Christopher Favrot Arndt: The Right’s Road to Serfdom: The Danger of Conservatism Unbound: From Hayek to Trump

Some political commentators have started to say that the American Right acts on its id, not on its ego of “principled” conservatism. But what does this mean? In The Right’s Road to Serfdom, first-time author Christopher F. Arndt unpacks the riddle. The conservatism that drives the American Right today prizes strong, authoritarian leaders who promise get-tough plans to vanquish problems such as immigration, terrorism, and middle-class stagnation. This focus on temperament rather than on individual liberty, pluralism, and free expression runs counter to the political philosophy of freedom that many conservatives believe they espouse. With the aid of F. A. Hayek, a surprising conservative critic, Arndt reveals four qualities that animate the American Right. These characteristics, which tend against political freedom, are often misunderstood and promoted as political freedom. Arndt calls the promotion of this misconception the “freedom fraud.” He offers a Rosetta Stone for the American Right, a valuable guide to contemporary conservative actions and a clear explanation of how the “Party of Liberty” ended up with Donald Trump as its standard-bearer in 2016.

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