The Great Debate
Edmund Burke, Thomas Paine, and the Birth of Right and Left
For more than two centuries, our political life has beendivided between a party of progress and a party of conservation. In TheGreat Debate, Yuval Levin explores the origins of the Left-Right divide byexamining the views of the men who best represented each side of that debate atits outset: Edmund Burke and Thomas Paine. In a groundbreaking exploration ofthe roots of our political order, Levin shows that American partisanshiporiginated in the debates over the French Revolution, fueled by the fieryrhetoric of these ideological titans.
Levin masterfully shows how Burke’s and Paine’sdiffering views, a reforming conservatism and a restoring progressivism,continue to shape our current political discourse—on issues ranging fromabortion to welfare, education, economics, and beyond. Essential reading foranyone seeking to understand Washington’s often acrimonious rifts, The GreatDebate offers a profound examination of what conservatism, liberalism, andthe debate between them truly amount to.
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