What it means to be a people

Each year, approaching Australia Day. I repost my essay on Edmund Burke’s ideas about what it means to be a people. Aboriginals and those of Aboriginal ancestry are now part of a seamless nation called Australia. See the next post for the extended argument.

EDMUND BURKE ON WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A ‘PEOPLE’

When Edmund Burke claimed in An Appeal from the New to the Old Whigs that the French Revolution ‘was a wild attempt to methodize anarchy; to perpetuate and fix disorder…that it was a foul, impious, monstrous thing, wholly out of the course of moral nature,’[1] he was targeting a particular theory of political organization now known as ‘social contract theory’. It is important to understand that for Burke social contract theory not only determines the form of political organization of a particular people but the accompanying social organization as well.[2]

Read on…