This book stresses the importance of returning to David Hume’s political thought, focusing on his ideas about the origin of government and political obedience, and his vision of the ideals of liberty, property, political stability, and moderation, all of which represent a precious source of inspiration for the development of political conservatism. Spartaco Pupo outlines the principle, counter-revolutionary features that characterise Hume’s conservatism: political realism; mistrust of sudden and violent innovations; scepticism toward abstractions; opposition to rationalist arrogance; respect for custom and institutional continuity; the need for the preservation of stability; rejection of ideological rhetoric, sectarianism, and dogmatism; constant denial of intellectual subsidies; and the defence of the national interest. In so doing, Pupo argues that Hume’s ‘sceptical’ and ‘secular’ version of conservatism – the fi rst to appear on the political scene of modernity – differs signifi cantly from the Anglo-American conservatism that was to arise a few decades after his death, in the wake of Edmund Burke’s writings.
Spartaco Pupo is Associate Professor of History of Political Thought at the University of Calabria. He is an expert in modern and contemporary conservatism and has published several works on the political thought of conservative authors, including Nisbet, Oakeshott, and Kirk. He edited and wrote the introduction to the volume of Hume’s essays A Petty Statesman: Writings on War and International Affairs (2019).