I Must Send Dick Cheney My Copy of Edmund Burke

by Will on September 29, 2010

This is no surprise, but I’m disappointed it hasn’t gotten more attention. Tony Blair, disgraced former prime minister and traitor to his country, has confirmed that Cheney wanted to go to war with the entire middle east:

“He would have worked through the whole lot, Iraq, Syria, Iran, dealing with all their surrogates in the course of it – Hizbollah, Hamas, etc,” Mr Blair wrote in his autobiography, A Journey. “In other words, he thought the whole world had to be made anew, and that after September 11, it had to be done by force and with urgency.”

Syria’s correct assumption that powerful US forces wanted to attack it had profound implications, domestically and in Iraq. Although no friend of Saddam Hussein, Damascus had every reason to want the American occupation to fail and, therefore, no incentive to stop Islamist militants crossing the border to fight US troops.

So Cheney thinks that we had the power to go in and restructure not just Iraqi and Afghani society, but also several other complicated societies that have spent a century going through crises and settling only at stability of the uneasiest sort. This reveals that he has a faith in the ability of government bounds beyond what any New Dealers ever professed. He is a radical. He seems never to have read the father of modern conservatism, Edmund Burke. Faced with Cheney’s radicalism, Edmund Burke would recoil in horror:

The very idea of the fabrication of a new government, is enough to fill us with disgust and horror. We wished at the period of the Revolution, and do now wish, to derive all we possess as an inheritance from our forefathers. Upon that body and stock of inheritance we have taken care not to inoculate any cyon [scion] alien to the nature of the original plant….

Burke would tell Cheney that he can’t possibly know better than the generations of Syrians and Iranians who have created the particular institutions that have prevailed in those countries. Radical bloodletters like Maximilien Robespierre would have said that Burke was wrong, that all imperfect governments should be overthrown and replaced. Cheney is, amazingly, taking Robespierre’s side in the argument. Cheney had better give me his address so I may mail him my copy of Burke’s classic writings, so that he may align himself better with the spirit of true conservatism.

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