Neither Liberals Nor Conservatives Understand the Other’s History or Ideology

Historian Heather Cox Richardson’s history of the Republican Party came under considerable criticism from conservative reviewers, most notably Gerald Alexander in the Claremont Review, who wrote that she “gets the right all wrong.” Geoffrey Kabaservice in Politico observed that “liberals don’t know much about conservative history, and both sides suffer for it.” He specifically critiques Richardson’s history of the Republican Party. He concludes that “liberal historians should consider subscribing to the Claremont Review of Books or National Affairs, while conservatives should pick up some copies of the Nation or New Yorker. At least your anger will be better informed.”

At the same time, Kabaservice disdains “the sloppy right-wing canard that liberalism is no different from socialism, or even communism.” And he criticizes Fox News for its “extremism and charlatanry (that has become) more promising career paths for would-be conservative talking heads.”

Summing up, he observes that “liberalism and conservatism have conditioned each other throughout their collisions over the course of American history, the ever-evolving yin and yang of our collective political consciousness.”

The Heroic Origins of the Republican Party in the 1850s

‘How the South Won the Civil War: Oligarchy, Democracy, and the Continuing Fight for the Soul of America’

Meanwhile, well-known historian Eric Foner suggests the five best books that tell the history and evolution of liberalism. Both liberalism and conservatism are constantly evolving and changing, he observes. He declines to offer a dictionary definition of either ideology.

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