The Reactionary Mind by Corey Robin
Conservatism from Edmund Burke to Sarah Palin

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Late in life, William F. Buckley made a confession to Corey Robin. Capitalism is "boring," said the founding father of the American right. "Devoting your life to it," as conservatives do, "is horrifying if only because it's so repetitious. It's like sex." With this unlikely conversation began Robin's decade-long foray into the conservative mind. What is conservatism, and what's truly at stake for its proponents? If capitalism bores them, what excites them?
Tracing conservatism back to its roots in the reaction against the French Revolution, Robin argues that the right is fundamentally inspired by a hostility to emancipating the lower orders. Some conservatives endorse the free market, others oppose it. Some criticize the state, others celebrate it. Underlying these differences is the impulse to defend power and privilege against movements demanding freedom and equality.
Despite their opposition to these movements, conservatives favor a dynamic conception of politics and society--one that involves self-transformation, violence, and war. They are also highly adaptive to new challenges and circumstances. This partiality to violence and capacity for reinvention has been critical to their success.
Written by a keen, highly regarded observer of the contemporary political scene, The Reactionary Mind ranges widely, from Edmund Burke to Antonin Scalia, from John C. Calhoun to Ayn Rand. It advances the notion that all rightwing ideologies, from the eighteenth century through today, are historical improvisations on a theme: the felt experience of having power, seeing it threatened, and trying to win it back.

About Corey Robin

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Corey Robin teaches political science at Brooklyn College and the CUNY Graduate Center. His writings have appeared in the New York Times, Harper's, and the London Review of Books.
Published September 29, 2011 by Oxford University Press. 305 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences, Education & Reference. Non-fiction

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The Guardian

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Perhaps the biggest weakness is Robin's inability to engage with Conservatism's enduring popularity.

Nov 05 2011 | Read Full Review of The Reactionary Mind: Conserv...

Huffington Post

On the other hand, Muslims, who are fortunate enough to live in countries which reasonably guarantee the freedom of expression, may be able to help and support fledgling progressive-liberal movements in Muslim countries.

Feb 11 2012 | Read Full Review of The Reactionary Mind: Conserv...


That's because Frank's emphasis is on the idea that we should do more to tax rich people's consumption, whereas Hubbard's is on the idea that we should do less to tax rich people's investment income.

Jan 02 2012 | Read Full Review of The Reactionary Mind: Conserv...

Bookmarks Magazine

By jonMon, 10/17/2011 - 10:07.

Oct 17 2011 | Read Full Review of The Reactionary Mind: Conserv...

The American Conservative

The New Inquiry invited me to discuss Corey Robin’s new book, The Reactionary Mind, with him.

Nov 04 2011 | Read Full Review of The Reactionary Mind: Conserv...

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