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The Other American Exceptionalism

Gerard Alexander

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Not so long ago, American conservatives seemed to be converting the world to their ideas. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, country after country abandoned socialism for free markets, embracing such Reaganite themes as incentives, individualism, and responsibility. It looked as though the sun would never set on the friends of American conservatism. Yet today, American conservatives have never felt so alone.

This is not a matter of how many people around the world like American conservatives, but of how many are like them. To be sure, many political movements don't have counterparts in other countries. But Europe and America are politically kin, and when in the 1980s Ronald Reagan took his stands for markets and against the Soviets he found ready and stalwart allies in Margaret Thatcher, Helmut Kohl, and other indigenous conservatives. Yet all we hear of these days is the "exceptionalism of modern American conservatism." What happened to Europe?

Finding an answer begins with a comparison of contemporary American and European conservatives, especially concerning their basic assumptions--or operating principles--about economics, foreign policy, crime, and morality.

Read the entire article on the Claremont Institute website (new window will open).

Posted: 16-Nov-05



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