Constitutional Conservatism

Constitutional Conservatism

Liberty, Self-Government, and Political Moderation

Author: Peter Berkowitz
ISBN: 978-0-8179-1604-6
Publication Date: 2/4/2013

Can social conservatives and libertarians ever move beyond “agreeing to disagree”? Can those who emphasize safeguarding traditional morality and religion and those who stress the need to keep government firmly within fixed bounds form a principled alliance? In Constitutional Conservatism, Peter Berkowitz identifies the political principles social conservatives and libertarians share, or should share, and sketches the common ground on which they can and should join forces.

Drawing on the writings of Edmund Burke, The Federalist, and the high points of post–World War II American conservatism, Berkowitz argues that the top political priority for social conservatives and libertarians should be to rally around the principles of liberty crystallized in the US Constitution and pursue reform in light of them. He shows that this task depends on the cultivation of the virtue of political moderation, which at its peak consists of balancing rival but worthy principles. He concludes that constitutional conservatism, well understood, provides a sturdy framework for developing a distinctive political agenda to which both social conservatives and libertarian conservatives can in good conscience subscribe.

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Peter Berkowitz

Peter Berkowitz is a research fellow at the Hoover Institution and an associate professor of law at George Mason University Law School. He taught government at Harvard University for nine years before his tenure at George Mason.

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