Know Your Enemy

The Long Farewell to Majority Rule? (w/ Joshua Tait)

Episode Summary

Matt and Sam talk to historian Joshua Tait about the intellectual origins of conservatives'—and the modern GOP's—hostility to majoritarian democracy.

Episode Notes

In this follow-up episode to "Democracy and Its Discontents" (listen here), historian Joshua Tait joins Matt and Sam for a conversation about the intellectual origins of the American Right's hostility to democracy—from John C. Calhoun's invention of the filibuster in the nineteenth century to the writings of conservatives like Russell Kirk, James Burnham, Willmoore Kendall, and others, in the 1950s and '60s. 

Sources and Further Reading:

Adam Jentleson, Kill Switch: The Rise of the Modern Senate and the Crippling of American Democracy (Liveright Books, January 2021)

James Burnham, Congress and the American Tradition (Regnery, 1959)

Willmoore Kendall, The Conservative Affirmation (Regnery Publishing, 1963)

Willmoore Kendall & George W. Carey, Basic Symbols of the American Political Tradition (Louisiana State University Press, 1970; reprint, The Catholic University of American Press, 1995)

Saul Bellow, "Mosby's Memoirs," The New Yorker, Jul 12, 1968

John A. Murley & John E. Alvis, eds., Willmoore Kendall: Maverick of American Conservatives (Rowman & Littlefield, 2002)

Harry V. Jaffa, "Equality as a Conservative Principle," Loyola of Los Angeles Law Review, June 1, 1975

Joshua Tait, "Why Willmoore Kendall and James Burnham are the Prophets of Modern Conservatism," National Interest, April 30, 2021

Joshua Tait, "The Long History of Fighting Over the Term 'Conservative,'" The Bulwark, April 2, 2021

Matthew Sitman, "Farewell to a Constitutional Conservative," The American Conservative, June 27, 2013

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