PLAYLIST: http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=C20E954A7632DCFD Jonah Goldberg discusses his new book, "Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the America...
Always the Last to Know
Orrin Judd links to a quote from Slate contributor Beverly Gage, a Yale history professor, who asks, “American conservatives have a canon. Why don’t American liberals?”
Ask Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan how he became a conservative and he’ll probably answer by citing a book. It might be Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged. Or perhaps he’ll come up with Friedrich Hayek’s Road to Serfdom, or even Barry Goldwater’s Conscience of a Conservative. All of these books are staples of the modern conservative canon, works with the reputed power to radicalize even the most tepid Republican. Over the last half-century, they have been vital to the conservative movement’s success–and to liberalism’s demise.
We tend to think of the conservative influence in purely political terms: electing Ronald Reagan in 1980, picking away at Social Security, reducing taxes for the wealthy. But one of the movement’s most lasting successes has been in developing a common intellectual heritage. Any self-respecting young conservative knows the names you’re supposed to spout: Hayek, Rand, Ludwig von Mises, Albert Jay Nock. There are some older thinkers too–Edmund Burke, for instance–but for the most part the favored thinkers come out of the movement’s mid-20th century origins in opposition to Soviet communism and the New Deal.
Liberals, by contrast, have been moving in the other direction over the last half-century, abandoning the idea that ideas can be powerful political tools.
Yes, I know. Jonah Goldberg explored that topic in-depth four years ago in Liberal Fascism, and earlier, in a preview of his then-book-in-progress, eight years ago at the Corner, where he first wrote on “the generalized ignorance or silence of mainstream liberals about their own intellectual history:”
Have you read his book? He's the editor of National Review (so, I don't agree with his views on many things) but his book is a well researched review of the historical roots of today's left/progressive movement.
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