Edmund Burke

Edmund Burke (January 12, 1729 – July 9, 1797) is known as the “modern founder of political conservatism”. He was a philosopher, an author, an orator, a statesman and served in the House of Commons of Great Britain as a member of the Whig Party for many years. Later, his opposition to the French Revolution led to him becoming the leading figure of the conservative Whigs also known as the “Old Whigs”.

On Being Conservative

By |2019-09-19T14:33:33-05:00March 28th, 2018|Categories: Conservatism, Edmund Burke, Family, Jane Austen, Marriage, Philosophy, Robert Nisbet, T.S. Eliot|

To be a conservative is first and foremost to defend or to conserve something good: to protect family, neighborhood, local community, and region… Of the many attempts to define conservatism in recent decades, one of the most compelling is Robert Nisbet’s: “The essence of this body of ideas is the protection of the social order—family, [...]

Reflecting on Edmund Burke’s “Reflections”

By |2019-10-08T17:11:09-05:00March 13th, 2018|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Civil Society, Conservatism, Edmund Burke, Edmund Burke series by Bradley Birzer, Europe, Featured, History, Revolution, The Imaginative Conservative, Wisdom|

It would be difficult to find a more beautiful republican thought in all of Edmund Burke’s writings than this: “A man full of warm speculative benevolence may wish his society otherwise constituted than he finds it; but a good patriot, and a true politician, always considers how he shall make the most of the [...]

Edmund Burke & the French Revolutionaries

By |2019-07-09T13:30:01-05:00March 7th, 2018|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Conservatism, Edmund Burke, Edmund Burke series by Bradley Birzer, Featured, Revolution|

The French Revolutionaries, Edmund Burke rightly understood, sought not just the overturning of the old, but, critically, they also desired the destruction of the true, the good, and the beautiful. Only by lying about the nature of the human person could they accomplish their goals… One of the most important duties of any good [...]

Edmund Burke’s Counsel on Religious Liberty and Freedom

By |2019-07-23T12:38:20-05:00February 19th, 2018|Categories: Christianity, Edmund Burke, Europe, Featured, Freedom, History, Liberty, Religion, Timeless Essays|

Religion “works,” in Edmund Burke’s view, when it stands apart from the whims of those who practice it. Only then can it enable self-discipline, give meaning, and provide a real sense of the sacred and the sublime in life… Today’s offering in our Timeless Essay series affords our readers the opportunity to join William [...]

Russell Kirk on the Moral Imagination

By |2019-03-19T11:11:55-05:00January 28th, 2018|Categories: Civil Society, Civilization, Conservatism, Culture, Edmund Burke, Film, Moral Imagination, RAK, Russell Kirk|

The principal difficulty of mankind today is the decay of the moral imagination in our civilization… In the spring of 1989, videographer Ken Martinek and I made the trip to Piety Hill to interview Russell about the moral imagination (as first conceived by Edmund Burke and expanded by Dr. Kirk). This concept had held [...]

The Quest for Modern Conservatism

By |2019-04-04T12:04:08-05:00January 28th, 2018|Categories: Alexis de Tocqueville, Bradley J. Birzer, Community, Conservatism, Edmund Burke, History, Robert Nisbet, Russell Kirk|

The job of every conservative is twofold: First, he must fight tirelessly against the centralized, unitary state; second, he must do everything possible to promote that which makes the free society not just an ordered one, but a good one… Prior to the publication of Russell Kirk’s masterful The Conservative Mind in 1953, no [...]

How Power Destroys Community

By |2019-10-10T13:42:05-05:00January 22nd, 2018|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Civil Society, Community, Conservatism, Edmund Burke, History, Robert Nisbet|

Power, in and of itself, has become an “ideology,” according to Robert Nisbet. It is, by its very nature, incapable of understanding nuance… As I had the opportunity to write in my previous essay for The Imaginative Conservative, Oxford University Press gave the grand sociologist and historian of ideas, Robert A. Nisbet, a chance [...]

An Imaginative Whig: Reassessing the Life & Thought of Edmund Burke

By |2019-05-23T13:20:39-05:00January 11th, 2018|Categories: Books, Conservatism, Edmund Burke, History, Ian Crowe, Imagination, Russell Kirk, The Imaginative Conservative|

The challenge for statesmen is to use historical experience as a guide to understanding civilization and then to reconstitute civilization in the specific circumstances of the day. Imagination is essential in the process of reconstitution because it is the human faculty that puts individuals in touch with what is possible… An Imaginative Whig: Reassessing [...]

The Conservatism of Robert Nisbet

By |2019-09-03T18:31:58-05:00January 7th, 2018|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Christopher Dawson, Conservatism, Culture, Edmund Burke, History, Imagination, Irving Babbitt, Religion, Robert Nisbet, Romano Guardini, Russell Kirk, T.S. Eliot, Tradition|

Robert Nisbet, in direct contrast to Russell Kirk, argued that conservatism was purely a modern ideology. For Nisbet, the entire history of conservatism began as a reaction to the French Revolution… When it came to the history of conservatism, the grand sociologist and man of letters, Robert Nisbet, disagreed with the mighty founder of [...]

Edmund Burke, Daniel O’Connell, & Catholic Emancipation in Ireland

By |2019-06-11T16:09:23-05:00December 2nd, 2017|Categories: Catholicism, Christianity, Edmund Burke, Europe, History, Ordered Liberty, Politics, Rule of Law|

Despite their differing political views, the conservative Edmund Burke and the radical Daniel O’Connell played major roles in combatting the suppression of Catholics in eighteenth-century Ireland… In the past couple of decades, the Catholic Church has fallen upon bad times in an Ireland whose overwhelmingly Catholic population had been among the most observant in [...]

Harry Jaffa and the Demise of the Old Republic

By |2019-04-07T10:50:06-05:00October 31st, 2017|Categories: American Republic, Conservatism, Constitution, Declaration of Independence, Edmund Burke, Featured, Foreign Affairs, History, Political Philosophy, Politics, Tradition|

Harry Jaffa’s constitutional history of America’s late-eighteenth-century is not credible nor, in keeping with many of his own pronouncements, is it conservative… The writing of history, as we have learned from authors as diverse as Thucydides, Voltaire, Nietzsche, Butterfield, Collingwood, and Oakeshott can and has been done in strikingly different ways while serving radically [...]

Edmund Burke: Champion of Ordered Liberty

By |2019-06-17T16:50:08-05:00October 23rd, 2017|Categories: Conservatism, Edmund Burke, Liberty|Tags: |

Edmund Burke’s greatest service to liberty was to remind the world that freedom is anchored in a transcendent moral order and that for liberty to flourish, social and per­sonal order and morality must exist, and radical innovations must be shunned… Edmund Burke (1729-1797) is rightly renowned as the father of conservatism. In this bicentennial year [...]

Relentless Rationalists: Creating Hell for Humanity

By |2019-07-09T13:29:46-05:00September 28th, 2017|Categories: Edmund Burke, George Orwell, Imagination, Politics|

The Relentless Rationalist will twist humanity for a so-called greater good, even if it means forcing human faces under a boot and stamping on them forever. Totalitarianism is the only conclusion: hell for the human, paradise for the prophets-turned-gods... “If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—forever.” [...]

The Spirit of American Constitutionalism

By |2019-04-18T13:23:20-05:00September 24th, 2017|Categories: American Founding, American Republic, Constitution, Edmund Burke, Featured, Federalist Papers, John Dickinson, Timeless Essays|

The Constitution described by the Letters of Fabius is a model of prudence and moderation, based not primarily on theoretical arguments, but on experience and an extensive knowledge of history… Today’s offering in our Timeless Essay series affords readers the opportunity to join Gregory S. Ahern as he explores how John Dickinson’s Fabius Letters influenced the Constitutional [...]