national opinion

Monday Column
Carol Platt Liebau

[go to Liebau index]

Latest Column:
Stopping the Meltdown
What Beltway Republicans Need To Do

Subscribe to CRO Alerts
Sign up for a weekly notice of CRO content updates.

Jon Fleischman’s
The premier source for
California political news

Michael Ramirez

editorial cartoon

Do your part to do right by our troops.
They did the right thing for you.
Donate Today

CRO Talk Radio
Contributor Sites
Laura Ingraham

Hugh Hewitt
Eric Hogue
Sharon Hughes
Frank Pastore
[Radio Home]

















Gary M. Galles - Contributor

Mr. Galles is a professor of econmics at Pepperdine University.

Edmund Burke
Remembering the great political thinker...

[Gary M. Galles] 1/12/04

On January 12, 275 years ago, Edmund Burke was born in Dublin. The central passion throughout his public life was opposition to arbitrary power and the tyranny of government's "officious, universal interference" in people's lives. As he still inspires people today with that passion, it is worth spending a moment to reflect on his words.

On Liberty

"It is better to cherish virtue and humanity, leaving much to free will...than to attempt to make men machines and instruments of political benevolence. The world as a whole will gain by a liberty without which virtue cannot exist."

"...liberty...inheres in good and steady government, as its substance and vital principle."

"Whatever each man can separately do, without trespassing upon others, he has a right to do..."

"Whenever a separation is made between liberty and justice, safe."

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

"The true danger is when liberty is nibbled away, for expedience, and by parts."

"I am not one of those who think that the people are never in the wrong. ..But I do say that in all disputes between them and their rulers, the presumption is at least upon a par in favor of the people."

On Arbitrary Power and Law

"The people at large...should not be suffered to imagine that their the standard of right and wrong...they [cannot]...use any arbitrary power whatsoever..."

"Justice is itself the great standing policy of civil society."

"All human laws are, properly speaking, only declaratory; they have no power over the substance of original justice."

"Law and arbitrary power are at eternal enmity..."

"Arbitrary a subversion of natural justice, a violation of the inherent rights of mankind."

"[Nothing is] more truly subversive of...human society than the position that any body of men have a right to make what laws they please..."

"...the best legislators have been often satisfied with the establishment of some sure, solid and ruling principle in government...and having fixed the principle, they have left it afterwards to its own operation."

On Markets

[The marketplace] "...obliges men, whether they will or not, in pursuing their own selfish interests, to connect the general good with their own individual success."

"Free trade is not based on utility but on justice."

"It is in the interest of the commercial world that wealth should be found everywhere."

"It is better to leave all [contractual] dealing...entirely to the persons mutually concerned in the matter contracted for than to put this contract into the hands of those who can have none, or a very remote interest in it, and little or no knowledge of the subject."

On Government and Property

"It is a popular error to imagine the loudest complainers for the public to be the most anxious for its welfare."

"The public is the theater for mountebanks and imposters."

"The moment that government appears at market, the principles of the market will be subverted."

"...resist the very first idea, speculative or practical, that it is within the competence of supply the poor with necessaries...To provide for us in our necessities is not in the power of government. It would be a vain presumption in statesmen to think they can do it. The people maintain them and not they the people. It is in the power of government to prevent much evil; it can do very little positive good in this, or perhaps in anything else."

"Property was not made by government, but government by and for it. The one is primary and self-existent; the other is secondary and derivative."

"Property, left undefended with principles, became a repository of spoils..."

"The most unjust and impolitic of all things [is] unequal taxation."

Burke's insights remind us of what we seem to have forgotten, judging from the current state of America. If we would remember them--especially that "In a democracy, the majority of the citizens is capable of exercising the most cruel oppressions upon the minority" and that "the greatest security of the people against the encroachments and to keep the Spirit of Liberty constantly awake"-and return them to practice, America would be a better place.

copyright 2004 Gary M. Galles




Blue Collar -  120x90
120x90 Jan 06 Brand
Free Trial Static 02
ActionGear 120*60
Free Trial Static 01
Applicable copyrights indicated. All other material copyright 2003-2005