Phi Beta Cons

Berkowitz and Conservatism

A nice op-ed in the Wall Street Journal today on conflicts in conservatism by Peter Berkowitz. Berkowitz touches upon Hayek, Kirk, and Strauss, noting differences of opinion among them, but remarks upon one reason those differences are obscure, indeed, why conservatism appears such a monolithic entity to liberals:

The varieties of conservatism are poorly understood today not only because of the bitterness of current political battles but also because the books that have played a key role in forming the several schools go largely untaught at our universities and largely unread by our professors.  Indeed, perhaps one cause of the polarization that afflicts our political and intellectual class is the failure of our universities to teach, and in many cases to note the existence of, the conservative dimensions in American political thought.
Rare is the political scientiest, to say nothing of other faculty, who can sketch the argument, or articulate the point of view, of such influential works as Russell Kirk’s “The Conservative Mind” (1953), F. A. Hayek’s “The Road to Serfdom” (1944), or Leo Strauss’s “Natural Right and History” (1953).