Sunday, November 20, 2016

"Designing men"

Some "guidance from the original conservative," offered by Daniel S. Wiser, Jr. in "Edmund Burke In the Era of Trump":
.... The first rule was to beware of the "power of bad Men." Ambitious men will often take advantage of the virtues of others to seek political power and serve their own interests, rather than the common good. And their attempts to revolutionize the state can result in extremism and violence.

"You will be told, that if a measure is good, what have you [to] do with the Character and views of those who bring it forward," Burke wrote. "But designing Men never separate their Plans from their Interests; and if You assist them in their Schemes, You will find the pretended good in the end thrown aside or perverted, and the interested object alone compassed, and that perhaps thro' Your means." He continued, "All I recommend is, that whenever the sacrifice of any subordinate point of Morality, or of honour, or even of common liberal sentiment and feeling is called for, one ought to be tolerably sure, that the object is worth it. Nothing is good, but in proportion, and with Reference." ....

Madison famously wrote in Federalist No. 10 that, "Enlightened statesmen will not always be at the helm." Political movements and leaders come and go. But conservative principles are woven into the fabric of nature; they will endure throughout the vicissitudes of politics and history. As Burke put it,
The principles that guide us in publick and in private, which as they are not of our devising but moulded into the nature and essence of things, will endure with the Sun and Moon, long very long after Whig and Tory, Stuart and Brunswick, and all such miserable Bubbles and playthings of the Hour are vanished from existence, and from memory. My friends and myself may sink into Errors and even into considerable faults; but I trust that these principles will buoy us up again, so that we shall have something to set against our imperfections, and stand with the world at least not as the worst Men or worst Citizens of our day. .... [more]
Edmund Burke In the Era of Trump | The Weekly Standard