What Would Edmund Burke Say About Donald Trump?


Edmund Burke

Over at the Anxious Bench blog, Baylor University historian Thomas Kidd wonders what the eighteenth-century English conservative Edmund Burke might say to Donald Trump.

Here is a taste:

Worst of all, Trump represents the opposite of what Burke called “virtuous liberty.” Uninformed about American history, and contemptuous of moral, familial obligations, Trump bases his campaign on zingers, nativism, and misogyny. About such characters, Burke warned that liberty without virtue or wisdom “is the greatest of all possible evils; for it is folly, vice, and madness, without tuition or restraint.”

Read the entire post here.

Kidd argues that Trump’s ideas are much more suited to Thomas Paine than Edmund Burke.  He concludes:

Trump champions radical Paineism, masked by faux Burkeanism. Trumpism dispenses with vital American traditions in the name of restoring an illusory American past. For example, Trumpism denies, in the face of all the wisdom of the ages, that republics need wise, experienced, and virtuous leaders to survive.

Like a manic Paine, Trump would cast away the rules of war, constitutional checks and balances, and conventional financial practices, such as paying national debts. He’ll keep out all the Muslims, and round up and deport tens of millions of Hispanics. Somehow by doing so, we’ll get back the America of the 1950s. We’ll know we’re there when we can all say “Merry Christmas” again. It will be the Revolution of 2016. Believe me.

One thought on “What Would Edmund Burke Say About Donald Trump?

  1. No discussion of 2016 is complete without the word “Hillary” and by extension, “Obama.”

    Trump is not the French Revolution Burke opposed, he’s a counter-revolutionary.

    A lot less like Thomas Paine. More like Napoleon. 😉


Comments are closed.