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