The Power Line Show, Ep. 137: Burke, Lincoln, and the Politics of Prudence with Greg Weiner

“Prudence” is not just something Dana Carvey liked to lampoon back when President George H.W. Bush was in office. Rather, it is the highest and most essential quality of those superb human beings we used to call “statesmen” before political science and history banished both terms in a fit of egalitarian madness that has yet to abate in our leading intellectual circles.

One antidote to this narrowing of our horizons is Greg Weiner’s fabulous new book, Old Whigs: Burke, Lincoln and the Politics of Prudence, just out from our friends at Encounter Books. Weiner, a professor and currently provost at Assumption College in Massachusetts, sat down with me a few days ago to talk about how to think seriously about prudence and statesmanship, which begins with a consideration of how to reconcile an apparently glaring contradiction between the political thought and disposition of Burke and Lincoln. Though they were both Whigs and reformers, there are some significant differences. We also veer off into consideration of a related book of Greg’s: American Burke: The Uncommon Liberalism of Daniel Patrick Moynihan.

Finally, my wrap-up at the end includes a pitch for the 40th anniversary Mediterranean cruise of the Claremont Institute and Pacific Research Institute, departing from Barcelona in early October. I’ll be along on the trip, joined by such luminaries as Charles Kesler, Michael Anton. Andrew Roberts, and John O’Sullivan, and several others. Click on the link above for details. I’m going to tape a bunch of podcasts on the trip, and it would be great to have a lot of Power Line readers along.

Exit music this week is an instrumental cover of an obscure Genesis tune, “Mad Man Moon,” by Yngve Guddal & Roger T. Matte, whoever they are. Plus a short ghost track at the end!

As always, listen below or download the episode from our hosts at Ricochet. Subscribe to Power Line in iTunes (and leave a 5-star review, please!)