Eisenhower and the Conservative Revolution:
The Dream That Is Not to Be
Our folklore has long held that the difference between the political left and right in the United States—I am not here concerned with the pathological extremes—lies at least partly in the approach to reality. The left is romantic; the right is realistic. On the left one finds idealists who dream of a better world; the right is hard-headed, pragmatic, and wholly aware of the confining qualities of facts and human nature. It is my impression that a good many liberals are inclined to acquiesce in their reputation for visionary idealism. They agree that the hard-headed men are in the opposition. As for themselves, they may be impractical but at least they have ideas.
Such is the myth, and it is not easily squared with the facts of our time. In the election last autumn not many of the liberals who worked so ardently for Stevenson could have supposed that the government of the United States would be radically changed were their man elected. It would be the Fair Deal less the 5 per cent, with friends instead of cronies, and with national policies articulated for adults. Their candidate promised no more.
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