Samuel Goldman

Samuel Goldman is an assistant professor of political science and director of the Loeb Institute for Religious Freedom at George Washington University. He also serves as the literary editor of Modern Age. The opinions in this essay are his own and do not represent George Washington University or the Loeb Institute.

What Is the Future of Conservatism?

Businessman in elegant suit with his jacket hanging over his sho

In his 1936 essay “The Crack-Up,” F. Scott Fitzgerald proposed that “the test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function. One should, for example, be able to see that things are hopeless and yet be determined to make them otherwise.” This strikes me as an illuminating description of the conservative mind, least in its American incarnation. Since its emergence in the decade following the Second World War, the American conservative movement has been characterized by a dramatic combination of pessimism and optimism.…

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Responses

Don’t Take the Benedict Option

Professor Goldman begins his Liberty Forum essay by urging a striking, but probably unworkable, reconception of the fundamental divide in conservative ranks. Rather than “the familiar distinctions between libertarianism and traditionalism, neoconservatism and paleoconservatism,” he proposes, it’s a conflict between “liberalism and reaction.” Reaction—meaning reactionary politics such as Trumpism—is, according to Goldman, not easily compatible with…

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Creative Tension, Not Crack-Up

Samuel Goldman has written a bracing Liberty Forum essay suggesting that the Right side of the political spectrum is split, perhaps hopelessly and irrevocably, between classical liberalism and reaction. The roots of the divide are deep and enduring but what brings the problem into bold relief is our political moment and, above all, the rise…

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Freedom Might Well Flourish Even If Conservatives Don’t

Samuel Goldman has written a wide-ranging and thought-provoking Liberty Forum essay on the current sorry state of American conservatism. This sorry state is especially sorry for those of us who, like Dr. Goldman, believe that classical liberalism is the best part of American conservatism. It is an assessment, he says in conclusion, which he hopes…

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Critiquing the Administrative State Is Natural

Samuel Goldman has made a stimulating contribution to our political discussions. “What is the Future of Conservatism?” is thoughtful and thought-provoking. In light of the feud between Never Trump conservatives and Trump-supporting conservatives, it is well worth pondering if Goldman is right that we are witnessing a conservative “crack up.” This concern is not new. He…

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