The Woven Figure: Conservatism and America's Fabric

Overview

Swatches From The Century's End
...I cannot deny my past to which my self is wed, the woven figure cannot undo its thread.
Louis MacNeice, "Valediction"

These words express a truth of conservatism that has discomfited conservatives in the years covered by this volume. This collection of columns shows how, in the mid-1990s, conservatives fancied themselves poised to conduct a ...

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The Woven Figure: Conservatism and America's Fabric

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Overview

Swatches From The Century's End
...I cannot deny my past to which my self is wed, the woven figure cannot undo its thread.
Louis MacNeice, "Valediction"

These words express a truth of conservatism that has discomfited conservatives in the years covered by this volume. This collection of columns shows how, in the mid-1990s, conservatives fancied themselves poised to conduct a revolution, a radical reorientation of politics and governance. But in the late 1990s, they have discovered how resistant a complex nation is to being undone and rewoven.
In this volume, George F. Will, distinguished political columnist and cultural critic, examines many episodes of the conservative tribulations and the liberal accommodations to the new political landscape. These writings present a map of the landscape, a guide for people perplexed by the gap between contemporary political theories and practices.
With his customary linguistic flair and acerbic wit, Mr. Will tackles a wide range of subjects, including political correctness on college campuses; extreme fighting; the 1996 presidential campaign; judicial activism; ESPN; and Corvettes. These writings are history written on deadline, and together they constitute a richly woven tapestry of our era.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
John Hohlt The New York Times Book Review Memorable, well polished.
Kirkus Reviews
Excellent tonic for those fans of the popular pundit (The Levelling Wind, 1994, etc.) who prefer to ingest his brand of conservatism in large doses.

Large, in this case, means 150 essays unlinked by organizing themes or extended analyses. Regardless, in the Newsweek and Washington Post political columnist's latest musings about recent events, books, and people, he consistently delivers what his readers have come to expect: a principled partisanship leavened by wit, informed by a knowledge of history and philosophy, and strengthened by his choice to favor argument over rant. Nevertheless, finding novel opportunities to cast aspersions on liberals is a primary purpose (and an abiding amusement) for Will. Who else would extend an opinion that "liberalism, as is well-known, is not fond of fun" into an essay/obituary for the father of the Corvette? And yet Will resists the recently popular pabulum decreeing that liberals are always wrong (and probably evil), while conservatives are the miraculous gift of a blessed creator. By recognizing the tensions between capitalism and claims of individual rights on the one hand, and the pull of tradition, social order, and community on the other, the author confronts American conservatism with an honest and circumspect assessment of its flaws, as well as its advantages. In the longest and weightiest contribution to the volume, Will struggles with a "cultural contradiction" facing contemporary conservatives: It is not reasonable to resolutely oppose government when true conservatism stands for an order in which government is required. Moreover, simply to promote an alternative policy agenda would distinguish conservatives from liberals only by the particular interests they happened to serve. For Will, conservatism must rise above the commonplaces of the current Conservative Revolution.

Vintage Will. One can only hope his work will inspire serious thought—and not just squeals of pleasure—from his like- minded colleagues.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780684848204
  • Publisher: Free Press
  • Publication date: 10/20/1998
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 0.86 (w) x 5.50 (h) x 8.50 (d)

Meet the Author

George F. Will is a columnist for the Washington Post Writer's Group, a contributing editor of Newsweek, and a regular guest on the weekly ABC-TV program This Week. A winner of the Pulitzer Prize for commentary, he lives in Chevy Chase, Maryland.

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