Hazony and Haivry trace the roots of English conservatism before Burke. They highlight forgotten thinkers such as Selden and Fortescue and show their impact on Anglo-American conservatism.
The year 2016 marked a dramatic change of political course for the English-speaking world, with Britain voting for independence from Europe and the United States electing a president promising a revived American nationalism. Critics see both events as representing a dangerous turn toward “illiberalism” and deplore the apparent departure from “liberal principles” or “liberal democracy,” themes that surfaced repeatedly in conservative publications over the past year. Perhaps the most eloquent among the many spokesmen for this view has been William Kristol, who, in a series of essays in the Weekly Standard, has called for a new movement to arise “in defense of liberal democracy.” In his eyes, the historic task of American conservatism is “to preserve and strengthen American liberal democracy,” and what is needed now is “a new conservatism based on old conservative—and liberal—principles.” Meanwhile, the conservative flagship Commentary published a cover story by the Wall Street Journal’s Sohrab Ahmari entitled “Illiberalism: The Worldwide Crisis,” seeking to raise the alarm about the dangers to liberalism posed by Brexit, Trump, and other phenomena.