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Where is Edmund Burke? Where are the Passionate Pragmatists?

July 9, 2016

Cos Burke died on this day



Admiring Edmund Burke and Tom Paine equally, may seem eccentric, almost quixotic, but I’ve found it an intellectual necessity.   I’m in the same company as C.L.R. James at least.

I admire Tom Paine because I believe in the things he believed in.

I admire Edmund Burke because I admire HOW be believed in the things he believed in.

Above all, I admire his passionate pragmatism.  The commodity the EU referendum has been so singularly without, to everybody’s loss.

Pragmatism (passionate or otherwise) isn’t necessarily about being “more” or “less” left wing.  A pragmatist is not necessarily a trimmer or a compromiser, merely someone who lives in the world as it is and is determined to enact real change within it.  Karl Marx, in this sense, was a pragmatist – someone with a passionate and detailed interest in nineteenth-century politics and the material implications of small political changes on real…

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