This new Conservative Government should learn from the wisdom of Burke

Jan 10, 2020 by

by Michael Nazir-Ali, Conservative Home:

Following the convincing Conservative victory in December’s general election, there has been a veritable flood of prescriptions about what the new government must do.These have ranged from reforming the inherent left-wing and libertarian bias in many institutions, quangos and ‘at a distance bodies’, funded by the State, to a radical overhaul of the civil service and of Parliament itself.

This is well and good and to be expected after such a sweeping victory but what has not yet been asked about is the moral vision which should underpin reform. Without an overarching vision, reform, if it takes place at all, will be piecemeal, for momentary advantage and unprincipled.

The young scholar, Samuel Burgess, has reminded us in two excellent books of the legacy of Edmund Burke – as much a founding father of conservatism as any. Burke’s main objection to the French Revolution was that it overthrew, history, custom and religious values in national life in favour of ‘pure reason’.

Burke did not believe, and nor should we, that such confidence in human reason, especially of one generation, was justified. The descent of the revolution into a bloodbath showed how right he had been.

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