A thorough understanding of Conservatism's lineage, principles, and impact on history is essential to making sense of the 21st-century political dialogue-a dialogue that consumes the television you watch, the newspapers you read, and the radio you listen to.
No matter where you place yourself on the ideological spectrum, these 36 lectures will intrigue you, engage you, and maybe even provoke you to think about this political philosophy in an entirely new way.
In crafting his exploration of just why this has happened, Professor Allitt has specifically designed his lectures to be objective, neutral, and intellectually satisfying for every viewer and listener - whatever their ideological outlook. Using an easygoing and engaging style, these lectures show you how Anglo-American Conservatism developed and evolved in both Great Britain and the United States; how traditional Conservatism produced evolutionary variants like Neoconservatism and Libertarianism; and the provocative ways in which Conservatism has interacted with differing political philosophies. Following the fascinating history of Conservatism, you'll also meet the widest possible range of thinkers and practitioners behind the Conservative tradition, including John Stuart Mill, Ayn Rand, Francis Schaeffer, Adam Smith, Henry Adams, Alexander Hamilton, William Pitt the Younger, Winston Churchill, Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan, H.L. Mencken, William F. Buckley Jr., Ludwig von Mises, and Friedrich von Hayek.Whether you consider yourself a Liberal or a Conservative-or something in between-these lectures can make you a more effective and informed citizen, armed with a sharpened understanding of the ways in which this philosophy has influenced events around the world.
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Another gem by Prof. Allitt & The Great Courses
The course attempts to define conservatism and then track its evolution through the ages in both the U.K. and the U.S.. One learns how the philosophies have evolved and in some cases taken divergent paths based on the impact of the U.S. civil war, the world wars, industrialization, the rise and fall of communism, etc. It's a fascinating journey that attempts to explain why, for example, "conservatives" in the U.S. would be anti-gun control and anti-socialized medicine, while "conservatives" in the U.K. would be supportive of such measures.
Many lessons stick with me, but I was particularly struck by the discussions of U.S. revolutionary era and civil war-era politics, where in each case, we had two sides that each considered themselves perservers of conservative tradition. In the case of the U.S. revolution, the Tories wanted to remain loyal to the King, yet the separatists felt they were fighting to preserve English republican traditions that the King had abandoned. In the civil war, both the North and the South were fighting to preserve their own definitions of a traditional way of life and governance. If you are somebody who puzzles over whether the founders of our country would consider themselves conservative today, you'll love this course, and perhaps be frustrated by the ambiguities!
This was my 3rd course from Professor Allitt, so obviously I'm a fan. It's a given that the topic is, shall we say, politically loaded, but I trusted that Professor Allitt would do his best to approach the topic as a historian, and not with any idiological point of view. I dare say after listening to it that the course is likely to frustrate anybody with a strong-leaning political agenda (in either direction), which is to say that Professor Allitt succeeds!
I may be just biased myself, but as the course approached the modern era, it appeared to me that Professor Allitt couldn't help but reveal his biases, as his descriptions of the collapse of the Soviet Union, the "Reagan Revolution," Margaret Thatcher, and particularly the abortion issue felt somewhat one-sided and yes, conservative. It follows that anybody who would teach a course called "Conservative Tradition" is likely to be an admirer of the that tradition, so consider yourself warned as the final lectures approach, but don't shy away because of it. The course succeeds as both an entertaining listen and a historical study filled with examples of the conflicts, struggles, complexities, and changing definitions of conservatism.
For Every Voter; Right, Left or Center!
- C. Telfair