Friday, March 11, 2011

Conservative or intoxicated with the draught of new power? (by anon)

I am really tired of people calling themselves conservatives when they are radicals overturning tradition and precedent at a breakneck pace in order to pursue abstract ideals.  This is not conservative at all.

Edmund Burke wrote:

“You may proceed by degrees.  We must all obey the great law of change.  It is the most powerful law of nature, and the means perhaps of its conservation.  All we can do, and that human wisdom can do, is to provide that the changes shall proceed by insensible degrees.  This has all the benefits which may be in change, without any of the inconveniences of mutation.  Everything is provided for as it arrives....This gradual course…will prevent men long under depression from being intoxicated with the large draught of new power, which they always abuse with a licentious insolence.  But, wishing, as I do, the change to be gradual and cautious, I would, in my first steps, lean rather to the side of enlargement than restriction.”

Breaking with 50 years of tradition of protecting collective bargaining, ramming the Budget Repair Bill through as Democratic State Senators were barred from entering the building, passing the bill in the Senate with less than two hours notice in a special session, and rejecting more incremental changes (as the union had conceded all of the cuts to benefits demanded by the governor) is not conservative.

The bill was motivated not by the conditions on the ground and the accumulated wisdom of trial and error, but by what Burke derided as “abstract thinking.”   Radical anti-public sector ideologues is a much closer description of the actions in Madison over the past 36 hours.


  1. It may not be conservative, but it is definitely libertarian. I think the general population needs to get educated about the ideology of libertarianism, since this is the intellectual force behind the current demolition of the state.

  2. They're all in bed with Ayn Rand. Scary scary stupid shit. And to think that we even have a student group dedicated to the work of Ayn Rand. It is appropriately (and sadly) called, "REA$ON." Soooooo stoooopid.

  3. These three comments do not make any sense. The Burke quote is used out of context. Burke was a conservative who wanted to protect society from the excesses of the French Revolution. Burke is anti-change, and anti=freedom. In short, Burke, the father of the conservative movement, would support Walker. George, there is nothing libertarian about Wis politics, and finally Any Rand has never been a huge force in American politics, and students or anyone else for that matter have a right to join any organization.

  4. Burke is a conservative and he did want to protect society from the excesses of the French Revolution. He saw the French Revolution as too much change threatening the older institutions that had the accumulated wisdom of generations embedded within them. Burke is not a libertarian. Libertarians would be very uncomfortable with his views on the religious establishment of the state, with his views on the role of tradition, and the role government should play in promoting these traditions and values. A key difference here is libertarians do not necessarily have the humility of Burke, who thought change should be very gradual. Burke believed it was just plain hubris for new leaders to come in and make huge changes, like the leaders of the French Revolution did. The changes shoved through the legislature were not gradual and reek of leaders "being intoxicated with the large draught of new power, which they always abuse with a licentious insolence." Just asserting Burke would support Walker does not make it so.

    It is probably valid to say that Walker is a radical libertarian. Libertarians are very uncomfortable with the government interfering in the rights and actions of citizens, so I don't think passing laws prohibiting people's ability to organize, associate, and speak falls squarely within its ideology.

    The statement Burke is "anti-freedom" and would support Walker is puzzling to me. Does this mean that Walker is anti-freedom? I am open to this interpretation, but it would depend on what you mean freedom is.