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- Feb 2014
In the eighteenth century, Edmund Burke argued that property stabilized society and prevented political and social turmoil that, he believed, would result from a purely meritocratic order. n8 Property served as a counterweight protecting the class of persons who possessed it against competition from nonpropertied people of natural ability and talent. To Burke, the French National Assembly -- dominated by upstart lawyers from the provinces -- exemplified the risk of disorder and inexperience of an unpropertied leadership. n9 In contrast, the British parliament, a proper mix of talented commoners and propertied Lords, ruled successfully.