Tag: Edmund Burke

ACF Founders #5: Edmund Burke

 

Since this is July 14, Bastille Day, I bring you a special edition of the podcast–a conversation on the American and French Revolutions from the point of view of the British Empire, especially as understood by the greatest friend America had in Britain at the time, the philosophical statesman Edmund Burke, who is also a founding father of modern (including American) conservatism. I talk to Greg Collins, who teaches at Yale and did his Ph.D. at Catholic University of America, and has a wonderful new book on Burke’s political economy–Burke was the original wonk, he was a great defender of religion and law, but also a great promoter of commerce and private enterprise.

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When I see the spirit of liberty in action, I see a strong principle at work; and this, for a while, is all I can possibly know of it. The wild gas, the fixed air, is plainly broke loose: but we ought to suspend our judgment until the first effervescence is a little subsided, till […]

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The (First) Final Frontier: The Enduring Appeal of Star Trek and The Moral Imagination

 

One of the things that has been keeping me sane in (solitary) lockdown is movie nights with my friends. With two close guy friends from high school, in particular, I have a weekly date for a movie at 8 p.m. EST (1 a.m. GMT) and this week it was my turn to pick the film. I had given the selection a fair bit of thought ahead of time, and presented them with a few options that I thought would be fun to watch; we settled on Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.

One of my friends had never seen any Star Trek property, and the other had only seen the new films, although his dad had been pressuring him to try the older ones. At the end of the film, they were so taken by what we had watched that it was decided we are going to Zoom again to watch an episode of The Original Series (any of my selection) and Star Trek III: The Search for Spock on Friday.* Such an enthusiastic response left me wondering, what exactly is the magic of the original films and show?

I am not much of a sci-fi fan and tend to be picky about TV because I don’t watch particularly much, so it surprised even me how much I enjoyed TOS the first time I watched it in high school. Although I’ve dabbled in the other properties, none of them ever provoked the lasting affection or interest that the ‘66 series and its movies did for me. Likewise, the friend that had seen the new J.J. Abrams films had never bothered with the originals because, though he thought the new movies were good, he didn’t think they were special.

Cloudburst — only a paper cloud?

 

“Tell me, burnt earth: Is there no water? Is there only dust? Is there only the blood of bare-footed footsteps on the thorns?” “The wilderness and the wasteland shall be glad for them, And the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose.”

Eric Whitacre is a conductor and composer with matinee-idol good looks, personal magnetism, a slick marketing strategy, and arguably common sense, too: he recommends young composers not waste time acquiring training in academic theory beyond what they need to write music that sounds good. Whitacre is beloved in the choral world, but also, sometimes, disdained — for being overrated (he is, although overrated can still be good), for being gimmicky (also true, though his gimmicks often land), and for writing music “suffused with a sense of easy spiritual uplift… Everything [is] maximally radiant and beautiful, and beautifully sung. And that [is] the problem.”

If that’s the problem, it’s a problem many composers would like to have. Or at least it’s a problem many performing musicians wish the composers whose music they have to perform had. Our disdainer continues, “Whitacre is so sincere I suspect he would glow in the dark.”

Quote of the Day: Two-for-One from Edmund Burke

 

On this day in 1790 Edmund Burke published an epistolary pamphlet, Reflections on the Revolution in France. It was prescient for the time and still seems so today. The magic of it, which gives so much prescience, is that it encapsulates large dollops of knowledge of human nature. In a thousand years, it shall be as relevant as it was in the Eighteenth Century and is now in the Twenty-First.

A spirit of innovation is generally the result of a selfish temper and confined views. People will not look forward to posterity, who never look backward to their ancestors.

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I had a wonderful conversation last night with Cart T. Bogus about a 4-year-old piece – “Burke Not Buckley” – that he wrote for The American Conservative.  Bogus considers himself a liberal, but gave me some wonderful things to think about when it came to Edmund Burke, Russell Kirk, William F. Buckley, and the history of […]

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“We are afraid to put men to live and trade each on his own private stock of reason, because we suspect that the stock in each man is small, and that the individuals would do better to avail themselves of the general bank and capital of nations and ages.” Edmund Burke, from Yuval Levin’s book, […]

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“By a constitutional policy, working after the pattern of nature, we receive, we hold, we transmit our government and our privileges, in the same manner in which we enjoy and transmit our property and our lives.  The institutions of policy, the goods of fortune, the gifts of providence, are handed down to us, and from […]

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I wanted to present something a little different for the Fourth, and though Washington’s passing was well after 1776, I thought a commemoration of the great General’s passing would be an indirect way of celebrating Independence.  I posted this great speech by the man who was Robert E. Lee’s father on my blog, more from […]

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The decline of unionism is good from a partisan political point of view. Unions supply much of the money and the foot soldiers for the Democratic Party. But there’s something that bothers me. Conservatives have learned from Edmund Burke to respect the value of the “little platoons,” those institutions that intervene between the individual and […]

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Yuval Levin on Edmund Burke’s Example for Modern Conservatives

 

In the clip I posted yesterday from the Uncommon Knowledge interview with Yuval Levin about his book, The Great Debate: Edmund Burke, Thomas Paine, and the Birth of the Right and LeftYuval clarified where Burke fit in the context of his own time. Today, a different focus: how Burke fits in ours.

Below, Yuval explains how the lessons of Burke can offer a corrective for modern conservative excesses:

Yuval Levin on the Revolution That Wasn’t

 

In the latest episode of Uncommon Knowledge, I interviewed Yuval Levin — the Hertog Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, Founding Editor of National Affairs magazine and Senior Editor of The New Atlantis — about his most recent book, The Great Debate: Edmund Burke, Thomas Paine, and the Birth of Right and Left.

In this exchange, Yuval explains Burke’s views on the American war for independence — and why he refused to refer to it as a “revolution.”