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Burkean Touchstones

Burke’s voluminous writings and positions cover a wide gamut of political philosophy.  

However, four topics stand out as touchstones for our Burkean Nation.

Property RightsOrder & StabilityCollective IntellectLiberal Conservatism

Property Rights

Property Rights ensure a healthy society because they provide a rooted self-interest, require the rule of law and foster interconnected citizenship.

 

Property Rights are therefore to be spread, not just respected and preserved.  Indeed, much of the economic dynamism of the United States is due to our well developed and well defended set of property rights.  In contrast, poorly developed and poorly performing countries have poor property rights, a concept best articulated by Peruvian economist Hernando de Soto.

 

Burkeans must therefore be on the hunt for how to spread property rights and on the defense against their abrogation.

Order & Stability

Society can’t advance in any sort of healthy form without Order & Stability.  Indeed, government’s primary role is to ensure the safety of its citizens, which is to say ensuring the order and stability of society.

 

Stability doesn’t preclude societal change.  Rather, it provides a stable platform for societal change, consistent with respect for the Collective Intellect.

 

Societies that lack Order & Stability devolve into clannish, vengeful and overall dysfunctional organisms in which the weak often fall prey to the strong.

Collective Intellect

Burkeans respect the institutions that people have developed over time, e.g., family, religion, civic organizations and representative government. Burkeans recognize that these institutions aren’t perfect or immune from change, but are nonetheless products of the Collective Human Intellect. Thus, they are carriers of accumulated knowledge and practice.

The Collective Intellect evolves much more slowly than social engineers desire. As the result of a Wisdom of the Crowds effect over an extended period of time, it tends to reflect proven means of civilized interaction.

Lack of respect for the Collective Intellect often takes the form of unintended consequences from social engineering.  Indeed, every form of social engineering is a leap into the unknown since the Collective Intellect is rarely knowable to any given individual, even very smart individuals with nothing but best intentions for social change.

Burke wasn’t unalterably opposed to social change. He championed the American Revolution, one of history’s most consequential social changes. He came to that conclusion out of deep respect for the Collective Intellect.

Politically astute citizens of the 21st century should have similar respect.

Liberal Conservatism

Liberal Conservatism sounds like a contradiction in terms nowadays.

 

It's a political philosophy that values liberty in economic affairs, balanced with respect for the Collective IntellectProperty Rights and Order & Stability.

In short, Liberal Conservatism is a synthesis of the principles that made America the world’s first Burkean Nation.

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