Hitchens And Edmund Burke

While I’m blathering on about The Atlantic, I recommend Christopher Hitchens’s review of a new edition of Burke’s Reflections on the Revolution in France. I have not always liked Hitchens’s writing style, which sometimes has veered into too much pompous asperity for my taste. But I love his long-format book reviews like this one.

I also love the fact that he calls Karl Marx “the old bruiser of the British Museum”!

Hitchens reviews the French Revolution and Burke’s expectations of its likely outcomes, and it’s a superb read.

By the way, while on the subject of Burke: my husband said at the breakfast table last weekend that he would like to see the old Whig party reinvigorated, so that we could have some hope of something smacking of political representation. Any takers?

4 thoughts on “Hitchens And Edmund Burke

  1. Lynne, it seems clear to me that your natural home is in the Republican Party. No need for sentimental musings about an ante-bellum party that foundered when its long effort to finesse the slavery issue did.

    The problem in American politics today is that the mechanics of getting elected, and staying elected, have come to overwhelm the business of government. All sorts of new ideas had a chance to move forward beginning in 1981, because Ronald Reagan did not see his campaign and election as the main event. No national politician in either party shares his outlook now — all are focused on the requirements of the campaign. You, and I suspect most of the people you know, don’t have much of a place in their world. They wouldn’t understand your ideas and wouldn’t see how you could help them win their next campaign, and that is the root of the lack of representation you are reporting today.

  2. Steel tariffs, sugar tariffs, farm subsidy, airline bailout and the prescription drug handout are all brought to you by the Republican Party. By no means is the Republican party in its current or historic form (over the last hundred years or so) Whig (or Liberal, in the classic sense).

    There is a good primer on Liberalism at the Acton Institute


    defining Liberalism in the tradition of Saint Thomas Aquinas, Frederic Bastiat, and Gladstone.

    I have often thought that a strong defense of property rights and adherence to free trade are nearly exact opposites of party politics, perhaps leading to an explanation of why there is not a functional Whig party.


  3. Sign me up for the Whig’s mailing list!

    (Keep the telephone number on “do not call”, however …)

  4. I’m an Atlantic subscriber as well, but their leftward leap of late has grown tiresome. I nearly cancelled my subscription over the inanities of their “New America” State of the Union series this year and last.

    As goes the issue of demanding political representation of any sort, it can probably be forgotten until the economic-minded learn to impress the young with the same kinds of truisms that the anti-capital crowds take for granted. As a social experiment, I ventured the property rights argument on some newspaper copy editors. I posted as “lafollette.”

    The anti-capital crowd said, among other things, that democracy is more important that free exchange, the classical liberal tradition is irrelevant today, and that wealth redistribution is not only good, but necessary.

    And these folks control the news that Americans read.

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