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„On regular issues of policy reform—presupposing a stable integrated polity— Hume, Smith, and Burke were liberal in the original political meaning of ‚liberal.‘ Thus, on policy reform, although they accorded the status quo a certain presumption (as any reasonable person must), the more distinctive feature is that they maintained (even propounded, most plainly in Smith’s case) a presumption of liberty. But we need a category for matters of establishing, reforming, and securing the wider structure of political institutions, political procedure, and political culture and character—matters of polity reformation. On polity reformation, they showed sensibilities for which “conservative” is apt (though such conservatism was not otherwise purely neutral). Hume, Smith, and Burke were basically in agreement in the matters treated here. The article develops the theoretical distinction between policy reform and polity reformation, and coordinate understandings of ‚liberal‘ and ‚conservative.'“

The full paper is available here.