What’s Wrong with the World

The men signed of the cross of Christ go gaily in the dark.


What’s Wrong with the World is dedicated to the defense of what remains of Christendom, the civilization made by the men of the Cross of Christ. Athwart two hostile Powers we stand: the Jihad and Liberalism...read more

New number of The Christendom Review

In the latest issue of The Christendom Review I write at some length about Burke's supreme statesmanship, his consistency as a thinker, and his hard gritty work to changes men's minds.

His public utterances and letters are a treasury of the English language, but to understand the full lineaments of his statesmanship, we are obliged to reconstruct what he said and did outside the public record. Consider the Indian reform that concentrated his exertions for nearly a decade. We can say with confidence that the spring for the Warren Hastings Impeachment, long before Burke began the immense public effort of the trial itself, was a work of private persuasion. He had to rally a party around him.

Once he discovered the corruption and despotism prevalent in British India, under Governor General Warren Hastings, he went to work, first privately amongst his party, then publicly before the nation, to expose and reform it. He built an alliance for the ages: That intense Irishman turned the whole Whig coalition, ordinarily quite favorably disposed toward property and commerce, against the East India Company, a chartered establishment of commercial property; and then he took on the British imperial monarchy by the force of this coalition. The Crown had to cajole and buy the House of Lords in order to insure an acquittal for Hastings.

But parliamentary oppositions were here to stay. And that is no small thing.

Dissent organized within the integrity of the state but with contrary political goals and interests to the ruling party — this would be a new establishment in the political affairs of men. One of Burke’s lasting achievements, then, was the principle of patriotic partisanship: private party association rising to the dignity of the Loyal Opposition. The final integration of this Anglo-American principle would have to wait until the American Election of 1800 ended with Jefferson proclaiming “we are all Federalists, we are all Republicans,” but Burke was its earliest great vindicator. He “was the first to argue” — in the shrewd summation of Harvey Mansfield — “that principled behavior in politicians must inevitably be partisan, and that partisanship is not only occasionally necessary in emergencies but useful and respectable in the ordinary working of the constitution.” This was a new thing upon the earth, and the fact that we all take it for granted now is a measure of Burke’s genius.

Read on.

This new issue also features an excellent essay by Beth Impson and a wide variety of poetry.

[By the way, if you think the sparse layout of the TCR's website (not unlike our own here at What's Wrong with the World), is out-of-step with the times, I can only reply that it's a heck of a lot better than fashionable websites that launch annoying auto-videos or incorrigible pop-up ads for crankish products.]

Comments (3)

An excellent essay on Burke, Paul, and thanks for the notice.

There's good poetry altogether, but I do have to note my friend (and Bryan alumna) Millie Sweeney's lovely work.

And I am grateful for the TCR layout; one can simply read instead of spend half the time navigating and trying to ignore the junk at so many other sites!

Beth, thanks so much for your essay, and Paul as well for yours.

Glad you enjoyed it, Lydia.

Post a comment

Bold Italic Underline Quote

Note: In order to limit duplicate comments, please submit a comment only once. A comment may take a few minutes to appear beneath the article.

Although this site does not actively hold comments for moderation, some comments are automatically held by the blog system. For best results, limit the number of links (including links in your signature line to your own website) to under 3 per comment as all comments with a large number of links will be automatically held. If your comment is held for any reason, please be patient and an author or administrator will approve it. Do not resubmit the same comment as subsequent submissions of the same comment will be held as well.