numbers of the people who have passed through American and British schools in the last
epistemes’ (Hughes 1993: 69). In teacher education there may have been opponents of the relativist orthodoxy – I myself was a vociferous one (O’Keeffe 1990) – but they mostly kept their heads below the parapet. To question multiculturalism and the related obsessions of anti-racism, feminism, anti-imperialism and so on, was to court promotional and career disaster. Relativism as used today – to mean that there are no genuine hierarchies – is actually misconceived. In the traditional sense the