Scholar, historian talks about status of conservative movement in America

Natalie Pillsbury

A model for understanding the current conservative movement in America is that it has diverse tendencies and is not motivated by material interests, but by ideas.

George Nash spoke last night in the Student Center on the intricacies and history of the conservative intellectual movement in America.

Nash’s visit was sponsored by Libraries and Media Services and the College of Business Administration.

Mark Weber, dean of Libraries and Media Services, said he invited Nash to speak after hearing the scholar speak in Indianapolis.

“It is a topic that I’m not sure many students are familiar with,” Weber said.

An independent scholar and historian, Nash is author of The Conservative Intellectual Movement in America Since 1945.

While living in Iowa near the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library, Nash, an authority on the life of President Herbert Hoover, prepared three volumes of a definitive biography titled The Life of Herbert Hoover.

He is currently working on a book documenting the personal and political relationship between Herbert Hoover and Franklin Roosevelt. It chronicles the curdling of their friendship into a rivalry.

In his speech, Nash focused on the structure and influence of the conservative movement since 1945.

He defined conservatism before 1945 as “scattered voices of protest,” and described how these voices came together in three right-wing renaissances.

These renaissances included the formation of libertarianism, new conservatism or traditionalism and anti-communism.

The three sects fused on the basis that they all “shared a deep antipathy to liberalism,” Nash said.

Nash concluded by asserting that although the conservative movement may appear unstable, it will remain resilient through its moral challenges because it is focused on issues that animate life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Contact Libraries and Information reporter Natalie Pillsbury at [email protected].