Sunday, January 24, 2016

"First Used the Word 'Conservative' to Classify Various Currents of Antiprogressive Dissidence"

"Kirk's philosophical conservatism is nothing like the political doctrines that today bear that name: He backed the Socialist Norman Thomas for president in 1944, Barry Goldwater in 1964, Eugene McCarthy in 1976 and Pat Buchanan in 1992. He was not nationalistic. American nuclear strategy, the internment of Japanese citizens during World War II, the country's treatment of American Indians and Middle East policy at the time of the first gulf war—these outraged him. Nor does Kirk extol entrepreneurship. He regrets that 'Alexander Hamilton the financier, the party manager, the empire builder, fascinates those numerous Americans among whom the acquisitive instinct is confounded with the conservative tendency.' Kirk worried early on about 'vanished forests and eroded lands, wasted petroleum and ruthless mining.'"

Christopher J. Caldwell in The New York Times reviews Bradley J. Birzer's Russell Kirk: American Conservative.

No comments: