Edmund Burke Essay

733 WordsNov 11, 20143 Pages
‘Burke is a conservative thinker and therefore opposed to change.’ DISCUSS ‘We must not attempt to fly, when we can scarcely pretend to creep.’ The words of Burke himself seem almost apt for describing the caution with which one must to approach this essay title. At first glance Burkes championing of the prejudices of his forefathers combined with he’s fierce criticism of the French Revolution, seem damming evidence to support the view that he was a strong opponent of change. However, this conclusion seems to be unjust. Robert Peel suggests conservatism can be described as ‘changing what you have to in order to preserve what you can’. If we accept this premise we can disregard the conclusion that Burke was of not of the opinion that change must be avoided altogether. Therefore it could be suggested that the discussion perhaps lies in how Burkes conservative and theological ideology has shaped he’s opinion on change. And how he attempts to justify the degree to which change is beneficial to a society. One will approach the discussion by considering fundamental concepts outlined in Burkes work. Which all appear to centre on Burke’s key belief ‘Each contract of each particular state is but a clause in the great primeval contract of eternal society’. Suggesting that Burkes opinion is, it is the job of no state to destroy what has gone before, or attempt to start again, but to simply build upon the wisdom of the ages. Therefore although change is necessary it must be done with a great deal of ‘prudence.’ Whilst at first glance Burke’s work may appear contradictory to itself. Particularly if we consider he’s views on revolution. When we consider his ideology we see it becomes more simplistic to unpick Burke’s views on change. There major themes that run throughout Burkes work. Burke believes that tradition should be prioritised over reason, that reason therefore is

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