Watch on the Right: Conservative Intellectuals in the Reagan Era

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The ascendancy of conservatism in the last 20 years is an unprecedented episode in American intellectual and political history. In Watch on the Right , J.David Hoeveler Jr, gives us enlightening, often immensely entertaining portraits of the key thinkers behind this revolution . As Hoeveler writes, conservative thinkers hang their hats on many different racks , and this book dramatizes for us the breadth of the conservative coalition as exemplified by the eight writers surveyed: William F.Buckley, Jr, George Will, Robert Nisbet, Irving Kristol, Hilton Kramer, Jeanne Tyrrell Jr, and Michael Novack. These eight gurus of the right represent a very wide spectrum of conservative thought, but Hoeveler also considers the present-day conservative renaissance against the literary background that has given the movement its identity since Edmund Burke. Amid the multiple voices unifying themes do emerge. American conservatives share a hostility toward the liberal new class - the professional media and academic elites and the entrenched government bureaucracies that still believe in the perfectibility of society by enforced social engineering. Moreover, conservatives of all persuasions are united in struggling to sustain traditional values against the onslaught of revolutionary capitalism and technology, and all are profoundly hostile to imperialistic communism on the Soviet model.