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Robert Lacey

Dec 12, 2016

Pragmatic Conservatism

Edmund Burke and His American Heirs

Palgrave Macmillan 2016

purchase at bookshop.org With Republicans in control of Washington, many suspect that conservatism is on the ascent. Others are wondering what conservatism even means in 2016. In which version of conservatism does President-Elect Donald J. Trump believe? How would Trump answer the question that David Brooks posed to Barack Obama about Edmund Burke before he became president? Robert Lacey's new book, Pragmatic Conservatism: Edmund Burke and His American Heirs (Palgrave MacMillan, 2016), offers the start of an answer. Lacey is associate professor of political science at Iona College. He has previous written American Pragmatism and Democratic Faith. His new book argues for Burke as a pragmatist and more closely aligned with the current philosophy of many liberals than movement conservatives. In order to make this case, Lacey compares Burke to Walter Lippmann, Reinhold Niebuhr, and Peter Viereck, the American heirs. As Donald Trump ascends to the presidency, Lacey's book should be read to understand whether business pragmatism of the new president resembles the conservative pragmatism of Burke or something altogether different.

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