The Conservative Sensibility

The Conservative Sensibility

by George F. Will
The Conservative Sensibility

The Conservative Sensibility

by George F. Will


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The Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist's "astonishing" and "enthralling" New York Times bestseller and Notable Book about how the Founders' belief in natural rights created a great American political tradition (Booklist) — "easily one of the best books on American Conservatism ever written" (Jonah Goldberg).

For more than four decades, George F. Will has attempted to discern the principles of the Western political tradition and apply them to America's civic life. Today, the stakes could hardly be higher. Vital questions about the nature of man, of rights, of equality, of majority rule are bubbling just beneath the surface of daily events in America.

The Founders' vision, articulated first in the Declaration of Independence and carried out in the Constitution, gave the new republic a framework for government unique in world history. Their beliefs in natural rights, limited government, religious freedom, and in human virtue and dignity ushered in two centuries of American prosperity. Now, as Will shows, conservatism is under threat — both from progressives and elements inside the Republican Party. America has become an administrative state, while destructive trends have overtaken family life and higher education. Semi-autonomous executive agencies wield essentially unaccountable power. Congress has failed in its duty to exercise its legislative powers. And the executive branch has slipped the Constitution's leash.

In the intellectual battle between the vision of Founding Fathers like James Madison, who advanced the notion of natural rights that pre-exist government, and the progressivism advanced by Woodrow Wilson, the Founders have been losing. It's time to reverse America's political fortunes.

Expansive, intellectually thrilling, and written with the erudite wit that has made Will beloved by millions of readers, The Conservative Sensibility is an extraordinary new book from one of America's most celebrated political writers.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780316480949
Publisher: Hachette Books
Publication date: 09/01/2020
Pages: 640
Sales rank: 375,100
Product dimensions: 5.80(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.80(d)

About the Author

George F. Will writes a twice-weekly syndicated column on politics and domestic and foreign affairs for the Washington Post. He began his column with The Post in 1974, and he received the Pulitzer Prize for Commentary in 1977. He is also a regular contributor to MSNBC and NBC News. His fourteen previous books include One Man's America, Men at Work, and Statecraft as Soulcraft. Will grew up in Champaign, Ill., attended Trinity College and Oxford University and received a PhD from Princeton.

Table of Contents

Preface xiii

Introduction xv

1 The Founders' Epistemological Assertion 1

They Knew What Can Be Known

2 The Progressives' Revision 32

An Emancipation (from Natural Rights) Proclamation

3 Progressive's Institutional Consequences 102

The Presidency Triumphant, The Administrative State Rampant, Congress Dormant

4 The Judicial Supervision of Democracy 148

Difficulties with the "Counter-Majoritarian Difficulty"

5 Political Economy 216

Rescuing the Great Enrichment from the Fatal Conceit

6 Culture and Opportunity 299

The Scissors that Shredded Old Convictions

7 The Aims of Education 352

Talents for Praising and for Pessimism

8 Going Abroad 405

A Creedal Nation in a World on Probation

9 Welcoming Whirl 457

Conservatism Without Theism

10 Borne Back 512

The Quest for a Useable Past

Acknowledgments 539

Select Bibliography 541

Notes 561

Index 585

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