Born this day in 1729, Edmund Burke has come to be regarded as one of the greatest political philosophers of the modern age. In fact, it is easy to argue until the bizarre spectacle of the American conservatives shifts towards ideologically driven demography,
Edmund Burke was the founder of modern conservatism, at least until Barry Goldwater’s failed bid at the 1968 Republican Convention began the slow unraveling of the traditional intellectual underpinnings of the GOP.
An Irish MP, Burke contributed to the Enlightenment in many ways, but his best known work was his reaction to the bloodletting that dominated the later years of the French Revolution in his Reflections on Revolution in France. Although he had supported the American Revolution, the violence unleashed by Jacobins and the subsequent execution of Louis XVI had exposed to Burke to the excesses of revolution and the threat they posed to national and religious institutions, especially those of England should the Revolution have been imported (and there was certainly real and justified fear that would be the case).