What is the Role of Leo Strauss in Conservative Thought?

By |2015-07-31T12:03:41-05:00July 23rd, 2015|Categories: Conservatism, Featured, Leo Strauss, Peter A. Lawler|Tags: |

One difference between postmodern conservatives and other contributors to First Thoughts has to do with being influenced by Leo Strauss. Each pomoncon can speak for himself (or herself). But I would say that we all regard that influence as making us better and especially more astute thinkers and readers of first-rate books than we would otherwise be. So [...]

Why Liberalism Means Empire

By |2019-08-08T11:17:07-05:00August 9th, 2014|Categories: Christendom, Conservatism, Democracy in America, Liberalism, War|Tags: , |

History ended on October 14, 1806. That was the day of the Battle of Jena, the turning point, as far as philosopher G.W.F. Hegel was concerned, in humanity’s struggle for freedom. Once Napoleon triumphed over the reactionary forces of Prussia, the ideals that post-revolutionary France represented—not just liberté, égalité, and fraternité, but the modern state [...]

Leo Strauss and the Right’s Civil War

By |2020-09-25T00:51:32-05:00June 13th, 2014|Categories: Conservatism, Leo Strauss|Tags: , |

I recently reviewed Paul Gottfried’s Leo Strauss and the Conservative Movement in America for the University Bookman. Paul responds to my review here. Note that in addition to Paul’s book being available as an affordable paperback, the Kindle edition is now going for just $12.49—if you’re interested in this topic, be sure to read it [...]

GOP Demographic Crisis: Traditional Conservatism ≠ Conformism

By |2014-02-21T15:55:48-06:00February 24th, 2014|Categories: Conservatism, Edmund Burke|Tags: , |

The problem with Republican Party outreach runs deeper than a failure to offer policies tailored to ethnic interests, such as amnesty for illegal immigrants. The core of the GOP demographic crisis isn’t just racial, it’s generational and cultural: as Leon Hadar has noted of the Asian vote, “younger and more educated Asian-Americans are drifting by large [...]

Modernism & Conservatism: Does the culture of “The Waste Land” lead to freedom—or something more?

By |2014-01-21T12:51:53-06:00November 26th, 2012|Categories: Conservatism, Film, Modernity, T.S. Eliot|Tags: , |

Nearly 30 years before he shocked National Review by endorsing Barack Obama for president, senior editor Jeffery Hart announced a divorce of a different kind from the American right. With “The Intelligent Woman’s Guide to a Modern American Conservatism”—published in The New Right Papers in 1982 and previewed in NR a few months earlier—Hart split [...]

Liberal Imperialism: Metternich vs. McEmpire

By |2014-01-23T09:14:47-06:00November 28th, 2011|Categories: Foreign Affairs|Tags: , |

Conservatism is poorly understood in the United States. It is not right-wing liberalism or nationalism; nor is it political Protestantism. It has nothing to do with a neurotic longing for an ideal past, and reactionaries who insist there is nothing left to conserve show that they don’t know the meaning of the word. Conservatism has [...]

Books That Make Us Human: Daniel McCarthy

By |2013-12-21T11:38:06-06:00September 22nd, 2011|Categories: Books, Books that Make Us Human, Jean-Jacques Rousseau|Tags: |

My canon of the very best books that help us understand our humanity would contain no surprises. But Brad Birzer has said he wants to add to his reading list, so allow me to suggest some works that are instructive for reasons quite different from those of the recognized classics. I Am Legend by Richard [...]

Albert Jay Nock: The Impossibility of a Return to the Liberal Arts?

By |2018-10-06T16:35:14-05:00August 2nd, 2011|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Liberal Learning, Traditional Conservatives and Libertarians|Tags: , |

One of the greatest intellectual pleasures of my summer has been the discovery of the writings of Albert Jay Nock. 

Well, really, the re-discovery. 

I had twice read Nock’s Our Enemy, the State, but I’d never found it compelling. In fact, if anything, at the times I read it, I found it rather repulsive. It [...]

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