Burke and Rousseau on "Freedom"
Within this essay, I will be discussing two great political philosophers of the late 18th Century, Jeanne-Jacques Rousseau and Edmund Burke, and their opinions on the subject of Freedom. This paper will not only explore their ideas of freedom, but how freedom should be guaranteed within existing societies in the 18th century.
Edumond Burke (1729-1787)
I will first start off by discussion Edmund Burke (1729-1797), who most will agree is the founder of political conservatism. Born in Dublin, Ireland, Burke entered (British) Parliament in 1765, a Whig. Throughout his political career, Burke had supported the cause of freedom, but was opposed to any movements in the direction of increased freedom that would produce mayhem. Burke's definition of freedom, at its most basic description is that freedom should be free from coercion (free from restraint or force); whether it stemmed from the crown, parliament, or the people and that all men are born free (in "The State of Nature"). By leaving the State of Nature and entering civil society, man gives up the right to self-govern and agrees to follow the rule of law present in the society he is a member of (Social Contract). By entering society, man's natural rights will also be protected by the state. He argues that the best way to ensure freedom to members of society is through strict adherence to the rule of law, traditional ruling practices (the monarchy) and that free people should be led by a "natural aristocracy". In Burke's opinion, freedom means being left alone, freedom from the state, but not freedom to control the state. Freedom does not mean having a say in the governments decision, but the freedom to choose government. Those who make decisions effecting citizens must be confined to the ruling class because they are educated and trained in the ways of human nature, leaving them as the most competent persons... [continues]
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