Harry Jaffa and Walter Berns were vital twentieth century figures in American political and constitutional thought. Berns’s writing–particularly in the earlier part of his academic life–has been influential on my own views about the First Amendment. It’s therefore a pleasure to post this notice about Steven Hayward’s new book on both theorists. The publisher is Encounter Books, and the description is below.
This book is a lively intellectual history of a small circle of thinkers, especially, but not solely, Harry Jaffa and Walter Berns, who challenged the “mainstream” liberal consensus of political science and history about how the American Founding should be understood. Along the way they changed the course of the conservative movement and had a significant impact on shaping contemporary political debates from constitutional interpretation, civil rights, to the corruption of government today. Most importantly, these thinkers explain the deep reasons for patriotism—why we should love America not just because it is our country, but because it is a free and just country.