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Comments on: Burke & prejudice http://www.jbj.wordherders.net/2008/04/25/burke-prejudice/ "A man needn't go far to find a subject, if he's ready with his salt-box."--Uncle Pumblechook Wed, 14 May 2014 19:32:14 +0000 hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.1 By: jbj http://www.jbj.wordherders.net/2008/04/25/burke-prejudice/comment-page-1/#comment-9713 Sun, 27 Apr 2008 11:35:26 +0000 http://www.jbj.wordherders.net/2008/04/25/burke-prejudice/#comment-9713 The passage J’s provided is pretty typical of Burke’s argument. In the _Reflections_, Burke recoils in horror from the Revolution’s implied claim that we can wholly remake society, arguing that such a perspective will lead inevitably to wanton bloodshed. (This was before the Reign of Terror, so the book reads as oddly prophetic.)

That’s actually related to his support for American independence: From Burke’s point of view, the American colonists were simply claiming their traditional rights as Englishmen, which the crown had betrayed them.

When he talks about prejudice, he’s not talking about racial prejudice in the sense in which we use that phrase.

David Bromwich has an interesting book on higher education, called _Politics by Other Means_, which tries to sketch the ways thinking about prejudice from Burke’s point of view can be stimulating.

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By: J. http://www.jbj.wordherders.net/2008/04/25/burke-prejudice/comment-page-1/#comment-9708 Sun, 27 Apr 2008 06:56:33 +0000 http://www.jbj.wordherders.net/2008/04/25/burke-prejudice/#comment-9708 Here’s what Edmund Burke had to say about it, I thought this was ironic. Happy reading:

We are afraid to put men to live and trade each on his own private stock of reason; because we suspect that this 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 of ages. Many of our men of speculation, instead of exploding general prejudices, employ their sagacity to discover the latent wisdom which prevails in them. If they find what they seek, and they seldom fail, they think it more wise to continue the prejudice, with the reason involved, than to cast away the coat of prejudice, and to leave nothing but the naked reason; because prejudice, with its reason, has a motive to give action to that reason, and an affection which will give it permanence. Prejudice is of ready application in the emergency; it previously engages the mind in a steady course of wisdom and virtue, and does not leave the man hesitating in the moment of decision, sceptical, puzzled, and unresolved. Prejudice renders a man’s virtue his habit; and not a series of unconnected acts. Through just prejudice, his duty becomes a part of his nature.–Edmund Burke, Reflections on the French Revolution.

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By: Knitting Clio http://www.jbj.wordherders.net/2008/04/25/burke-prejudice/comment-page-1/#comment-9679 Sat, 26 Apr 2008 11:42:48 +0000 http://www.jbj.wordherders.net/2008/04/25/burke-prejudice/#comment-9679 Could you be more specific about Burke’s defense of prejudice? I’m not an expert on his writings, but my understanding of his place in Anglo-American history is that for his times, he was comparatively liberal — e.g. he supported American independence and tried to alleviate anti-Catholic oppression in Ireland.

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