Wilfred McClay At First Things: ‘The Enduring Irving Kristol’

Full piece here.

McClay discusses Kristol’s legacy:

‘In the beginning, he saw it not as a root-and-branch repudiation of liberalism in all its aspects but as a corrective to the destructive effects of liberalism run amok, an outlook that presumed the fundamental sobriety and humane good sense of a very moderate and culturally conservative form of liberalism. A neoconservative was, in the famous formulation, a liberal who had been “mugged by reality”—something that purer conservatives could not (and would not be likely to) claim for themselves.’


‘There may be a case to be made for the continuing distinctiveness of the neoconservative persuasion, which rests far more comfortably in the lap of modernity than does the older conservatism, being more accepting (for example) of the principle of equality, or of the mild regulation of the market economy, and accepting, if only because they have become “facts on the ground,” the necessity for many reforms (such as Social Security) that traditionalist conservatives had routinely anathematized.’

So, is a purer conservatism still roaming the land…exiled by neoconservatism?:

“In the end,” he wrote in 1974, “the only authentic criterion for judging any economic or political system, or any set of social institutions, is this: what kind of people emerge from them?” In asking such a question, he offered us a perspective that cuts against both the statist liberalism that is now in power and the anti-statist libertarianism that asserts itself as statism’s only principled alternative.’

Related On This Site: Samuel Huntington responded to liberalism and influenced generations from Fukuyama to Fareed Zakaria:  From The Atlantic: Samuel Huntington’s Death And Life’s WorkFrom The American Interest Online: Francis Fukuyama On Samuel Huntington

Fukuyama has moved away from neconservatism and toward Darwin?:  Adam Kirsch Reviews Francis Fukuyama’s New Book At The City Journal: ‘The Dawn Of Politics’

Robert Nozick merged elements of Kant and Locke into a strong, libertarian defense of the individual, and also responded to Rawls distributive justice: A Few Thoughts On Robert Nozick’s “Anarchy, State and Utopia”From Slate: ‘The Liberty Scam-Why Even Robert Nozick, The Philosophical Father Of Libertarianism, Gave Up On The Movement He Inspired.’

A Few Thoughts On Isaiah Berlin’s “Two Concepts Of Liberty”

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