Yikes! Yuval Levin's book The Great Debate: Edmund Burke, Thomas Paine, and the Birth of Right and Left (Basic Books, 2014), based on his 2010 doctoral dissertation at the University of Chicago, is clearly designed to be a feel-good read for American conservatives and thereby contribute to their recuperation in time to pull out significant victories in the 2014 mid-term elections.
However, just as contemporary Republicans are up to no good politically, so too Levin is up to no good in this book, as I will explain momentarily.
For understandable reasons, many American progressives and liberals today are probably not as familiar with the political views of Edmund Burke (1729-1797) and Thomas Paine (1737-1809) as Levin is. As a result, many progressives and liberals today might quickly skip over Levin's book. But it might be a mistake for them to ignore or under-estimate what Levin is up to by giving his fellow American conservatives today a feel-good book to read to bolster their spirits in time for the 2014 mid-term elections.
No, there's not a word in Levin's book about possibly repealing Obamacare -- if Republicans can gain enough seats in Congress in the 2014 mid-term elections to over-ride President Obama's predictable veto. Ah, wouldn't that be the greatest victory for the Republican obstructionists in Congress?
No, there's not a word in Levin's book about the obstructionist tactics of Republicans in Congress over the last two years.
No, there's not a word in Levin's book about the Republicans' efforts to overturn and reverse legalized abortion in the first trimester.
No, there's not a word about outlawing the teaching of evolutionary theory in public secondary education, or about requiring equal time in public education for so-called intelligent-design theory, or about requiring textbooks to advertise that evolutionary theory is a theory, not a fact.