This strongly and lucidly argued book gave early warning of a political-intellectual movement that was spreading in the universities, media, think-tanks, and foreign-policy and national security establishment of the United States. That movement claims that America represents universal principles and should establish armed global hegemony. Claes G. Ryn demonstrates that, although this ideology is often called “conservative” or “neoconservative,” it has more in common with the radical Jacobin ideology of the French Revolution of 1789. The French Jacobins selected France as savior of the world. The new Jacobins have anointed the United States. The author explains that the new Jacobinism manifests a precipitous decline of American civilization and that it poses a serious threat to traditional American constitutionalism and liberty. The book’s analyses and predictions have proved almost eerily prophetic. President George W. Bush made neo-Jacobin ideology the basis of U.S. foreign policy, and it continues to exercise great influence in both parties. This new edition of a modern classic contains a thought-provoking afterword by the author that brings the book up to date.
Claes G. Ryn is professor of politics and former chairman of his department at the Catholic University of America. He has taught also at the University of Virginia and Georgetown University. He is chairman of the National Humanities Institute, editor of Humanitas, and president of the Academy of Philosophy and Letters. He is widely published on both sides of the Atlantic and in China. In 2000 he gave the Distinguished Foreign Scholar Lectures at Beijing University. His many books include America the Virtuous, A Common Human Ground, Will, Imagination and Reason, and Democracy and the Ethical Life.
What They Are Saying (comments on the first edition of The New Jacobinism):
“Well done, The New Jacobinism! . . . . Lucid and succinct and right.”—Russell Kirk
“A much-needed antidote to some of the fatuous assessments of The New World Order emanating from many of the foreign policy experts who live in the Washington Beltway—the modern version of Plato’s Cave.”—President Richard M. Nixon
“A splendid, eloquent, hard-hitting effort . . . . [Ryn] has identified for us, as well as it can possibly be done, our
malady and the course of treatment we must follow to survive.”—Clyde Wilson
“The New Jacobinism . . . is splendid. [It fills] an important need with eloquence and convincing argument.”—Herbert London
“Right on target on an important subject that has long needed to be addressed.”—Peter J. Stanlis
“[This] book is truly excellent.”—Patrick J. Buchanan
From the book:
“Contrary to widespread belief, evidence is accumulating that Western democracy is in continuous and serious decline.”
“Investing today’s democracy with a world-wide moral mission signifies either a slipping hold on reality or a cynical exploitation of Western moods of escapism.”
“At a time of socio-political disintegration the new Jacobinism … plants the idea that a reign of virtue could be imposed from above by the insightful.”