OPINIONSnPast and Present by Samuel T. Francisn”The handwriting on the wall may be a forgery. “n—Ralph HodgsonnConservatism: Dream and Reality bynRobert Nisbet, Minneapolis:nUniversity of Minnesota Press.nThe Search for Historical Meaning:nHegel and the Postwar AmericannRight by Paul E. Gottfried, DeKalb,nIllinois: Northern Illinois UniversitynPress.nAsteady flow of scholarly works onnthe intellectual roots of modernnconservatism has appeared since thenI950’s. Russell Kirk’s The QonservativenMind was and remains the best andnthe best-known of such books, butnsimilar studies by Peter Viereck, ClintonnRossiter, and others are also wellknownnand useful. Robert Nisbet’snConservatism: Dream and Reality andnPaul Gottfried’s The Search for HistoricalnMeaning will undoubtedly takentheir proper place as classics within thengenre.nThose who have read Nisbet’s earliernwork, especially his The Quest fornCommunity and The Sociological Tradition,nwill find familiar themes in hisnshort essay. It is Nisbet’s lifelong argumentnthat the principal concepts ofnsociology are also the main ideas ofnclassical conservatism and that bothnoriginated as reactions to the Industrialnand Democratic Revolutions. AlthoughnNisbet has frequently pointednto the parallels before, he has nownexplored its specifically conservativenSamuel T. Francis was a legislativenassistant to the late Senator John P.nEast of North Carolina and isncurrently an editorial writer for thenWashington Times and the author ofnPower and History: The PoliticalnThought of James Burnham.ndimensions for the first time.nRejecting the contractarian, naturalnrights, and individualistic doctrines ofnthe Enlightenment, conservativenprophets such as Burke, de Maistre,nBonald, and Hegel viewed man as annncreature of society and the traditions,nauthorities, and institutions that composenit. “Society,” in their view, writesnNisbet, “is not a mechanical thing,nnot a machine the parts of which arenboth interchangeable and individuallynseparable. It is organic in its articulationnof institutions and interrelationshipnof functions; also in its necessarily,nirreversibly cumulative developmentnover time.” Reform, innovation,nrevolution, liberation, progress.nJULY 1387/19n