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The Great Debate : Edmund Burke, Thomas Paine, and the Birth of Right and Left
by Levin Yuval


Overview - For more than two centuries, our political life has been divided between a party of progress and a party of conservation. In "The Great Debate," Yuval Levin explores the origins of the left/right divide by examining the views of the men who best represented each side of that debate at its outset: Edmund Burke and Thomas Paine.  Read more...

 
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More About The Great Debate by Levin Yuval
 
 
 
Overview
For more than two centuries, our political life has been divided between a party of progress and a party of conservation. In "The Great Debate," Yuval Levin explores the origins of the left/right divide by examining the views of the men who best represented each side of that debate at its outset: Edmund Burke and Thomas Paine. In a groundbreaking exploration of the roots of our political order, Levin shows that American partisanship originated in the debates over the French Revolution, fueled by the fiery rhetoric of these ideological titans.
Levin masterfully shows how Burke's and Paine s differing views, a reforming conservatism and a restoring progressivism, continue to shape our current political discourseon issues ranging from abortion to welfare, education, economics, and beyond. Essential reading for anyone seeking to understand Washington s often acrimonious rifts, "The Great Debate" offers a profound examination of what conservatism, liberalism, and the debate between them truly amount to.
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Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780465050970
  • ISBN-10: 0465050972
  • Publisher: Basic Books (AZ)
  • Publish Date: December 2013
  • Page Count: 275
  • Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.5 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds


Related Categories

Books > Political Science > History & Theory - General
Books > Political Science > Political Ideologies - Conservatism & Liberalism
Books > Political Science > American Government - General

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2013-09-23
  • Reviewer: Staff

Two seminal thinkers anticipate the modern split between progressives and conservatives in this insightful study of 18th-century political theory. National Affairs editor Levin presents a lucid analysis of the ideological confrontation between Paine—a firebrand of the American and French Revolutions who championed a program of radical change that sought to reconstitute government on the basis of reason, equality and democracy—and Burke, the Irish statesman and British parliamentarian who defended the enduring value of tradition and hierarchy. In their jousting—the two men were acquainted and sometimes aimed broadsides at one another—Levin finds and elucidates fundamental issues in political philosophy: individual rights versus social obligations; the extent to which scientific rationalism and expertise can comprehend and regulate society; revolution and reform as competing modes of political change. Appropriately, Levin spends less time on Paine, whose creed of individual rights and representative government feels very up-to-date, than he does explicating Burke, whose rationales for monarchy and social subordination can seem antiquated and mystical; he succeeds in establishing the continued relevance of Burke’s thought and prescient critique of revolutionary excesses. Levin’s Paine and Burke don’t line up perfectly along the Democrat/Republican divide, but he unearths the roots of latter-day convictions in their far-reaching argument. (Dec.)

 
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