Finbarr and Burke

Very wise post. My thinking on these libertarian/anarchist/formalist arguments is always… “Well, it depends.” Too often, government systems are seen as something endogenous that can just be plonked on top of a society, and then hey presto, problems solved. That’s not how it works. Government is part of society, you have to start from where you are, and the “ideal” solution is going to depend on culture, demographics, technology, the nature of other institutions in the polity, etc. Not that these ideas are in any way original to me – they are the essence of Conservatism.

A man full of warm, speculative benevolence may wish his society otherwise constituted than he finds it, but a good patriot and a true politician always considers how he shall make the most of the existing materials of his country. A disposition to preserve and an ability to improve, taken together, would be my standard of a statesman. Everything else is vulgar in the conception, perilous in the execution.

from Burke’s “Reflections on the Revolution in France.”


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