The Debate Between Liberty-Minded and Common-Good Conservatives Is Nothing New

National Review founder William F. Buckley Jr.
It’s been raging since Milton Friedman and Bill Buckley duked it out on Firing Line three decades ago.

NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE B etween Sohrab Ahmari’s denunciations of “David Frenchism,” Adrian Vermeule’s murkily authoritarian “common-good constitutionalism,” and Patrick Deneen’s book-long broadside against the liberal tradition, much ink has been spilled about the emergent ideological fissures within American conservatism. But such debates are hardly new. In fact, they’ve been going on for at least three decades.

Back in 1990, William F. Buckley Jr. published a little book called Gratitude. Subtitled “Reflections On What We Owe To Our Country,” the book was Buckley’s attempt to propose a Switzerland-style national-service program for America’s youth, born out of his concern that the younger generation lacked responsibility and patriotism.

Nate Hochman — Mr. Hochman is a senior at Colorado College, a Young Voices associate contributor, a Conservative Fellow at the Citizens’ Climate Lobby, and a former editorial intern at National Review and the Dispatch.


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