OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS

The Reactionary Mind: Conservatism from Edmund Burke to Sarah Palin

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Author: 
Corey Robin
Pub date
Mar 2012
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What is conservatism today? And what is its lineage? In The Reactionary Mind, political scientist Corey Robin (author of the acclaimed and prize-winning Fear: The History of a Political Idea) makes a strikingly bold claim about the right's political and intellectual foundations. Robin contends that from the eighteenth century through today, the right has been united by a defense of inequality and privilege and by a deep hostility to all forms of progressive politics. The book ranges widely, covering figures as various as Edmund Burke and Antonin Scalia, John C. Calhoun and Ayn Rand, Joseph de Maistre and Phyllis Schlafly. While mindful of differences within the right, and of change across time, Robin insists upon the unifying themes of the "counterrevolutionary experience"-the defense of rule in the face of movements demanding freedom and equality. The variation on the right that one sees, Robin claims, is as much a product of tactical adjustment as anything else. The right has always learned from the left. Abhorring stasis, it has opted for a dynamic conception of society, involving struggle, violence, and war. This capacity for reinvention and partiality to violence has been crucial to its continued vitality.

Index: 

Introduction
Part 1: Profiles in Reaction
Conservatism and Counterrevolution
The First Counterrevolutionary
Garbage and Gravitas
Inside Out
The Ex-Cons
Affirmative Action Baby
Part 2: The Virtues of Violence
A Color-Coded Genocide
Remembrance of Empires Past
Protocols of Machismo
Potomac Fever
Easy to Be Hard
Conclusion

About the author: 

Corey Robin teaches political science at Brooklyn College and the CUNY Graduate Center. His writings have appeared in the New York Times, Harper's, and the London Review of Books.

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