A reader writes:
I was delighted by your inclusion of a Burke reference. Whenever I read about the President's signing statements, torture policy, phone-tapping, etc in the name of protecting us from terrorism, I always think of this quote made soon after the British East India Company gained formal control over Eastern India:
"I am certain that every means, effectual to preserve India from oppression, is a guard to preserve the British constitution from its worst corruption." - 1783
Burke was a quasi-anti-imperialist. He supported the British Empire, but unlike J S Mill, sought to rule distant lands according to the same liberal political principles used at home, to create a true empire of liberty and equal rights. To do otherwise would threaten a return of unrestrained government power from the imperial periphery to the metropole.
Somehow I doubt Burke will be on Bush's summer reading list. But as long as we are in Iraq and Afghanistan it should at least be on ours.
Hobbes, Burke, Oakeshott: three pillars of conservatism who reveal how unconservative this presidency truly is.