Originally published in 1964, What Is Conservatism? is one of the classic works of the modern conservative movement–and it is as relevant today as it was a half century ago. Just what is conservatism? Today, many people grope for answers, especially as conservatives seem to be retreating into factions–Tea Partiers, traditionalists, libertarians, “conservatarians,” social conservatives, reform conservatives, constitutional conservatives, crunchy conservatives, neoconservatives, paleoconservatives, and on and on. But this illuminating book shows what unites conservatives even as it explores conservatism’s rich internal debate.
Edited by Frank S. Meyer, who popularized the idea of “fusionism” that became the basis for modern American conservatism, What Is Conservatism? features brilliant essays by twelve leading conservative thinkers and spokesmen, including: F. A. Hayek, Nobel Prize-winning economist and author of The Road to Serfdom; William F. Buckley Jr., founder of National Review and the man perhaps most responsible for the rise of the modern conservative movement; Russell Kirk, whose seminal book The Conservative Mind gave the conservative movement its name; M. Stanton Evans, author of the conservative movement’s central manifesto, the “Sharon Statement” (1960); and Wilhelm Ropke, one of the twentieth century’s great economists.
In a foreword to this new edition, bestselling author Jonah Goldberg explains the profound influence of What Is Conservatism? on his own thought and the book’s relevance today.