Faculty Book: Corey Robin
The Reactionary Mind: Conservatism from Edmund Burke to Sarah Palin
(Oxford University Press, 2011)
Tracing conservatism back to its roots in the reaction against the French Revolution, Robin argues that the right is fundamentally inspired by hostility toward emancipating the lower orders. Some conservatives endorse the free market, others oppose it; some criticize the state, others celebrate it; yet underlying these views is the impulse to defend power and privilege against movements demanding freedom and equality. Still, suggests Robin, conservatives favor a dynamic conception of politics and society—one that involves self-transformation, violence, and war. They are also highly adaptive. This partiality to violence and capacity for reinvention has been critical to their success. Ranging widely—from Edmund Burke to Antonin Scalia, from John C. Calhoun to Ayn Rand—the author advances the notion that all right-wing ideologies are historical improvisations on a theme: the experience of having power, seeing it threatened, and trying to win it back. Corey Robin (Assoc. Prof., Brooklyn) is on the doctoral faculty in political science.
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Submitted on: MAR 2, 2012