The Great Debate: Edmund Burke, Thomas Paine, and the Birth of Right and Left

The Great Debate Edmund Burke Thomas Paine and the Birth of Right and Left For than two centuries our political life has been divided between a party of progress and a party of conservation In The Great Debate Yuval Levin explores the origins of the left right divide by ex
  • Title: The Great Debate: Edmund Burke, Thomas Paine, and the Birth of Right and Left
  • Author: Yuval Levin
  • ISBN: 9780465040940
  • Page: 452
  • Format: ebook
  • The Great Debate: Edmund Burke, Thomas Paine, and the Birth of Right and Left
    For than two centuries, our political life has been divided between a party of progress and a party of conservation In The Great Debate, Yuval Levin explores the origins of the left right divide by examining the views of the men who best represented each side of that debate at its outset Edmund Burke and Thomas Paine In a groundbreaking exploration of the roots ofFor than two centuries, our political life has been divided between a party of progress and a party of conservation In The Great Debate, Yuval Levin explores the origins of the left right divide by examining the views of the men who best represented each side of that debate at its outset Edmund Burke and Thomas Paine In a groundbreaking exploration of the roots of our political order, Levin shows that American partisanship originated in the debates over the French Revolution, fueled by the fiery rhetoric of these ideological titans Levin masterfully shows how Burke s and Paine s differing views, a reforming conservatism and a restoring progressivism, continue to shape our current political discourse on issues ranging from abortion to welfare, education, economics, and beyond Essential reading for anyone seeking to understand Washington s often acrimonious rifts, The Great Debate offers a profound examination of what conservatism, liberalism, and the debate between them truly amount to.
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    About " Yuval Levin "

  • Yuval Levin

    American political analyst, public intellectual, academic and journalist His areas of specialty include health care, entitlement reform, economic and domestic policy, science and technology policy, political philosophy, and bioethics He is the founding Editor of National Affairs Levin is also a fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, a conservative think tank in Washington, D.C contributing editor to National Review and the Weekly Standard, and one of the founders of The New Atlantis, where he still remains as a Senior Editor.Levin is the former chief of staff of the President s Council on Bioethics, a former Congressional staffer He holds a BA from American University and a PhD from the University of Chicago.

  • 515 Comments

  • The Perfect OmeletA good investigation of the origins of the great liberal political debate Levin takes us to the original arguments and shows us how at a distance the great but nebulous political divides of our day take a much concrete shape Of course the author is slightly right leaning and this bias shows through in his characterizations For instance even though the book claims to be about the Right The Left, in fact it is about the moderate Right the Radical Left Once that is how the lines [...]


  • I finished THE GREAT DEBATE a few months ago and have been pondering it since I enjoyed the read very much, but the that I have considered the content, the less I like Levin s book Levin compares and contrasts Edmund Burke with Thomas Paine in order to explore the notion that Burke is the father of modern conservatism and Paine a founder of modern liberalism Levin, who is a University of Chicago trained conservative, knows good scholarship and sets a high bar for himself in this work I respect [...]


  • The QuestionIn confronting the society around us, are we primarily grateful for what works well about it and moved to reinforce and build on that, or are we mainly outraged by what works poorly and moved to uproot and transform it This is one of the differences between the thinking Edmund Burke and Thomas Paine Yuval Levin s book explores these kinds of differences to help us understand the thinking of conservatives and liberals today Introducing The CastThomas Paine is the author of Common Sens [...]


  • I first read Thomas Paine and Edmund Burke almost 50 years ago I will confess that I am a Burkean than a Paineista Levin does a careful analysis of the work of these two 18th century writers in a compare and contrast mode that I found quite interesting.Burke grew up as an Irishman when we visited Dublin I was able to sit in his study carrell at TCD Paine grew up in humble circumstances but had the luck to have a couple of patrons much of what he wrote was self learned but in many of his writin [...]


  • This is a clarifying book In today s Kardashian Kulture, even the well informed, who know who Thomas Paine and Edmund Burke were, cannot generally give a cogent description of their thought, much less a point counterpoint description of their fundamental ideas and disagreements I know I certainly couldn t That is, until I read this book, which brilliantly does exactly that distils Paine and Burke to their essences, both in the abstract and in direct comparison to each other.Levin thereby perform [...]


  • Is politics simple or complicated Is history a burden or a boon Which carries greater weight choice or obligation These, and questions like these, are some of the disagreements that arose between Edmund Burke and Thomas Paine, who took dramatically different views of the French Revolution and this, Yuval Levin argues, is the origin, with modifications, of the Right Left division within modern politics So whereas Burke saw history as a boon, and fairness to the next generation required passing it [...]


  • This is a heavy book to tackle with the large quotes from language of centuries past with weighty concepts under discussion, yet surprisingly, is not overly long One downside is the frequent repetition of concepts found throughout the book The contrast and comparison between Burke and Paine is fascinating The practical implications for today are compelling.


  • The following chart is based on Yuval Levin s The Great Debate Edmund Burke, Thomas Paine, and the Birth of Right and Left I found Levin s analysis to be very helpful as a balanced critique of both modern progressivism and what is known as conservatism today.Burke Right Paine Left Emphasizes reform.Emphasizes revolution.Emphasizes tradition inherited culture as a guide.Emphasizes reason as a guide.Calls for retaining the best aspects of society and prudently reforming it as necessary.Says societ [...]


  • The Great Debate uses the war of letters between Edmund Burke and Thomas Paine to explain the philosophical differences between conservatism and progressivism Both men were political actors, albiet in different spheres, and both achieved renown during the period of the American and French revolutions While both the respectable MP Burke and the revolutionary Paine supported the American cause, they broke furiously over the French Drawing on each party s respective works, some written as direct re [...]


  • In our day to day political arguments we hear echoes of a deeper debate that we easily mistake for remnants of an argument between capitalism and socialism, or for faint precursors of a long predicted ultimate clash between religious traditionalism and secular cosmopolitanism But likely these echoes are in fact reminders of the defining disagreement of the political order of modern liberalism That disagreement was given early and unusually clear voice by Edmund Burke and Thomas Paine and become [...]


  • I cheated and Audible d this one for a book club Altogether a good read especially since its been a while since I looked at anything about Enlightenment Era Liberalism Yuval Levin has compiled a very compelling compare and contrast description of the philosophies of Edmund Burke and Thomas Paine who dueling intellectuals of the period encapsulating the American and French Revolutions Both Paine and Burke supported the American Revolution, but had diametrically oppose views on the French Paine th [...]


  • This was a great little book It explores the philosophical underpinnings of Edmund Burke s and Thomas Paine s political theories Whether or not it was the birth of left and right as the author says, the clarity and strength of the positions espoused by Burke and Paine and the contrast between them certainly illuminates the philosophical differences Levin himself is a political conservative, but I thought he presented both views in a fair and objective manner he mostly sticks to describing and el [...]


  • Good book overall I highly recommend, rather than using an Audible credit on it, purchasing the Kindle edition first, then the audible version at a discount because you ll want to go back and review certain sections, as well as use it for a reference, which the audible version isn t very useful for.I was really excited to read this book, but it didn t quite meet my high expectations It was certainly worth reading and I m glad I did In fact, I m sure I will re read many parts of it in the future. [...]


  • Great historical revelation and analysisI totally agree that our politicians should be familiar with the Burke and Paine political philosophies Mr Levin has opened my eyes to basic political thought that I had not known The voters should also be familiar with these principles of political thought.


  • It was serviceable and well researched, but grand sweeping divisions are the handmaiden of grand sweeping generalizations The quality of writing was not lacking, though, and Burke and Paine are definitely considered forefathers of the Right and Left, respectively But just remember that reality isn t quite that neat, and the book does recognize that point.


  • A really interesting overview of the splitting of Liberalism into Left and Right explored through the contrasting writings of Edmund Burke and Thomas Paine While it s mentioned at the outset of the book this book definitely comes from a right wing perspective, with Burke coming out much better.


  • Interesting topic, if a bit academically dry in presentation The old battle between scientific social policy and tradition We are all liberals, just different shades.


  • The book had some interesting moments, particularly in the first half The book really didn t deliver on its premise by tying modern Liberalism and Conservatism to Paine and Burke.


  • Very interesting comparison between the two philosophies advocated by Edmund Burke and Thomas Paine and how these philosophies correspond to the present day left right divide in US politics.


  • 1000 pages and seven chapters could have been done in 100 pages and one chapter Levin just kept rehashing the central theme over and over Very dissapointing.



  • I got through this whole book with a lot of skimming so I have to give it 2 stars, but it was not a fit for me The debate of the two political philosophers was over the merits of the French Revolution and in my opinion they were both wrong.Paine is famous in the U.S for Common Sense of which I had read the noted parts, but that was all of his writings I had read previously I had read nothing of Burke s, but knew he supported the American Revolution So I was interested to see why he opposed the [...]


  • This is a fine survey of the political thought of Edmund Burke and Thomas Paine, specifically looking at how their approaches to modern liberalism inform the approaches of Left and Right today In his treatment, Yuval Levin proves to be an astute student of political thought He provides a great synthesis which proves useful for comparing the two thinkers on a series of topics e.g revolution v reform , reason v prescription I confess that I am much familiar with Paine s thought than Burke s Paine [...]


  • A remarkable book that will shed light on your own approach to current politics It shows that current American progressivism and conservatism come from the ancient debates between Burke and Paine over the meaning of the American and French revolutions Our issues are different, but our essential reactions remain much the same, though neither progressives nor conservatives are wholly consistent in their reliance on the ideas of Paine and Burke.If there is criticism to be made of the book, it is th [...]


  • This is such a good book What it does is describe the roots and development of the left and right social conversation Burke was a Whig in politics through a comparison of the contemporaries Edmund Burke and Tom s pain in the 18th century.Levin provides an engaging comparative analysis of each ones views I cannot recommend it s too highly because you ll learn so much about the roots of true conservatism small C and modern socialism and its roots in the French Revolution, from this book Excellent. [...]


  • A clear account of the debate that formed the progressive and conservative strands of American political thought today between technocratic individualist progress Paine and organic communal preservation Burke Tours through the various corners of the debates Individual vs Community, Past vs Present, Revolution vs Reform Very readable, if a bit repetitive.


  • Author admits to his conservatism, so I started skeptically Remain skeptical not sure that Edmund Burke, who in my mind was really a pragmatist deserves to be called a founder of conservatism And then to credit Tom Paine, who I consider a real radical, as the father of liberalism But it s required for an OLLI seminar and I look forward to the discussions


  • Dense and enlightening Helped me develop a much better understanding of these characters Heavily weighted on Burke and redundant were my objections It will be great to discuss the contents.




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