Vindication of Natural Society Hogeye Condensed Version
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  • Burke identifies the "unbiased arbiter" problem in the State of Nature, as Locke did.

  • He sees the state of nature in a rather negative way. Where he sees refusal to cooperate ("want of union, want of mutual assistance"), later anarchists would see a spontaneous voluntary form of "mutual aid"(Kropotkin) and "economic harmony" (Bastiat), with man naturally possessing a moral faculty and evolving "positive beneficence" (Herbert Spencer.)

  • Natural Society - Society founded in natural Appetites and Instincts, and not in any positive Institution

  • Political Society - a Union of many Families bound by the force of positive law

  • Later writers would theorize on how states evolved from hunter-gatherer groups. Burke simply points out that States do exist, under which virtually "all Mankind" has "fallen."

  • Throughout this piece, Burke reiterates that he is simply a truth-seeker, so please don't blame him for uncomfortable or politically incorrect implications. He is, as we say, covering his ass. Later, when he ran for Parliament, Burke renounced this essay, claiming it was satire.
In the State of Nature, without question, Mankind was subjected to many and great Inconveniencies. Want of Union, Want of mutual Assistance, Want of a common Arbitrator to resort to in their Differences. These were Evils which they could not but have felt pretty severely on many Occasions. The mutual Desires of the Sexes uniting their Bodies and Affections, and the Children, which were the Results of these Intercourses, introduced first the Notion of Society, and taught its Conveniences. This Society, founded in natural Appetites and Instincts, and not in any positive Institution, I shall call Natural Society.

Man found a considerable Advantage by this Union of many Persons to form one Family; he therefore judged that he would find his Account proportionably in an Union of many Families into one Body politick. And as Nature has formed no Bond of Union to hold them together, he supplied this Defect by Laws.

This is Political Society. And hence the Sources of what are usually called States, civil Societies, or Governments; into some Form of which, more extended or restrained, all Mankind have gradually fallen. And since it has so happened, and that we owe an implicit Reverence to all the Institutions of our Ancestors, we shall consider these Institutions with all that Modesty with which we ought to conduct ourselves in examining a received Opinion; but with all that Freedom and Candour which we owe to Truth wherever we find it, or however it may contradict our own Notions, or oppose our own Interests.

ToAnarchPg Vindication of Natural Society