Stuff I Should Have Read in College: Edmund Burke

Reflections on the Revolution in France.

As a knee-jerk liberal, I’ve decided I need to understand (finally) what makes conservatives tick.  So reading Burke is a prelude to reading Corey Robin’s book.

When I was growing up, conservatives were the ones opposing civil rights laws in the name of states’ rights.  Even to my dim adolescent mind, this seemed to be a case of people trying to protect their own privileges under the guise of some supposed political principle.  My basic attitude towards such people hasn’t changed much since then.  Am I wrong?

I can understand libertarianism.  Government can be oppressive.  It can be stupid.  We don’t want any more government than we need.  People’s idea of what we need will differ.

But conservatism is different.  It’s supposedly about preserving what worked in the past.  But why?  You don’t necessarily want to change too quickly, but what’s unjust is unjust.  The fact that it has been unjust for decades or centuries doesn’t change the fact of the injustice.

Anyway, I’ve only gotten through a few pages.  So far, a lot of throat-clearing.

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