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The Forum > Article Comments > Edmund Burke on politicians > Comments

Edmund Burke on politicians : Comments

By Max Atkinson, published 2/11/2012

It is clear the term 'acting on conscience' is a source of confusion because of its religious, spiritual and psychological overtones.

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Readers will find the comments to the first article in the online Tasmanian Times for 16th October.

Max Atkinson
Posted by maxat, Friday, 2 November 2012 8:22:53 AM
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It is clear as mud mate.
If Regan were amongst us today, he simply would not recognise the Republican Party as something he used to belong to or believe in?
There was a time when most draft legislation would be revised and amended before being sent back, rather than be simply rejected out of hand, by people myopically focused on self interest, rather than the national interest?
Menzies would not recognise today's liberal party, as the progressive forward looking pragmatic party, he not only led, but created.
[He'd be possibly tempted to click his heels and give a stiff arm salute?]
Just too many of today's political warriors, would ask, but only if they were genuinely truthful, and is that an oxymoron or what?
What's morals go to do with it?
Rhrosty.
Posted by Rhrosty, Friday, 2 November 2012 11:43:42 AM
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I think politicians and those who participate in processes which affect others should recall the words of a very old philosopher, Confucius who stated:

"If language is not correct, then what is said is not what is meant; if what is said is not what is meant, then what must be done remains undone; if this remains undone, morals and art will deteriorate; if justice goes astray, the people will stand about in helpless confusion. Hence there must be no arbitrariness in what is said. This matters above everything.
Posted by Geoff of Perth, Friday, 2 November 2012 2:50:05 PM
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An excellent and thought provoking essay. As Confucius via Geoff of Perth suggests, the problem is semantics. Meanings of words change and so misunderstandings arise. I think Max has understood Burke very well on this issue. [Quote] "It is... the right of citizens to question the morality as well as wisdom of conventional opinion - which underlies the claim that private conscience is the ultimate safeguard of public values, and justifies the priority Burke gives it.....[and this is] is incompatible with the present doctrine of party unity."
How true. Party politics has become a religion - obey the dogma or you're a 'heretic' and no longer wanted. Only a parliament of truly independent representatives can hope to create a satisfactory society.
Posted by ybgirp, Monday, 5 November 2012 11:52:51 AM
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