The Fertility God of Conservatism

It is hard to imagine what the world of a conservative intellectual looked like in 1953. In our present age of talk radio (led by Rush Limbaugh), Fox News, national conservative magazines and blogs, and the New York-D.C. axis of Right-leaning think tanks, we regard the conservative movement as ubiquitous—and inextricably linked to politics and public policy.

This was not the case in 1953, when conservatism had apparently lost the battle of ideas. Liberalism was so dominant in mid-20th century America that leading Progressive intellectuals had pronounced conservatism dead—or at least obsolete—based on the presumed triumph of the New Deal and Keynesian economics. There was no movement per se—no banner publication, no clearly defined leader. Then, in 1953, an obscure academic living in—of all places—East Lansing, Michigan published a book called The Conservative Mind.

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