Edmund Burke’s Noble Lie (Reflections 3)

After defending the English Revolution of 1688 as a thing of a different and more respectable sort than the French Revolution of 1789, Burke goes on to argue against universal rights in favor of the particular rights of particular people. He believes that people receive their rights through inheritance from past practice, and that the French made a huge mistake to throw away that inheritance and try to invent a universalistic and rational constitution with no precedent. Reading Burke carefully, we begin to see that Burke supports a certain type of hypocrisy as essential for political stability, a noble lie of sorts. In the case of England, the Noble Lie perpetuated by the English parliament was that the Glorious Revolution did not establish parliamentary supremacy and change forever the role of the monarchy, even though it did. The Noble Lie respects the sensibilities of people and does not push people’s imaginations beyond what they can bear, and in doing so, it prevents the snowball effect (if we can do this radical thing, we can do whatever we want) which results in social chaos.

For more from me: https://lauriemjohnson.com/

https://politicalphilosophy.video.blog/

iTunes podcast: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/political-philosophy-dr-laurie-m-johnson/id1473457784

Please fill out this form to be put on the email list for future summer seminars. Summer 2022 will be on Christian Anarchism. https://forms.gle/WxikMpNx1M64GeTEA


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s