Magazine December 17, 2020, Issue

George H. Nash Finds Our Moment ‘Sobering’

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The historian reflects on the state of the Right, past and present

George H. Nash once set out to write on the conservative intellectual tradition. Somewhere along the way, he became a part of it.

His original plan was different. As a graduate student in history at Harvard University in the late 1960s, Nash needed a subject for his doctoral dissertation. He searched for one in the story of American liberalism. “I started with muckraking journalists and the progressives, but I moved on to the left-wing student activists of the 1930s,” he says. “Eventually I settled on the Americans for Democratic Action.”

The ADA was founded in 1947 by anti-communist liberals aligned with President

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This article appears as “‘A Sobering Moment’” in the December 17, 2020, print edition of National Review.

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John J. Miller, the national correspondent for National Review and host of its Great Books podcast, is the director of the Dow Journalism Program at Hillsdale College. He is the author of A Gift of Freedom: How the John M. Olin Foundation Changed America.

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