A conference on the state of conservatism in Australia is urgent

Andrew Bolt has been generous enough to promote our Edmund Burke Conference 2016 ‘Defining Conservatism in Australia’ on his blog. There are the usual responses from those who are incapable of doing more than slinging off at conservatives on the bases of their primitive idea of conservatism. A few support the idea of a conference. Others seem to think conservatism is some sort of economic theory. On the whole, the comments confirm the desirability of a conference on the state of conservatism in Australia.

Conservatism is not an economic theory. Indeed, conservatism as a political philosophy is not a systematic abstract theory in the rationalistic sense of a self-contained theory like socialism or libertarianism. It is rather a framework of thought that is applied to the concrete political situation. Conservatism as developed by Edmund Burke in response to the major political issues of his time (the corrupting power of the throne, Irish oppression, the nature of parliamentary democracy, the American Revolution, British despotism in India, and the French Revolution) has something to say about all those concepts and issues political theory deals with, down to the basic epistemological (knowledge) and metaphysical presuppositions of political discourse.

The 2016 conference of Edmund Burke’s Club (Aust) Inc, ‘Defining Conservatism in Australia’, aims to examine and expound the most important of those concepts in the Australian context from a conservative point of view: freedom, rights, how nations originate and endure, the legitimacy of the state and the obligation to obey, among others. The conference’s program can be found here.

Conference attendees will be invigorated by the presentations and the discussions that follow. Those attending the dinner at the Savage Club will enjoy the fellowship of the evening as well as the well-chosen short readings and comments during the reception and the dinner. Of course, there is the three-course dinner with drinks included (wine, beer and soft drink).

Gerard Wilson
President Edmund Burke’s Club (Aust) Inc.