“Socialism will bring in an efflorescence of morality, civilization,
and science such as has never been seen in the history of the world.”
Modern American conservatism has been marked by a fascination with ideology. Despite arguments that conservatism is not an ideology or is opposed to all ideology, American conservatives have regularly attempted to systematize their own beliefs. Moreover, they have often attempted to define themselves by reference to ideologies they oppose. Opposition to Soviet communism played a major role in uniting conservatives of many different varieties throughout the Cold War. More recently, neoconservative apparatchiks such as Norman Podhoretz, Victor Davis Hanson, and Christopher Hitchens have sought to portray President George W. Bush’s “War on Terror” as part of a protracted global struggle against “Islamofascism,” and Jonah Goldberg has made a bid to become the conservative movement’s Mikhail Suslov by spending four years writing a book arguing that “fascism” is the intellectual taproot of American liberalism.
Somewhat overlooked in all of this has been the ideology that has enjoyed the most political success in the modern era: socialism, the object of this enjoyable study by Thomas Fleming.