Thursday, May 22, 2008

The ACTUAL Burke

When advocates of same-sex 'marriage' claim to be following Edmund Burke, it's useful to know what Burke actually had to say about matters.

First, the essayist's precis:

For the pseudo-Burkeans, the goals are almost always liberal in nature, based on the modern and very un-Burkean idea that the justice of any society consists of the equal treatment and provision of equal political power to people in very unequal situations, i.e., same sex couples and traditional married couples, foreign immigrants and native citizens, the educated and the uneducated. Burke was no egalitarian. In particular, he argued that it was unhelpful to emphasize our “common humanity” in discussing political matters, because group identities and the associated differences in station demanded different treatment in proportion to those differences:

The legislators who framed the ancient republics knew that their business was too arduous to be accomplished with no better apparatus than the metaphysics of an undergraduate, and the mathematics and arithmetic of an exciseman. They had to do with men, and they were obliged to study human nature. They had to do with citizens, and they were obliged to study the effects of those habits which are communicated by the circumstances of civil life. They were sensible that the operation of this second nature on the first produced a new combination; and thence arose many diversities amongst men, according to their birth, their education, their professions, the periods of their lives, their residence in towns or in the country, their several ways of acquiring and of fixing property, and according to the quality of the property itself — all which rendered them as it were so many different species of animals. From hence they thought themselves obliged to dispose their citizens into such classes, and to place them in such situations in the state, as their peculiar habits might qualify them to fill, and to allot to them such appropriated privileges as might secure to them what their specific occasions required, and which might furnish to each description such force as might protect it in the conflict caused by the diversity of interests that must exist and must contend in all complex society; for the legislator would have been ashamed that the coarse husbandman should well know how to assort and to use his sheep, horses, and oxen, and should have enough of common sense not to abstract and equalize them all into animals without providing for each kind an appropriate food, care, and employment, whilst he, the economist, disposer, and shepherd of his own kindred, subliming himself into an airy metaphysician, was resolved to know nothing of his flocks but as men in general.

Actual egalitarianism springs from brotherhood, which of course, implies God; so the denial of God is the root of the faux-brotherhood "egalitarianism."

And Burke didn't have much good to say about atheists--which he recognized in the French Revolution:

We know, and it is our pride to know, that man is by his constitution a religious animal; that atheism is against, not only our reason, but our instincts; and that it cannot prevail long. But if, in the moment of riot and in a drunken delirium from the hot spirit drawn out of the alembic of hell, which in France is now so furiously boiling, we should uncover our nakedness by throwing off that Christian religion which has hitherto been our boast and comfort, and one great source of civilization amongst us and amongst many other nations, we are apprehensive (being well aware that the mind will not endure a void) that some uncouth, pernicious, and degrading superstition might take place of it.

Well, he was right.

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