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Mar 04

Constitutional Conservatism: Liberty, Self-Government and Political Moderation

A book event.

Feuding among U.S. conservatives for the title of True Conservative is nothing new. Underlying the feud has been a failure to grasp that conservatism in America forms a family of principles that require accommodation: to each other, to the exigencies of the moment, and to the changing habits and opinions of the American people. In Constitutional Conservatism, Peter Berkowitz identifies the political principles social conservatives and libertarians share – or should share – and sketches the common ground on which they can and should join forces.

Drawing on the writings of Edmund Burke, The Federalist, and the high points of post-World War II American conservatism, Berkowitz argues that the top political priority for social conservatives and libertarians should be to rally around the principles of liberty crystallized in the U.S. Constitution and pursue reform in light of them. He shows that this task depends on the cultivation of the virtue of political moderation, which at its peak consists in the balancing of rival but worthy principles. He concludes that constitutional conservatism, well understood, provides a sturdy framework for developing a distinctive political agenda to which both social conservatives and libertarian conservatives can in good conscience subscribe.

Peter Berkowitz is the Tad and Dianne Taube Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, where he co-chairs the working group on the virtues of a free society and chairs the task force on national security and law.

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Peter Berkowitz
Author

Hosted By

Lee Edwards, Ph.D. Lee Edwards, Ph.D.

Distinguished Fellow in Conservative Thought, B. Kenneth Simon Center for Principles and Politics Read More