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Fugitive DemocracyAnd Other Essays$
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Sheldon S. Wolin and Nicholas Xenos

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780691133645

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691133645.001.0001

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The Destructive Sixties and Postmodern Conservatism

The Destructive Sixties and Postmodern Conservatism

(p.330) Chapter 17 The Destructive Sixties and Postmodern Conservatism
Fugitive Democracy

Sheldon S. Wolin

, Nicholas Xenos
Princeton University Press

This chapter analyzes the politics behind conservative attacks upon the Sixties and their simultaneous claim that it is contemporary conservatives who are the real radicals with truly revolutionary ideas. It suggests that the rhetorical formulations of both the defenders and critics of the Sixties may be indicative of a historical transformation occurring in both conservatism and radicalism. At its center is a reversal of historical roles and historical consciousness and, along with it, of the political identities formed around conceptions of past and future that once distinguished radicalism from conservatism. The complexity of a reversal that finds conservatives professing to be revolutionaries, while in actuality they are more accurately described as counterrevolutionary, may be a product of the strict taboos imposed by the American political tradition on discussion of the idea of counterrevolution.

Keywords:   political theory, conservatism, political myths, 1960s, conservatives, counterrevolution

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