May 18 • 55M

The History and Evolution of the American Right (w/ Paul Matzko)

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A bi-weekly podcast exploring the cosmopolitan, emancipatory, and forward-looking case for radical liberty. Hosted by Aaron Ross Powell. Produced by Landry Ayres.
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Does American conservatism still provide a home for liberty-minded ideas?

Looking at the state of the modern, post-Trump Republican Party, as well as the intellectual centers of gravity among the American right, the picture's rather discouraging.

To get a better sense of where the right is now, and how liberalism fits (or doesn't) within it, it's important to look backwards. What has the American right traditionally looked like? How has that changed? What lesson can we learn as we worry about where the right has ended up today?

To discuss all that, I'm joined by my friend Paul Matzko (@PMatzko). He an historian of American politics and author of The Radio Right: How a Band of Broadcasters Took on the Federal Government and Built the Modern Conservative Movement, from Oxford University Press.

We explore the nature of the right, and whether it even makes sense to think of it as a unified ideological perspective.

We talk about the origins of the Goldwater/Buckley/Reagan new right, and about whether it was ever as committed to individual and economic freedom as many today imagine it was.

We dig into the question of libertarianism or classical liberalism's place in the conservative right coalition, and ask if any place remains and whether it's possible to regain one.

History often complicates convenient narratives. This couldn't be more true of the stories we in the liberty movement like to tell ourselves about American conservatism.

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Produced by Landry Ayres. Podcast art by Sergio R. M. Duarte.

Music: Finding the Balance by Kevin MacLeod | Link | License