One of COMMENTARY’s signature forms is the written symposium: a convocation of intellectuals drawn from all realms of human knowledge—critics, scholars, artists, philosophers, political scientists—and asked to comment on questions of great public import. The magazine has played host to a number of these throughout its history; today we want to offer you one of the most valuable—and one of those lying closest to COMMENTARY’s philosophical purpose. What Is a Liberal, Who Is a Conservative? was published in September 1976. Today, it remains one of the most intensive and illuminating examinations of a question that has beset American politics for the better part of a century—a question that has only regained significance in recent months. The list of participants includes Robert L. Bartley, Midge Decter, Eugene Genovese, Sidney Hook, Alfred Kazin, Jeane J. Kirkpatrick, Irving Kristol, Richard John Neuhaus, Edward Shils, Thomas Sowell, James Q. Wilson, Tom Wolfe, and many, many more. Enjoy.
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