American Conservative Thought since World War II: The Core Ideas

American Conservative Thought since World War II: The Core Ideas

American Conservative Thought since World War II: The Core Ideas

American Conservative Thought since World War II: The Core Ideas

Synopsis

This highly readable work reviews previous definitions of American conservatism and then posits the two fundamental ideas that, held in tandem, form the core of contemporary conservative thought: the belief that human nature is unchanging and unalterable and the belief in the existence of an objective moral order independent of man's knowledge or perception of it. The remaining five chapters examine the influence of the core ideas on such concepts as authority, freedom, government and economics, community, and change and tradition.

Excerpt

A major problem hindering the understanding and evaluation of conservative thought in America is the lack of an adequate definition of conservatism. This is especially true of the contemporary period. Since World War II there has been a renaissance of self-styled conservative thinking and writing in the United States. Yet this significant intellectual movement remains largely misunderstood because no adequate definition of the conservatism propounded by these thinkers has been given. A number of scholarly works focus directly or indirectly on these thinkers, but most of these works do very little to elucidate the nature of the conservatism that these thinkers put forward. Some offer valuable information about individual thinkers or about the history and development of the contemporary American conservative movement, but they are not successful at making dear just what contemporary American conservative thought is--what defines it and distinguishes it from the ideas of thinkers of other persuasions.

Without such a definition, we cannot clearly and confidently distinguish contemporary American conservative thinkers from nonconservatives. An article in the New York Times Magazine illustrates the confusion over conservatism. The author, Steven R. Weisman , a White House reporter for the New York Times . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.