Edmund Burke on “The Rights of Man” (Reflections 4)

I discuss Edmund Burke’s views on the “Rights of Man” as advocated by the French Revolution, in contrast with what Burke thought of as the rights of human beings living in various nations and communities. Burke critiques the idea of universal natural rights in favor of inherited rights which can be modified and applied differently over time in response to changing conditions and needs. Burke does supply a list of things that people deserve as members of society and puts them forward as the real rights of men. … More Edmund Burke on “The Rights of Man” (Reflections 4)

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 … More Edmund Burke’s Noble Lie (Reflections 3)

Edmund Burke: Is Revolution Ever OK? (Reflections 2)

The first part of Edmund Burke’s Reflections on the Revolution of France takes on England’s Revolution Society and Rev. Richard Price, whom Burke considered a dangerous and radical agitator. We begin to see that Burke does not like mixing religion and politics, and he dislikes politics practiced with religious zeal. He argues that there is a big difference between the Glorious Revolution in England in 1688 and the French Revolution of 1789. Is he right? … More Edmund Burke: Is Revolution Ever OK? (Reflections 2)

Introduction to Edmund Burke and Reflections on the Revolution in France

Why read Edmund Burke? In this introduction I explain that his classical conservatism is more of a way of thinking than it is an ideology, and as such it is flexible. It is also practical, and we need more of that in a time in which too many waste their efforts in theorizing for its own sake (or worse) just attacking the “other side.” … More Introduction to Edmund Burke and Reflections on the Revolution in France

What is Freedom?

That means that those whose primary focus is ideological or economic, who spend most of their mental energy defending their earthly tribe or figuring out how to make the right money moves, are not free. Conversion can have the liberating effect of realizing the supremacy of God over all things human. All things human can come to seem inevitably partial, flawed, mixed. … More What is Freedom?

Chantal Mouffe, Carl Schmitt, and the Critique of Enlightenment Liberalism (Video-2)

In this second in a series on Chantal Mouffe’s ideas in The Return of the Political, I discuss her use of Carl Schmitt’s critique of liberalism and relate her ideas to authors she draws from, such as Leo Strauss, Isaiah Berlin, Michael Oakeshott, Charles Taylor, Michael Walzer and Hans Georg Gadamer. I try to get an initial handle on her preferred “agonistic pluralism” as an answer to the question–can we respect particular values and traditions enough to compete with them rather than seeking to destroy them? I relate her line of argument to my understanding of Carl Jung’s theory of political ideology as “ideological possession” — the projection of the shadow. … More Chantal Mouffe, Carl Schmitt, and the Critique of Enlightenment Liberalism (Video-2)

Chantal Mouffe, Carl Schmitt, and the Critique of Enlightenment Liberalism (2-Audio)

In this second in a series on Chantal Mouffe’s ideas in The Return of the Political, I discuss her use of Carl Schmitt’s critique of liberalism and relate her ideas to authors she draws from, such as Leo Strauss, Isaiah Berlin, Michael Oakeshott, Charles Taylor, Michael Walzer and Hans Georg Gadamer. I try to get an initial handle on her preferred “agonistic pluralism” as an answer to the question–can we respect particular values and traditions enough to compete with them rather than seeking to destroy them? I relate her line of argument to my understanding of Carl Jung’s theory of political ideology as “ideological possession” — the projection of the shadow. … More Chantal Mouffe, Carl Schmitt, and the Critique of Enlightenment Liberalism (2-Audio)

The Problem of the “Common Man”: Against Dogmatic Certainty (3-Audio)

Both classical conservative Edmund Burke and democratic socialist Eduard Bernstein were very skeptical about whether the “common man” of their time was up to the task of real political leadership. Even their reasons for being skeptical are similar. But, the differences are also stark, and they bring back the nature versus nurture debate. Bernstein thinks that the deficiencies of the working class that make them not yet ready for pure socialism have to do with their environment and they can be overcome. Burke is pretty sure that human nature expresses itself in a spectrum of ability and that some people will always be unfit to rule. … More The Problem of the “Common Man”: Against Dogmatic Certainty (3-Audio)

The Problem of the “Common Man”: Against Dogmatic Certainty (3-Video)

Both classical conservative Edmund Burke and democratic socialist Eduard Bernstein were very skeptical about whether the “common man” of their time was up to the task of real political leadership. Even their reasons for being skeptical are similar. But, the differences are also stark, and they bring back the nature versus nurture debate. Bernstein thinks that the deficiencies of the working class that make them not yet ready for pure socialism have to do with their environment and they can be overcome. Burke is pretty sure that human nature expresses itself in a spectrum of ability and that some people will always be unfit to rule. … More The Problem of the “Common Man”: Against Dogmatic Certainty (3-Video)