Maverick political scientist Willmoore Kendall predicted the triumph of conservatism. Upon the 1963 publication of Kendall's The Conservative Affirmation, his former Yale student William F. Buckley, Jr. called him "one of the most superb and original political analysts of the 20th century," but even Buckley shook his head at what appeared to be Kendall's "baffling optimism." During the 60's, Kendall stood apart from the mainstream conservative movement which he accused of being anti-populist and of "storming American public opinion from without" by wrongly assuming that the American people were essentially corrupt and "always ready to sell their votes to the highest bidder." Kendall believed that Americans would come to actively realize the conservatism which they had always actually lived.
This book seeks to break new ground by providing an original framework within which to understand conservative politics and to compare what has always been thought to be opposite ideal types -- a British conservatism characterized by traditionalism and an American conservatism defined by its optimistic individualism.
In the second half of the twentieth century, American conservatism emerged from the shadow of New Deal liberalism and developed into a movement exerting considerable influence on the formulation and execution of public policy in the United States. During that period, the political philosophers who provided the intellectual foundations for the American conservative movement were John H. Hallowell, Eric Voegelin, Leo Strauss, Richard Weaver, Russell Kirk, Robert Nisbet, John Courtney Murray, Friedrich Hayek, and Willmoore Kendall. By offering a comprehensive analysis of their thoughts and beliefs, The Dilemmas of American Conservatism both illuminates the American conservative imagination and reveals its most serious contradictions. The contributing authors question whether a core set of conservative principles can be determined based on the frequently diverging perspectives of these key philosophers.
"Interprets Leo Strauss's political philosophy from a conservative standpoint and argues that Strauss was a Cold War liberal. Suggests inattention to Christianity is crucial to the Straussian portrayal of Anglo-American democracy as a universal regime whose eternal ideals of liberty and constitutional governmnent accord with the teachings of Plato and Aristotle, rather than the Gospels"--
First published in 1991, this is a reissue of the path-breaking Dictionary of Conservative and Libertarian Thought, the first book to examine the ideals and arguments produced by the intellectual traditions of both conservatism and classical liberalism. Covering the ideas of many such distinguished thinkers as Hayek, Scruton, Friedman and Buchanan, the volume provides a valuable survey of the historical development of both schools of thought in all of the major western countries and their contributions to contemporary debates. From American Conservatism to French Liberalism, Invisible Hand to Organic Society, from Scientism to Scepticism and Utopianism to Voluntarism, this is a vital work whose reissue will be welcomed as much by the keen layperson as by students of political science, the history of philosophy, economics and public policy.