An intermittently Liberal anthology compiled by Jonathan Calder

Thursday, April 01, 2004  

Edmund Burke on Rousseau
Benevolence to the whole species and want of feeling for every individual with whom the professors come in contact form the character of the new philosophy.

Setting up for an unsocial independence, this their hero of vanity refuses the just price of common labour, as well as the tribute which opulence owes to genius, and which, when paid, honours the giver and the receiver; and then he pleads his beggary as an excuse for his crimes.

He melts with tenderness for those who only touch him by the remotest relation, and then, without one natural pang, casts away, as a sort of offal and excrement, the spawn of his disgustful amours, and sends his children to the hospital of foundlings. The bear loves, licks, and forms her young; but bears are not philosophers.

Vanity, however, finds its account in reversing the train of our natural affections. Thousands admire the sentimental writer; the affectionate father is hardly known in his parish.

Edmund Burke A Letter to a Member of the National Assembly (1791)

posted by Jonathan Calder | 6:44 pm