Burke’s–and Conservativism’s–Original Sin

Conservative philosopher Edmund Burke–one conservatives will cite to remove the “Fuck you, I’ve got mine. Besides who cares about those people?” dross from their arguments–in real life didn’t live up to his own ideals. Burke had massive debt worries, to the point where he considered learning Italian so he could flee England–and his creditors. But it’s good to be an ideologue in good standing (boldface mine):

Thanks to the interventions of his well connected friends, Burke secured from [English Prime Minister] Pitt in August 1795 two annuities that would wipe out his debts and a pension that, along with an additional pension and the income from his estate, would enable him and his wife to live in comfort into their old age.

Too philosophical to fail? Yes, Burke used his connections to gain government retirement funds. But it gets better (boldface mine):

Three months later, when Burke took up his pen against a proposal for the government to subsidize the wages of farm laborers during bad harvest years (so that they could sustain themselves and their families), he wrote, “To provide for us in our necessities is not in the power of government.”

Fuck you, I’ve got mine. Besides who cares about those people? The only way someone as intelligent as Burke could be for his own personal bailout and against one for farmers is if he believed that he was a fundamentally better person than they were.

Same as it ever was.

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3 Responses to Burke’s–and Conservativism’s–Original Sin

  1. John Danley says:

    Burke’s Big Shitpile Bailout should be the name of a children’s book read to newly designated CEOs during orientation. “I Turned the Tables on You, Now I’m Eating Your Food.”

  2. albanaeon says:

    Butbutbut… Burke NEEDED that money, while obviously poor farmers were just wanting to be lazy.

    A founding principle of conservatism is “help only for the worthy” and the only people worthy is them and their’s.

  3. sethkahn says:

    Not even, “Fuck you, I got mine.” More like, “Fuck you, I took yours and you can’t stop me.”

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