I'm a big fan of Edmund Burke, but this wishful thinking is about as useful as my crusade to swap a payroll tax in favor of a VAT:
His suspicion of absolute power gives modern readers no pause: That value is embedded in Western political thinking, even if different systems have different ways of expressing it. But Burke’s suspicion of abstract principles is more troublesome today. In contemporary politics, above all in the U.S., people of every ideological stripe claim constantly to be upholding abstract principles -- the principle of individual liberty, of the sanctity of life, of fairness in distribution, of property rights, of equality before the law, of free speech, of national security. Each of these principles, according to circumstances, is elevated to precedence over all the rest, and failure to acknowledge its pre-eminence puts dissenters beyond the pale.
Burke was the prototypical political moderate -- and his moderation followed from his view that these and other abstract principles are inevitably in tension. That this insight should be controversial seems odd, yet it was and still is. Politics, in Burke’s view, ought not to be about one principle simply prevailing over others, even if it commands majority support. It should be about balancing countervailing principles. No abstract rule can determine how this balance should be struck.