Jonah (and Dan and John), the unusual Burke suggestions on that conservative books list are in part my doing (as I was one of the contributors). My first suggestion was a Burke text, but it was the Appeal from the New to the Old Whigs rather than the Reflections on the Revolution in France. This was in part frankly because I figured all the other contributors would suggest the Reflections so I could sneak another Burke choice on the list, yet none did. But in (larger) part it was because we were tasked with listing books that exemplify conservative thought, and the Appeal is in some important ways a more deeply conservative book (and a deeper conservative book) than the Reflections. (Strictly speaking both are pamphlets and not books, but anyway…)
Dark and inscrutable are the ways by which we come into the world. The instincts which give rise to this mysterious process of nature are not of our making. But out of physical causes, unknown to us, perhaps unknowable, arise moral duties, which, as we are able perfectly to comprehend, we are bound indispensably to perform. Parents may not be consenting to their moral relation; but consenting or not, they are bound to a long train of burthensome duties towards those with whom they have never made a convention of any sort. Children are not consenting to their relation, but their relation, without their actual consent, binds them to its duties; or rather it implies their consent because the presumed consent of every rational creature is in unison with the predisposed order of things. Men come in that manner into a community with the social state of their parents, endowed with all the benefits, loaded with all the duties of their situation. If the social ties and ligaments, spun out of those physical relations which are the elements of the commonwealth, in most cases begin, and always continue, independently of our will, so without any stipulation, on our part, are we bound by that relation called our country, which comprehends (as it has been well said) “all the charities of all.” Nor are we left without powerful instincts to make this duty as dear and grateful to us, as it is awful and coercive.