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America's Right: Anti-Establishment Conservatism from Goldwater to the Tea Party

America's Right: Anti-Establishment Conservatism from Goldwater to the Tea Party

Robert B. Horwitz

ISBN: 978-0-745-67049-2

Jul 2013

280 pages



Conservatism has been the most important political doctrine in the United States for nearly four decades. It has dominated the intellectual debate and largely set the policy agenda, even during years of Democratic electoral control.

But 21st century conservatism has moved far beyond even the Reagan Revolution of small government, lower taxes and a respect for tradition. The alliance of libertarians, neoconservatives, and the Christian right has launched anxious and angry attacks on the purported homosexual agenda, the “hoax” of climate change, the rule by experts and elites, and the banishment of religion from the public realm. In the foreign policy arena it has tried to remake the world through the cleansing fire of violence. Contemporary American conservatism practices a politics that is disciplined, uncompromising, utopian, and enraged, seeking to “take back our country.”

This is “anti-establishment conservatism,” whose origin can be traced back to the right wing that battled both the reigning post-World War II liberal consensus and the moderate, establishment Republican Party. This book examines the nature of anti-establishment conservatism, traces its development from the 1950s to the Tea Party, and explains its political ascendance.



Chapter 1 Introduction

Chapter 2 Anti-statist Statism: A Brief History of a Peculiarly American Conservatism

Chapter 3 Religion and Politics: The Rise of the New Christian Right

Chapter 4 Two Generations of Neoconservatism: From the Law of Unintended Consequences to the Cleansing Fire of Violence

Chapter 5 Richard Hofstadter's ""Paranoid Style"" Revisited: The Tea Party, Past as Prologue

Chapter 6 Dogmatism, Utopianism, and Politics

""An excellent read, essential for understanding what is happening in US politics today.""
Morning Star

""Tea Partiers' contemptible views have little place in mainstream civil society, and Horowitz’s does a good job of laying bare their intellectual bankruptcy.""
LSE Review of Books

Horwitz opportunely introduces the expression 'Anti-Establishment Conservatism' to distinguish the Old American Right of the 30s and 40s ... with the anti-establishment American Right born in the 60s ... . Horwitz concisely examines the two movements' characteristics with great precision.
Antonio Donno, University of Salento

In this richly researched, compellingly argued and lucidly written work, Horwitz offers a historical and theoretical account of the American right that traces its arc and innovations from 1950s anti-establishment conservatism to the Tea Party. He catalogs and probes the political, economic and moral formulations of the right which, he argues, have set the coordinates of American domestic and foreign policy for half a century. America's Right is vital for understanding American politics, past and present. It is also a gripping read.""
Wendy Brown, University of California, Berkeley

""America's Right
sheds light on a paradox: thirty years after the Reagan Revolution, many American conservatives, especially religious conservatives, still seek not to conserve but to transform modern America's established institutions, policies, and leadership. Many will do so all the more passionately after the election of 2012, so Robert Horwitz's insights will illuminate key issues in American politics.""
Rogers M. Smith, University of Pennsylvania
  • A major new book examining the politics of American conservatism from the 1950s to the present
  • Focuses on the rise of ‘anti-establishment conservatism’ - that is, the form of conservatism, associated today with the Tea Party, which opposes both liberalism and the more moderate forms of conservatism embraced by many in the Republican Party
  • Horwitz shows that the Tea Party belongs to a long tradition of anti-establishment conservatism that can be traced back to the 1940s and the reaction to the New Deal
  • This highly accessible book will be of great interest general readers interested in American politics, as well as to students and academics in political science, American politics and American political history