America’s Right – Robert B. Horowitz
Where do begin for a really super read like this one? For die hard fans of political commentary and diagnosis to those who just want to know what is behind the bizarre headlines that come out of America on a daily basis, this book will open your eyes.
In this slim but informative book, Horwitz seeks to explain the emergence of American Conservatism in recent years.
He demonstrates how American Conservatism has its roots in the political culture that developed before, and contributed to, Independence, and draws a distinction between the intellectual basis of European politics in which social democracy is embedded and in America where Libertarianism is viewed as a guiding principle for many people. This illustrates why it is not always easy to understand American politics from a European standpoint.
A principal strand of Libertarian thinking is that property is the foundation of freedom, and so that when the State intervenes in property rights it is reducing freedom, and so it is acting illegitimately. Therefore economic issues, especially taxation, assume moral dimensions: taxation is a challenge to property ownership and so an assault on liberty.
Horwitz argues the 1960s were a political watershed. Before then, there was no explicit Christian involvement in politics as the political consensus reflected fundamentalist Christian views. But as disquiet rose over a social welfare agenda perceived as economically non-productive, increased business regulation and the legal endorsement of alternate lifestyles so religious fundamentalists felt compelled to enter the political forum (and the search for Utopia moved from the Left to the Right). This was inevitable response from a fundamentalist tradition born of a different relationship between religion and science, and Horwitz admirably narrates how and why that relationship developed as it did. He stresses the continuing doctrinal differences between America’s churches existing within the political unity of Conservative Evangelism.
The anoraks of American politics will be delighted with the footnotes, the novices by the skill of Horwitz to so lucidly explain a complex history within 210 pages.
Buy it and read it.
Published by Polity Press. Available in hardback and Kindle from Amazon.