Tom Paine, Edmund Burke and Adam Smith
from Adam Smith's Lost Legacy by Gavin Kennedy
Peter Risdon writes in Freeborn John (11 April) Freeborn John - on Burke and Paine, prompted by a recent post by Peter Ryley...
Comment: The whole post is interesting and you should read it (HERE) to cover some interesting contrasts in political philosophy between two important 18th century figures. I liked the Peter Riley sentence: ‘However dramatic their declarations of human rights, they are Tom Paines abroad but Edmund Burkes at home.’
Partly, this is a problem of attempting to squeeze 18th-century figures into a post-20th century political spectrum. Frankly, it can’t be done without rounding out rough edges and ignoring evidence of greater complexity than is covered by the revolutionary French convention, and its accidental ‘left-right divisions – the Jacobins had sat on the opposite side of the hall the labels would have been quite reversed so Marx would have been a rightwinger and Pat Buchanan a leftwinger (a theme for a playwright to work with?).