The Necessary Contradictions Of A Conservative

The Dish

Sorry for missing the Best of the Dish Today deadline last night. I was giving a speech on conservatism at Eastern Michigan University, and the conversation didn’t stop.

I prepped by re-reading parts of my friend Jesse Norman’s terrific book on Edmund Burke: The First Conservative. I was reminded again of NPG 655,Edmund Burke,studio of Sir Joshua Reynoldshow routinely and extravagantly Burke was ridiculed and mocked in his time for his alleged contradictions: supporting the American colonists then unleashing a barrage of brio against the French revolution, a British MP defending the rights of Catholics in Ireland, a patriot obsessed with colonial abuses of power, and an enemy of empire .

He was not a reactionary and yet remained a skeptic of unbridled liberal aspirations to improve society. He was a conservative Whig, and a liberal conservative. It’s that prudential balance – partaking of both traditions in Anglo-American thought and practice, and tacking toward one…

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