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By P. Gottfried

This ebook argues that the yank conservative circulation has been principally an invention of newshounds and Republican activists.

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Additional resources for Conservatism in America: Making Sense of the American Right

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One, the conservative Denkweise (way of thinking), emerged as a reaction to bourgeois rationalism as European aristocrats and their theoretical apologists reacted against liberal and revolutionary democratic reformers and their political designs. In opposition to these reformers, conservative critics on the continent upheld the inalienability of aristocratic estates, guild restrictions on trade practices, and seigniorial rights to dispense justice on noble land. More generally, they took aim at the materialist scientific approach to government and to economics embodied by the rising bourgeoisie, and they worked on alternative explanations for the evolution of human relations.

73 This statement unfolds like a creed going back to the Jacobins of the French Revolution. 75 The proposed middle ground, namely, a commitment to make democracy universally accepted, was in fact a capitulation to the neoconservatives who were then on the rise. Van den Haag had advanced his proposal despite his longtime friendship with Kirk and their shared interest in reversing the eroding unity of conservatives after the fall of the Soviet Empire. The qualified endorsement of the Trotskyite tradition in National Review Online (June 3, 2003) is indicative of where mutating value conservatism may be leading.

Another characteristic attributed by Mannheim to the conservative mode of thought referred to its practitioners, intellectuals who offered their services to a threatened social class. Crucial to Mannheim’s insight is his controversial concept of “free-floating intellectuals [freischwebende Intelligenz],” which does not signify exclusively that which it is often misunderstood to mean. Mannheim did not suggest that intellectuals are more selfless than other specimens of humanity; rather, his point was that intellectuals, ever since the Middle Ages when they were tied firmly to the Catholic Church as theologians and priests, have been moving around looking for classes and institutions to which they could attach themselves.

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