Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Andrew Sullivan's Book on Conservatism Gets Panned

Andrew doesn't understand the U.S. Read the review here (free but you have to register).

This is all very British--not surprising, given that Sullivan was born and raised in England. The question is whether it can work in America, or anywhere else, for that matter. . . . Because the idea of "inalienable rights," which Sullivan spurns as pertaining to liberalism rather than conservatism, is woven into American tradition but not the British, it would be surprising if American conservatives did not rise to its defense, as many do.

This failure to understand the way creed and tradition interpenetrate American politics generates all manner of difficulties. . . . [I]t leads Sullivan to mischaracterize the U.S. Constitution as being about only means and procedures, overlooking the Preamble, which declares in no uncertain terms what the Constitution’s purposes are and what they are not (the blessings of liberty but not the promotion of virtue; the common defense and general welfare but not the inculcation of the One True Faith, and so forth). . . .

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