Thursday, November 26, 2020

Edmund Burke: The Political Thinker of Modern Age

Edmund Burke is the most important political thinker of the modern age not only because he is the founder of modern conservatism, a movement which, in the last two hundred years, has led to major advancements in almost every country where it has gained support of a significant section of the population, but also because he saw further than most political thinkers of his time. He commented on the problems in the thought of Voltaire and Rousseau in the 1780s and 90s when they were being worshipped as the prophets of “rational” politics by his contemporaries in Europe, and, in his book Reflections on the Revolution in France, he predicted the failure of the French Revolution which was being driven by their ideas. Here’s an excerpt from a letter that Burke wrote in January 1790: "Such masters, such scholars. Who ever dreamt of Voltaire and Rousseau as legislators? The first has the merit of writing agreeably; and nobody has ever united blasphemy and obscenity so happily together. The other was not a little deranged in his intellects, to my almost certain knowledge. But he saw things in bold and uncommon lights, and he was very eloquent.”

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