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Edmund Burke.pdf

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Political Science
Sascha Maicher

Burke is one of the earliest conservative thinkers.  Thinks reason isn't as powerful as enlightenment thinkers do. Because of this, we are limited in our understanding of the world.  Citizens are always of a certain historical period, and limited by wherever they were. o Understanding our period of history is important to understanding other things. o Wants people to realize that things will work themselves out o Custom and tradition are the way to go.  French Revolution in 1789 is a turning point o Attempt to put enlightenment ideas into action o More than just a change of regime, but a fundamental change in the way society is run. o Quite a lot of bloodshed o Ideals of freedom and equality were constantly referenced. o Number of thinkers emerged who were critical of these principles; Burke was one of them.  Suspicious of any rationalist political theory, especially if it's one that will lead to the destruction of an established order; abstract thinking is not being aware of the conditions of the time  If rationality can only go so far, then utopias are doomed to fail  We must find a way to protect ourselves from the worst rather than strive for the best  Calls the ideas surrounding the French revolution a "monstrous fiction" (pg 554)  Few things o The men have unrealistic goals going into the french revolution and they will be disappointed o No hope of eliminating inequality, so having people dream of it will make them bitter; inequality is part of the universal order a things. They're not just not a problem, but in the end they produce a better order. o Order was created to benefit everyone, and if you are slaving away, then it is good for you. The aristocrats aren't any happier.  Important ideas that must be taken importantly and addressed o Says people must recognize what institutions do for us and we shouldn't change them; if we do change them, they must be a gradual change, not a revolution.  Deism: the idea that you can achieve salvation on your own, and you can have a personal relationship with God. As long as you're a good person and do what God says, that's all that's needed to be saved. o This would be opposed to the power of the Church because Catholicism requires talking to God to somebody else deemed to be closer to God (high priests, pope, etc) o This would mean that for those born out of the Catholic tradition, they would be going to hell because they would not have been exposed to the Church; Burke is okay with this because that is the natural order of things;
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