Reflections on Edmund Burke

Edmund Burke (1729-1797) was an Anglo-Irish philosopher, statesman, and man of letters. He wrote numerous philosophical tracts and political treatises, as well as hundreds of letters. He happens to also be the subject of my current thesis on political aesthetics. I have made mention of him in various posts on politics and aesthetics here on this site. But I’ve also written about him and his thought professionally:

Edmund Burke on constitutional theory and history: Why Edmund Burke Would Oppose Constitutional Originalism. In this essay I examine the irony of American “conservatives” lionizing Edmund Burke while holding the exact opposite views concerning the nature of constitutional law and organ development. As such, this essay explores Burke’s Reflections on the Revolution in France and Letters of a Regicide Peace to explain how Burke understood constitutions and laws as living and organic entities that are best when not given a fixed and formalized understanding.

Edmund Burke contra Ben Shapiro: A Deep Dive into Ben Shapiro’s Book. In this essay, that doubles as  book review of Ben Shapiro’s The Right Side of History, I pit Edmund Burke’s conservatism against Ben Shapiro’s so-called and self-professed conservatism, to highlight the disparity and gulf between Shapiro’s classical liberalism masquerading as conservatism against the conservatism of Edmund Burke, Adam Müller, and G.W.F. Hegel. There is also commentary dealing with Greek philosophy, Christian theology, and Leo Strauss (my areas of philosophical expertise and focus apart from political philosophy).

Edmund Burke and the aesthetics and psychology of totalitarianism: Burke’s Aesthetics Formed the Core of His Politics. In this essay, published 30 June, 2019, in advance of the fourth of July and the storming of the Bastille (July 14), I explain Burke’s aesthetic psychology of totalitarianism by tying together his Enquiry into the Sublime and Beautiful with his political writings, including: Reflections on the Revolution in France, “Speech on Reconciliation with the Americans,” and Letters on a Regicide Speech. Charles Dickens also makes a surprise inclusion!

*All essays were published by the online political journal Merion West, where I’m an infrequent contributor writing on political philosophy and theory. Consider reading what they have published on topics ranging from philosophy and art, to political opinion and theology.

Edmund Burke and the irrational passion of totalitarianism: The Totalitarian Irrationalism of the Left. In this essay/op-ed, I draw primarily from Edmund Burke to explain how leftwing movements corrupt language and are often emboldened by the passion of the zeitgeist to control, dominate, and destroy others and are consumed by the rage and lust to see all things “purified by blood and fire.”

*This piece was published by The American Thinker. It is a less substantial essay compared to the other three given its publication by a news/opinion outlet.


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  1. That is a cool essay!
    There is so much there. I remember in one of my undergraduate seminar classes the focus was on “the sublime“ and I guess 18th and 19th century. I had to drop the class because I tried taking four classes and found I couldn’t handle it. Lol. But I also remember not having a clue what the hell was going on in the class except that a bunch of people referred to everything, from politics from art to literature, as “the sublime”. 🙂

    But as to your essay; there’s just so much that I can see in it.

    Take for example Harmon and the random Lovecraft chaos type view, and then his book called “Dantes broken hammer“ which talks about love. Harman appears to be speaking quite similarly and with what I figure is your point in your essay or at least Berks point. Harmon is talking about structure and love and the other side of this is chaos and things like that, which we could probably not have too much a difficult time in corresponding with “the sublime”. I also hear reverberations of Rudolph Otto “the idea of the holy”, with his “ Awe-full-ness” and such, and how this empty space of the tremendous mystery constitutes the core of the religious holy.

    Indeed, I don’t think it is too far a step to categorize what we associate as postmodernism as being too involved with the communion with the sublime, even as they would probably argue away from it to try and justify their position in a real politics.

    so good! Thx again. .

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Political aesthetics, and aesthetic psychology, is certainly an area that more people should be made aware of! It is, to paraphrase you, so juicy–there is indeed so much there.

    Alas, we writers don’t make enough money writing so we have to turn elsewhere to make a living. LOL. Unless you get hired by the New York Times or Wall Street Journal…


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