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American conservatism is radically distinct from its British and European counterparts. Imbued with a religious and populist sensibility, its enemy is liberalism, not socialism. Irving Kristol, one of the founders of American neo-conservatism, explains how populist conservatism has flourished in America and how it is better equipped than traditional conservatisms to correct western democracies' misguided elites

By Irving Kristol   October 1996

I remember the day very well, back in 1956, when I arrived at my office at Encounter-of which I was then co-editor-and found on my desk an unsolicited manuscript by Michael Oakeshott. This, I thought, is the way every editor’s day should begin, with an over-the-transom arrival of an essay by one of the finest living political thinkers and certainly the finest stylist. The manuscript was called “On Being Conservative” and I read it with pleasure and appreciation. It was beautifully written, subtle in its argument, delicate in its perceptions, and full of sentences and paragraphs that merit the attention…

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