Confronting the New Conservatism: The Rise of the Right in America

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William Kristol, Paul Wolfowitz, Donald Rumsfeld, Condoleeza Rice, George F. Will, and Dick Cheney. These are today’s neoconservatives“confident, clear-cut, and a political force to be reckoned with. But how should we define this new conservatism? What is new about it? In this volume, some of today's top political scholars take on the charge of explaining, defining, and confronting the new conservatism of the last twenty-five years. The authors examine the ideas, policies and roots of this ideological movement showing that contemporary neoconservatism has been able to blend many of the aspects of social conservatism—such as religious populism and nationalism—with economic liberalism and the rhetoric of equality of opportunity and individualism. With their emphasis on dismantling the welfare state and a rhetorical return to economic laissez faire and individual rights, neoconservatives have been able to harness populist sentiment in terms of both economics and cultural issues. And with their belief in moral and cultural “simplicity,” their turn away from science, their conviction in American superiority on the global stage, and their embrace of “anti-government” rhetoric, they have effectively changed the nature of the American political landscape.

The contributors to Confronting the New Conservatism offer a trenchant analysis and substantive critique of the neoconservative ethos, arguing that it is an ideology that needs to be better understood if change is to be had.

Contributors: Stanley Aronowitz, Chip Berlet, Stephen Eric Bronner, Lawrence Davidson, Greg Grandin, Philip Green, Diana M. Judd, Thomas M. Keck, Charles Noble, R. Claire Snyder, Michael J. Thompson, and Nicholas Xenos.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“Thompson . . . has put together a book of essays that seeks to ‘confront’ this new conservatism and lay bare its inner workings. The collection brings together commentators on contemporary American politics. . . . The group has an unabashedly progressive bent and their stated objective is to bury the new conservatism even as they enviously praise its successes.”

“A useful resource that will enable the careful reader to understand the similarities and differences among these multiple ideologies.”


“Thompson has assembled an exciting collection of essays written by a high quality group of scholars. The essays are sharp and academically rigorous, but also highly engaging and readable.”
-Judith Grant,author of Fundamental Feminism

“Arguing that American conservatism today is not only a rejoinder to liberalism but a reflection of at least some of its values, Confronting the New Conservatism subjects the neo-conservative and Christian conservative movements to thoughtful scrutiny and original scholarly analysis. While animated by progressive politics, this collection offers students and citizens alike a deeper look at the intellectual and ideological foundations of the American right in ways that will encourage understanding as well as a more effective liberal response.”
-Benjamin R. Barber,author of Jihad vs. McWorld

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814782989
  • Publisher: New York University Press
  • Publication date: 5/1/2007
  • Pages: 314
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.88 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael J. Thompson is Assistant Professor of Political Science at William Paterson University and the founding editor of Logos: A Journal of Modern Society & Culture.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments     vii
Introduction: Confronting the New Conservatism   Michael J. Thompson     1
What Is the New Conservatism?
America's Conservative Landscape: The New Conservatism and the Reorientation of American Democracy   Michael J. Thompson     9
Cultural Rage and the Right-Wing Intellectuals   Philip Green     31
Considerations on the Origins of Neoconservatism: Looking Backward   Stanley Aronowitz     56
The New Political Right in the United States: Reaction, Rollback, and Resentment   Chip Berlet     71
The New Conservatism at Home
From Neoconservative to New Right: American Conservatives and the Welfare State   Charles Noble     109
Tearing Down the Wall: Conservative Use and Abuse of Religion in Politics   Diana M. Judd     125
Paradox or Contradiction: The Marriage Mythos in Neoconservative Ideology   R. Claire Snyder     144
The Neoconservative Assault on the Courts: How Worried Should We Be?   Thomas M. Keck     164
The Global Reach of the New Conservative Ideology
The Imperial Presidency: The Legacy of Reagan's Central America Policy   Greg Grandin     197
The Neocon Con Game: Nihilism Revisited   Nicholas Xenos     225
One-Dimensional Men: Neoconservatives, TheirAllies and Models   Lawrence Davidson     247
Resisting the Right: Challenging the Neoconservative Agenda   Stephen Eric Bronner     269
Contributors     285
Index     289
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