Edmund Burke and the Conservative Logic of Empire.
By Daniel I. O’Neill. Oakland, CA: University of California Press, 2016.
272p $34.95 paperback.
In Edmund Burke and the Conservative Logic of Empire, Dan O’Neill sets out to get a few things straight, and by the time he concludes this tightly focused book he largely succeeds. His positions— his “increasingly heterodox” positions—are three: first, that “Edmund Burke was a consistently conservative political thinker”; second, that “he was a passionate defender of the British Empire in the eighteenth century”; and third, that “Burke’s conservatism … provided the theoretical framework within which his defense of empire was built.” It is, I think, quite fair to say that O’Neill’s real focus in Conservative Logic of Empire is on the second of these propositions, so I’ll start there.