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Notes from Chapter 2 – Section 7

Edmund Burke did not seek to impede change, but slow it and make the right change in the right fashion

– His influence has stopped the Jacobins of Britain and America

“We venerate what we cannot presently understand…” (65)

– The first principle of conservatism is ancestral wisdom that allows for Providence to work through men

– Economics & Politics are not independent of each other and derive from the current moral order

– Evil in society comes from those who meddle with God’s order

– All of our will and virtue is put towards being civil humans, and less and we slide toward the uncivil society

Radical innovations would cut us off from our past, destroying the immemorial bonds that join generation to generation;” (66)

– Intellectual fallacies are refuted by adhering to right opinions. To battle them we must hold true to principles and let ideological diseases run their course

“Men are saved from anarchy by veneration of the divine and fidelity to prescriptive wisdom.” (66)

  • Our order is only part of His order and to maintain that requires reverence for Him
    • Without reverence life is a struggle between those who seek power and who want to keep it
    • Order is maintained by obedience to God and adherence to what Providence tells us
  • After order come the spiritual and intellectual values
    • Radicalism seeks to wipe out any distinctions of emotion and sensation in favor of mediocrity pulling men back toward primitive ways
    • With our higher values and leaders to espouse them, man becomes stupid and indifferent to anything higher
  • Anarchy is prevented by acceptance and respect of a natural aristocracy among men. Without which the tyrant can operate in the name of the “people”
    • “Elites” that adhere to a creed taught to them are dangerous
    • Society cannot be molded and shaped like a mathematical contraption. This breaks the bond between generations and the bond between our order and His order

“This must be a true natural aristocracy, rather than an administrative corps of ambitious and clever reformers.” (68)

“To [the reformer], the will, the wish, the want, the liberty, the toil, the blood of individuals is nothing. Individuality is left out of their scheme of government. The state is all in all. Everything is referred to the production of force; afterwards, everything is trusted to the use of it. It is military in its principle, in dominion and conquest for its sole objects; dominion over minds and proselytism, over bodies by arms.” (68)

  • Kirk, Russell. The Conservative Mind: From Burke to Eliot – Seventh Revised Edition. Washington DC: Regnery Publishing Inc., 2001

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