Quote of the day–Edmund Burke

The people never give up their liberties but under some delusion.


Edmund Burke
[I’m not quite sure what to make of this quote. It’s sort of like one of those drawings that depending on which way you look it could be an old hag or a beautiful young woman.


Burke engaged in a spirited debate with Thomas Paine over what Paine called “natural rights”. Burke argued the Monarch had a divine right to rule. Paine argued there were certain inalienable, natural, rights.


Hence when I read the above quote by Burke I first thought of a gun rights activist pointing out the imagined security proposed by some gun ban supporter. Then, as if looked at the words through the other eye or something, I heard them in my minds ear being said by the likes of Josh Sugarmann.


It turns out that even in his own time people weren’t quite sure what to think of him at times.–Joe]

One thought on “Quote of the day–Edmund Burke

  1. I read the meaning as being that no-one surrenders some portion of their liberty without some falsehood being a component of the inducement to do so; if you give up this, you get that (which is a lie, if only in some critical part). The principle would seem to apply equally well to monarchs or commoners, I think, while being suitably opaque enough to protect Burke’s reputation amongst the literati (something a gentleman of his “station” and era would highly prize and safeguard).

    I’m sort of surprised Burke would consent to publicly engage a “common rable-rouser” like Paine at all. Given Paine’s later published views, I wonder what part a distinction between “divine” and “natural” was made as a legitimate source for rights and which behaviors either man classified as being a “right”?

    Now I’m going to have to look the debate up!

    Thanks, Joe! 🙂

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