I just finished this up last night, and frankly, I’m not going to write up a lengthy review here. My boss will probably end up interviewing Robin for his podcast, so if and when that goes live I’ll be sure to let all of you know.
As someone with conservative sensibilities — and, mind you, I’m also deeply influenced by two books of a similar title; one that established the first link for modern conservatism to the sentimentality of Edmund Burke; the other drawing on Anglo and Continental thinkers to argue for a conservatism of doubt, skepticism and limits — it was refreshing to read something critical of my political leanings.
Robin’s work is grounded by descriptions of power relationships and is characterized by the suspicion that most conservatives harbor a romantic revolutionary zeal — however well hidden (or not).
The last few months have been insular ones for me, at least inasmuch as I’ve been reading books from the conservative canon and ignoring pretty much everything else. Having my basic sentiments challenged actually feels pretty good. To badly paraphrase a line Robin quotes from William F. Buckley, reading the same thing over and over is really boring.
It’s not until you face thoughtful challenges that this game (if we can call it that) reaches the point of potential sublimation. But, as Robin reminds us in the book, conservatives can’t let that point get too close. That spoils the fun.