In this article, I would like to do three jobs. First, I want to go through the reading material and try to summarize it in my way and give my comment on each part of it. Second, I will try to do synthesis of Burke’s idea based on my previous summarization. Third, I will try to apply Burke’s idea to some specific real life issues and see what issues Burke’s ideas are suitable for and what issues Burke’s ideas are not able to deal with. In another word, I try to test the limitation of Burke’s ideas in my third part. Burke’s reflection on the French Revolution is not a clear and well-organized system as todays social science. His idea was conveyed in a letter to his French noble friend mixed with sentiments of nostalgia for monarchic France and life before enlightenment and fear that some people in England might be aroused up by the French revolutionary doctrine. In my reading material, Burke starts with a confliction between a metaphysical abstraction and a circumstantial aspect of politics. He believes that the scholars on the revolutionary pulpits are only familiar with vague metaphysical ideas and have no idea about how politics work. Meanwhile, he is in favor of investigation of real life political circumstance and substantial rights of people. This is an everlasting confrontation in his reflection of French Revolution: abstract rights and ideas VS substantial circumstance. I will deal with the specific means of such things later when the timing is appropriate. Next, Burke goes directly into the challenge of power controlling. It is the most prominent challenge casted by people like Dr. Price, “the old Jewry”. The main claim of them is that people should have rights to choose and cashier their own governors and form a government for themselves. Burke’s answer to these quests is generally functionalism. He looks back to history and interprets the history as a loyal and subservient history to the monarchy. He answers the question of monarchic legitimacy by laws and provisions, not by whether monarchy is good for the society and how and why. In his logic, the almighty and always-right ancestors of us made laws for us and we should obey them. When confronting some severe tyrannies like James II, our ancestors and lawmakers still put our rights and liberties with hereditary monarchy, thus we Englishmen should always do the same later. But there are still some very interesting points among these boring functionalism explanations. When dealing with the challenge that people should have rights to cashier their own government with misconducts, he makes a very interesting question about the precise meaning of misconducts. What does a misconduct consist of? Who should have the right to interpret a misconduct as severe enough to overthrow the government, or even the whole monarchy? In another word, is it possible to construct a governing when the subjects have rights to challenge the legitimacy by their arbitrary rights of interpreting misconducts? I think this is the main concern of Burke when confronting with the vague words, the metaphysics doctrines, the old Jewry like Dr. Price, and enlightenment in the end. In Burke’s view, these people challenge the basic foundation of governing. The foundation of power of monopolizing what is right and what is wrong. If such power of value judgement is hold by the monarchy steadily, governing would be steady. If not, governing is in danger. He believes that enlightenment disrupts the value order and threaten the governing of monarchy. Kant’s definition of the Enlightenment is that people should have rights to use their reasoning publicly and overtly. Such doctrines have a devastating impact on the legitimacy of monarchy. If people start to use their reasoning to question the moral and value justification of monarchy, monarchy is in danger. Such basic values shall not be questioned ever. This is why he tells a lot against enlightenment in the end of his letters. So the next logical question is that should there be a virginal area untouched from questioning and interrogation of human’s reasoning when a governing is working. Burke’s answer to it is definitely yes. He continues questioning the what are the erroneous and true concepts of rights of men. For me, it is a direct answer to my previous question. He believes that the erroneous concepts of rights of men are those concepts believing that people are entitled with infinite rights to question everything. “Against these there can be no prescription, against these no agreement is binding; these admit no temperament and no compromise; anything withheld from their full demand is so much of fraud and injustice.” Please notice that Burke uses the word “fraud and injustice”, not “incorrect”, which infers that Burke’s intention here is about the power of interpretation of what is right and wrong morally. Burke believes that if people are entitled with infinite rights of using reasoning to question everything, there will be no governing. The reason is that there will be no limitation of the subjects. In a real world politics, subjects should be limited and give up some of their rights so that a governing could be constructed. It is in the pure state of nature where powers of people can be unlimited and such states of natures are disastrous according to Hobbes. In Burke’s language, “One of the first motives to civil society, and which becomes one of its fundamental rules, is that no man should be judge in his own cause……He abdicates all rights to be his own governor. He inclusively, in a great measure, abandons the right of self-defense, the first law of nature. Men cannot enjoy the rights of an uncivil and of a civil state together.” For example, there are always some fundamental ideas remaining untouched from being challenged in every society. Political correctness in US shall not be challenged. Communist Party of China shall not be challenged. A challenge to the American Black’s rights today is as provocative as a challenge to monarchy in terms of such virginity. They consist of the base of society and states. Such virginity can only be detained stained in revolution, not in ordinary daily life. The fear of Burke toward French Revolution and Enlightenment is that such stain might diffuse to England and threat England’s peace. What interests me here is the range of virginity. Maybe the distinction between a closed society and an open society is different virginal range. Maybe a small range of virginity which can hold on in time and space is a good thing for society and state. If the governing is based on a huge unchallengeable territory and such territory is overlapping with basic human rights too much, this type of governing is a tyranny. Next, Burke exams the true nature of government. One part of the nature of government is what I said previously. I will not discuss them anymore. Another interesting part is about Burke’s idea on the science of constructing a commonwealth. Burke believes that such science is on experience, not is taught a priori. This belief reflects some fundamental insights on statecrafts and how to deal with political science. I think Burke is half right here and he is a really insightful observer concerning with unintended consequence and complex society. Burke’s belief here is observation and interpretation. It is hard to reason a personal perception empirically. But it is worth explaining my personal understanding of his perception. When dealing with real life politics, one shall not just apply some model priori to experience and apply them arbitrarily. For example, democracy and market economy are generally good things. But, when applied to Iraq, it caused disaster. It is not because democracy and market economy are bad inherently. It is because democracy and market economy shall be shaped in a suitable way to Iraq. It is the same with Soviet Union’s reformation. Professor Sachs is either naïve or evil. You just cannot shut everything down and give all the stocks of state own enterprises to every citizen and wait for an emergence of market economy. We Chinese are not familiar with mainstream social science in the west at all in the late 70’s and early 80’s. They just started the reformation little by little, which happened to be in a scientific way unknown to Chinese at that time by luck. Finally, the reformation succeeded. I do not regard political science as purely experience. It is statecrafts, not political science, that are experience. Political science is largely based on deductive theory. When one trying to apply political science to real life politics, one should be cautious and master the arts of analysis. Then hopefully things might go well. When dealing with the nature of government, Burke mentions a particular type of intellectuals which interests me a lot. These metaphysics theorists tend to be not prudent and interpret everything which does not work as they predict as wrong within the reality, not wrong within their reasoning and theory. Such people shall not be given the rights to power. Then, who shall be entitled with power according to Burke? When stating the errors of the French Revolution, Burke points that only people with merit shall be entitled with power. “There is no qualification for government but virtue and wisdom, actual or presumptive.” In actual, he means people like himself, who go through the ladder of power with tremendous hardship shall be given power. In presumptive, he refers to those with property or good title shall be given power. In the reasoning of property, Burke believes those with property have the merit of prudence. “Everything ought to be open, but not indifferently, to every man.” In the French case, he despises the members of National Assembly, which consists of unqualified mass according to his point of view. An interesting point here is to investigate the empirical impact of property on political merits. It is off the topic of Burke, but it is worth considering. Property means prudence, I agree. Property may result in both selfish and altruism. One with a huge property may serve himself or herself entirely to the state because he or she has no more pursuit of wealth. But it is still conceivable that one with immense property to put himself or herself upon the states. Beyond these, the problem here is that a power system based purely on title and property cannot respond to fundamental change properly. If the rulers are in favor of fundamental change, they may embrace it. If not, they may thwart it. Hence, the fundamental problem with Burke is that his theory is reactionary to fundamental systematic changing. He is in favor of slow and steady changing. His idea is a deep insight on the base of governing and real life statecrafts. But his system does not answer to profound changes, the inevitable changes threating some basic values and the monopoly of value interpretation. There is always an underlying motion, a revolutionary and critical tension threating the whole system. His theory cannot respond to such things. Finally, I would like to apply his theory to American presidential election and see which parts of his theory can work and which parts cannot work. I am tired now and I want to make it concise. I think this American presidential election is just an ordinary change within the constitution of US. It has nothing to do with overthrowing the constitution so Burke has nothing to comment on the legitimacy of presidency as he does in defending monarchy in England. Burke might be interested in Trump’s provocative and demagogy speeches. He may not render it as despicable as the metaphysics theorist’s words. Trump’s words are still in the system of presidency. It does not change the democracy to dictatorship or something like that. He might suggest the next president’s policy should be prudent and the experience of politics should be considered. In conclusion, I believe that Burke’s idea is reactionary to fundamental change and open to gradual improvement. He has a really insightful understanding on real life politics and deserves careful consideration.