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Political Science 1020E Lecture Notes - Joseph De Maistre, One-Nation Conservatism

Political Science
Course Code
Political Science 1020E
Charles Jones

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Lecture: Conservatism Part 2 Nov. 8 th
, 2011
Edmund Burke
Conservatism in the 19th century
Conservatism in the 20th century
Read pgs. 127-150 B&D
Which is NOT a characteristic of liberalism?
a. state neutrality
b. emphasis on rights
c. toleration
d. recognition of pluralism
e. deference to tradition
Burke 1729-1797
Burke’s Career
- an Irishman in the British parliament
- most famous critic of the French Revolution of 1789
- against the revolutionaries’ views of human nature, society, freedom, revolution
and government
Human Nature and Society
- creatures of habit, custom, tradition
- humans are not perfectible or changeable by social engineering
- against the idea of atomistic, isolated individuals
- organic conception of society
- against the liberal, legalistic, business-like social contract
- society is not created by our consent
- sacred intergenerational covenant
- freedom is not necessarily good
- rights are concrete, not abstract and universal
- ordered liberty to act in accordance with society’s laws and traditions
Revolution and Reform
- revolution, radicalism, innovation are all mistaken
- reform: careful, gradual, recognizes complexity of society
- prefer “prejudice” to abstract reason
Burke on Government
- reflective, responsible, representative
- trustees who prefer their own judgment to the people’s opinion
- natural aristocracy and little platoons
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