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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

We Need a Thinker in the Mould of Edmund Burke to Present the Case for a Humane Conservatism

In the UK today people of a truly conservative persuasion do not have a voice or a political party to represent them
 
'The kind of liberal conservatism David Cameron espouses is a mishmash of the good and bad, and is completely divorced from Christian spirituality' (PA)
Ed West’s review of Jesse Norman’s biography of Edmund Burke in the Herald of August 2 gives tantalising glimpses of the great conservative thinker and makes me want to know Burke better, not just his supposed remark, not found in his writings, “Evil flourishes when good men do nothing”.

West comments that “until the French Revolution, Burke was not recognisably ‘Right-Wing’, as it would later be called. He supported Catholic emancipation and argued in favour of conciliation with the American colonies. Burke was not against all change, just extreme change.” He quotes Norman’s interpretation of Burke’s political viewpoint, “For radical change to be genuinely worthwhile, it must bring overwhelming social benefit, or be the product of the most extreme necessity.”

Conservatism means preserving institutions of permanent value – such as the institution of marriage between a man and a woman; and being cautiously open to change when it is clearly an organic process, not imposed from outside – such as the development of the trade union movement. The trouble is that today in the UK, people of conservative persuasion do not have a voice or a political party; as a letter by CM Williams in yesterday’s Telegraph put it: “Mr Cameron is planning for defeat at the coming election, which will herald even more social democratic policies. Where are true Conservatives to go?”


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