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Burke: Reform vs. Innovation

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7/30/2016 8:43:23 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
Burke is considered to be the bae of Conservatism, or something like that. He was a "conservative" in the sense that he defended the established social and political order, and in a way opposed change. In sum, he desired to maintain the "status quo". He believed that we inherited everything from the previous generation and were supposed to conserve that generation's society, or attempt to improve it. Thus, Burke regarded change as necessary and unavoidable. Although change is inevitable, it may be either good or bad, and it is the duty of all those who love their country to strive to distinguish these.

The good kind of change, which is a means to the conservation of a just, free, and reasonably decent state, Burke calls reform. There is also a bad kind of change, which Burke calls innovation. This is change that is too open to overturning the established moral and political traditions of a people. It underestimates the value of these established traditions and hence the costs of changing them. It is heedless of the difficulty of getting both rulers and rulers to obey the restraints of law on their passions. By its willingness to accept or encourage change that is not necessary or that goes farther than necessary, it undermines lawabidingness. It thereby tends to destroy all established order and is hence incompatible with any just or decent politics. Burke immensely opposed the French Revolution, which he thought was the worst kind of Innovation, but fervently supported the American Revolution.

So, Conservatives, do you agree with Burke's theory on change? Liberals, do you agree with him at all here? Conservatives that agree, what would you call Reform and what would you call Innovation (what is the good kind of change, and what is the bad kind of change)? Discuss.
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