Traditionalist Conservatism and the Administrative State
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How to Cite

Traditionalist Conservatism and the Administrative State: The Diagnosis of a New Social Form. (2019). The Political Science Reviewer, 42(2), 398-430.


This article examines “traditionalist” conservatism’s response to the administrative state in the post-New Deal era.  It argues that this kind of conservatism was more highly attuned to the basic challenges of the administrative state than heretofore has been appreciated. Traditionalists, who privileged the cultural, religious, and local realm of life above politics, saw twentieth-century mass society as a new elite-managed social form.  Its defining feature in government, they argued, was a centralized bureaucracy that crowded out or subsumed private order, civil society, and local self-government.  This article traces the evolution of this analysis over the decades, concluding with a more malign version of it that has been accorded significant attention in the effort to explain the rise of Donald Trump.

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