Harvey Kaye, UW-Green Bay professor of Democracy and Justice Studies, is the author of a lengthy and detailed essay – a book review – at the national news and commentary site The Daily Beast. He critiques the book The Great Debate by rising conservative author Yuval Levin. The book attempts to trace the origins of “Right” and “Left” in America to differences articulated in colonial times by Thomas Paine and Edmund Burke. Levin himself champions the philosophy of the Irish-born British MP Burke over those of Paine, the English-born American Revolutionary. Kaye, a Paine biographer, disagrees, favoring Paine’s progressive populism to Burke’s tradition-bound “reformist conservatism,” and makes the case that Americans then and now are radicals at heart. It makes for informative and enlightening reading.
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