The Great Debate (Paperback)

Edmund Burke, Thomas Paine, and the Birth of Right and Left

By Yuval Levin

Basic Books, 9780465062980, 304pp.

Publication Date: December 1, 2014

List Price: 18.99*
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For more than two centuries, our political life has been divided between a party of progress and a party of conservation. In The Great Debate, Yuval Levin explores the origins of the left/right divide by examining the views of the men who best represented each side of that debate at its outset: Edmund Burke and Thomas Paine. In a groundbreaking exploration of the roots of our political order, Levin shows that American partisanship originated in the debates over the French Revolution, fueled by the fiery rhetoric of these ideological titans.
Levin masterfully shows how Burke's and Paine's differing views, a reforming conservatism and a restoring progressivism, continue to shape our current political discourseon issues ranging from abortion to welfare, education, economics, and beyond. Essential reading for anyone seeking to understand Washington's often acrimonious rifts, The Great Debate offers a profound examination of what conservatism, liberalism, and the debate between them truly amount to.

About the Author

Yuval Levin is a Hertog Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center and the founder and editor of National Affairs. He has written op-eds and brief pieces for the New York Times, Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal; longer pieces for Commentary, First Things, and the New Republic; and he is a contributing editor of both the Weekly Standard and National Review. He has extensive government experience from his time as a policy aide to several members of Congress and as Executive Director of President Bush s Council on Bioethics. Levin holds a Ph.D. from the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago."