Friday, May 29, 2015

Irving Kristol on the value of conservative intellectuals

"The risk of being progressive is that there is always some new version of "progress" which seeks to outgrow whatever was thought to be important by progressives a few years earlier.  Who, for example, reads Harold Laski today?...Yet his successor at the London School of Economics, Michael Oakeshott, who was a conservative, was able to produce essays that are still being reprinted, still being quoted and still very readable, not only because his writing was so elegant, but because the ideas contained in them were of enduring value.  This is the advantage the conservative has over thinkers on the Left writing on contemporary affairs.  The conservative tends to think in permanent terms, so his ideas remain relevant" -- Irving Kristol, 1999.

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