Monday, January 30, 2006

Edmund Burke on genuine conservatism

Our institutions are the results of a kind of natural selection: they are the
ones that continue to work. If they falter in our time, they need
reform. Only if they collapse totally or work iniquity under these new
circumstances should they be replaced, for total innovation is a chancy business,
and men's lives are at stake. In guiding and reforming institutions, and
in innovating, if it comes to that, we must be guided by reflection on history,
for that is the way to learn the lessons of the human race.

How many Republicans today would defend this notion? Certainly, the leftist radicals of the 60s undermined many institutions, but now so-called conservatives embrace change just as extreme to root out this "aberration". These "conservatives" do not deserve the appellation--rather they are right called only reactionaries with respectability and power. They have no claim to the mantle of Edmund Burke and the rest of the conservative tradition.


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