How to Think about the Foundations of American Conservatism

Contemporary American conservatism, which is notorious for its internal factionalism, is held together by a self-evident truth: conservatives’ shared antipathy to modern liberalism. No shame attaches, or should, to relying in politics on the adhesive property that comes from the sentiment of common dislike. That sentiment is the heart that beats within the breast of the conservative movement, supplying much of its unity. This heart sustains four heads, known generally as religious conservatives, economic or libertarian-minded conservatives, natural-rights or neoconservatives, and traditionalists or paleoconservatives.

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