It operates as a refuge for a civilizing element in short supply in contemporary America: honest criticism
James Q. Wilson, 1931-2012
A look at the life of the conservative scholar.
was right!Support The
Among American conservatives, there has long been a division between those who take their bearings from Edmund Burke and those who take them from Alexis de Tocqueville. Burkeans are concerned with the preservation of ranks and establishments against the modern tides of democracy and revolution, Tocquevillians with the means by which democracies can preserve themselves against inbred tendencies to self-destruction. For Burke, the great question was how to resist the tide of democratic revolution in order to maintain what is valuable in civilization; for Tocqueville, it was how to render democracy compatible with civilization as a means of saving them both.
James Q. Wilson, who died on March 2 at the age of 80, was a Tocquevillian through and through. The great questions he addressed during his distinguished career in academe were related in one way or another to the preservation of the institutions of religion, family, and commu ...
This article is available to subscribers and for individual purchase
This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 30 April 2012, on page 37
Copyright © 2016 The New Criterion | www.newcriterion.comhttp://www.newcriterion.com/articles.cfm/James-Q--Wilson--1931-2012-7326
E-mail to friend
A review of The American Revolution: Writings from the Pamphlet Debate, edited by Gordon Wood.
How Lincoln dealt with the press and the founders' legacy.
A new biography of James Madison hopes to change the way we remember America's fourth President.
Revisiting Conversations with the Dead, by Danny Lyon, almost half a century after its original publication.
Why do the humanities continue to lose students to STEM fields?
A look back at some of Baroness Orczy's mystery novels and the vibrant characters within.
March 29 2016
Friends and Young Friends Event: The Climate Surprise
The Walter Duranty Prize for Journalistic Mendacity
Introduction to The Kennedy Phenomenon
The Kennedy Phenomenon: "Watching the Kennedy Train-Wreck"