For more than two centuries, our political life has been
divided between a party of progress and a party of conservation. In The
Great Debate, Yuval Levin explores the origins of the Left-Right divide by
examining the views of the men who best represented each side of that debate at
its outset: Edmund Burke and Thomas Paine. In a groundbreaking exploration of
the roots of our political order, Levin shows that American partisanship
originated in the debates over the French Revolution, fueled by the fiery
rhetoric of these ideological titans.
Levin masterfully shows how Burke’s and Paine’s
differing views, a reforming conservatism and a restoring progressivism,
continue to shape our current political discourse—on issues ranging from
abortion to welfare, education, economics, and beyond. Essential reading for
anyone seeking to understand Washington’s often acrimonious rifts, The Great
Debate offers a profound examination of what conservatism, liberalism, and
the debate between them truly amount to.
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