This book stresses the importance of returning to David Hume’s political thought, focusing on his ideas about the origin of government and political obedience, and his vision of the ideals of liberty, property, political stability, and moderation, all of which represent a precious source of inspiration for the development of political conservatism. The author outlines the principle, counter-revolutionary features that characterise Hume’s conservatism: political realism; mistrust of sudden and violent innovations; scepticism toward abstractions; opposition to rationalist arrogance; respect for custom and institutional continuity; the need for the preservation of stability; rejection of ideological rhetoric, sectarianism, and dogmatism; and the defence of the national interest. In so doing, Hume’s ‘sceptical’ and ‘secular’ version of conservatism – the first to appear on the political scene of modernity – differs significantly from the Anglo-American conservatism that was to arise a few decades after his death, in the wake of Edmund Burke’s writings.
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