Published Humanitas, Volume XXI, Nos. 1 & 2, 2008

As this article will discuss the state and future of the so-called “conservative movement,” it is only fair to inform readers not familiar with the author’s views that he has long been a critic of prominent features of that movement. He has complained about its obsession with politics and its disproportionate interest in public policy and economics. For a society really to change, its mind and imagination need to be transformed. The author has complained about the movement’s propensity for formulaic thinking, its blithe acceptance of the anti-historical theorizing of Leo Strauss and the Straussians, and about purported conservatives’ thinking and acting like French Jacobins. He has criticized the movement for being less and less attentive to philosophy and the arts. Its trend-setters have been intellectual activists, journalists, and heads of foundations and think tanks rather than serious thinkers. Intellectual and moral confusion made it susceptible to manipulation by people with access to money and the media. The decline of the movement and of America was put into relief by absurd claims that conservatism had “triumphed.”

These arguments will not be repeated here; they are in print in various places. It should also be stated that, needless to say, the socalled conservative movement has had many admirable features. Some of its members resisted the trends that brought it to its present low point. Unfortunately, as it tries to recover, it may ignore those voices again and repeat its old mistakes.

This is a preview. Read the full article here.