A Highly Acceptable Man

Conscience and its Enemies is a collection of Robert George’s recent writings for a general audience.  In addition to the title topic, it includes chapters on the defense of natural marriage, the protection of life from conception to natural death, the nature of moral reasoning, and the need for limited government.  Overall, the pieces in the book give what seems to be a comprehensive presentation of the author’s views and arguments relating to politics and public life.

George is generally a serious thinker, and his views can be considered in several aspects.  They have an overall outline that positions them in current public debates.  They rely on certain modes of argumentation.  And at the most specific level they present particular arguments that must be considered on their merits.

His overall views are the least substantial aspect of his thought.  They are very much like those that emerged in the wake of the 1960’s among the people who became the first generation of neoconservatives.  As such, they are generally sympathetic to the moderate reformist liberalism of pre-1965 America, but strongly opposed to the liberationist tendencies that became dominant shortly thereafter.

The transformation that befell liberalism in the 60’s led the liberals who became neoconservatives to rethink what was permanently valuable...

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