The Corner

Re: Conservative “Big Three”

In response to Jonah’s query below , I think that Peter Berkowitz’s selection of the “big three” of American conservatism is defensible, but debatable. If one is looking for philosophical influences, focusing on Kirk, Hayek and Strauss makes more sense than focusing on political writers, or even those, like NR’s own Frank Meyer, who did not produce the same volume of philosophical work. On the other hand, I think Berkowitz does overstate the relative importance of Strauss in post-WWII American conservative thought, particularly prior to the 1980s or 1990s. Hayek and Kirk (along with Meyer, Milton Friedman, and Richard Weaver, among others) had a much larger influence in modern conservativism’s formative period than did Strauss.

Jonathan H. Adler — Mr. Adler is an NRO contributing editor and the inaugural Johan Verheij Memorial Professor of Law at Case Western Reserve University School of Law. His latest book is Marijuana Federalism: Uncle Sam and Mary Jane.