The Conservative Intellectual Tradition in America

Session 7: William F. Buckley Jr., Fusionism, and the Three-Legged Stool of Conservatism

Conservative Intellectual Tradition in America banner

Guest Lecturer: The Honorable David A. Keene, Esq.View a short interview regarding this theme

Themes: The translation of a conservative intellectual tradition into a movement; the idea of conservative fusionism; the attempts to reconcile libertarian and conservative thought, and persistent tensions; the central role of William F. Buckley in shaping conservative identity; the shared suspicion of statism/centralization in sustaining the conservative movement.


Recorded: 3/7/2012

Required Reading:

Buckley, William. “Freedom to Agree,” The American Mercury

Buckley, William. “Today We Are Educated Men”

Chambers, Whittaker. “Big Sister Is Watching You”

Goldwater, Barry. “The Conscience of a Conservative,” The Conscience of a Conservative (p. 9-14)

Meyer, Frank. “Conservatism” in In Defense of Freedom and Related Essays (Liberty Fund, 1996), pp. 187-205.

Hayek, F.A. “Why I am not a Conservative”

Kirk, Russell. “Why I Am a Conservative,” The Essential Russell Kirk (p. 42-45)

Nisbet, Robert. “Conservatives and Libertarians: Uneasy Cousins”

Nash, George H. “Creation Story: Building the House of Conservatism,” Reappraising the Right (p. 153-157)

Recommended Reading:

Adler, Jonathan. “Frank Meyer: The Fusionist as Federalist,” Publius: The Journal of Federalism

East, John. “The Political Thought of Willmoore Kendall,” The Political Science Reviewer

Edwards, Lee. William F. Buckley, Jr.: The Maker of a Movement

Kirk, Russell. “Libertarians: the Chirping Sectaries”

Nash, George. “Consolidation,” “Fission and Fusion: The Quest for Philosophical Order,” The Conservative Intellectual Movement in America since 1945

Course Overview

Section One: Introduction
Section Two: The Foundations of American Conservatism
Section Three: The 20th Century and the Recovery of a Conservative Tradition
Section Four: Conservative Triumph, Consensus, and Crisis