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Human Nature and Political Organisation

Defining Conservatism by its Enemies

Case Study: Gene Sharp: `From Dictatorship to Democracy'

Another enemy of the conservative is personified in the liberalist ideology of the American
academic Gene Sharp. His little book `From Dictatorship to Democracy' (free on the internet)
is a sort of…

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determined ­ that is, of rational thinking. Hence there could never be any lasting ground for
authority in the state derived from reason. Burke prophesied that the Constituent Assembly of
1790 would end in the Terror, which indeed is precisely what happened within only two years, as
one radical conception…

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For Goldberg, modern welfareliberals are activists. They believe that the state should be active
in doing stuff that the state should `fix' whatever needs fixing, whether it be education, housing,
welfare, healthcare, or whatever. You name it and welfare liberals believe that the state should
fix it.

The American TV…

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Goldberg's point about the apparent oxymoron (and its early alternative title) is that the
emotional and doctrinal roots of welfareliberalism are a lot closer to the `totalising' ideologies of
the socialist left and of fascism in particular than they may care to admit.

Note that Goldberg's critique is not directed…

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Within only two years of writing the `Reflections', Robespierre's Terror was unleashed on the
`dim or wilful'. Burke's analysis can also serve as a judgement on the very many examples
which have followed the French Revolution and which owed much of their impetus to this kind of
thinking. Pol Pot's…

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You are familiar with this one. A bomb is about to go off. You have arrested someone you think
is the bomber. Are you entitled to torture him to save the lives of thousands, perhaps tens or
even hundreds of thousands. The Americans (George Bush) though so after 9/11. Learned…

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Section 4. Justice

Nozick continued...

There is a further step that Nozick's theory seems to imply. If taxing what is rightfully mine is
unjust, then why is it any different from the state taking what it thinks I owe in direct labour?
Let's say I work for 200 days a…

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obligation is tacit. Rawls says it is hypothetical. What kind of a contract is that? You answer
that it isn't a contract and that you are therefore under no obligation.

Mill offers further support for Nozick when he discusses tyranny of the majority. When a
tyrant arbitrarily takes what he…

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Aristotle would concur with that last thought from Burke. Liberals (including Rawls and
Nozick) start from the wrong premise ­ that of the `atomistic' individual and his (or her) `liberties'
or `rights'. But human beings only become persons in the context of their participation as
members of society. And relations…


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