Sunday, September 14, 2008
It is history that people have trouble with; they have trouble learning lessons from the past and placing those lessons in their own time. If they could see history more effectively they would know what the forces of conservatism have meant in the past, and they would know the dangers that they represent for the future. Even Edmund Burke, the conceptual founder of modern Toryism, as brilliant as he was, was unable to place himself in historical context. He had spoken so eloquently in defense of the established powers of society, and had helped to define the modern notion of conservatism and yet when it came time for him to retire, Lords Bedford and Lauderdale had opposed the granting of his pension on the grounds that it was contrary to his own principles of conservatism. Many of the people who today vote conservative will eventually suffer its wrath when their children or grand-children can no longer afford health-care or get an education, or eventually they will lose their most basic and fundamental rights. There was a time, not that long ago, when people were chained to their machines in factories. The only thing that saved us from these worst excesses of capitalism were people who sacrificed their lives in the trade-union struggle against the forces of conservatism. Read history and don’t be fooled by conservatives who have us march headlong into the past.