Right Makes Might
How did Conservatives overtake the American political scene? By stoking a rhetoric of resentful individualism—and playing the race card with a new finesse.
White Protestant Nation:
The Rise of the American Conservative Movement
by Allan J. Lichtman
$27.50 List Price
When I was in graduate school studying American history, there was a quick and easy interpretation of postwar politics. It went something like this: A "liberal consensus" dominated the American political scene from around 1945 to 1968. During those years, anticommunist liberalism—which included battling the Soviet Union abroad while securing civil rights for African Americans and a welfare state at home—exerted a Borg-like hold on the political establishment. Liberal ideas were everywhere. They were the air that America's leaders breathed. Conservative ideas—if such things existed—were little more than what Lionel Trilling called, in 1950, "irritable mental gestures." Conservatives during these years were cranks or crotchety sons of bitches whose ideas slid off the political radar.
Then bam—presto! came the '60s.
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