The Wisdom of Our Ancestors

The Wisdom of Our Ancestors

  • Conservative Humanism and the Western Tradition

  • by Graham James McAleer, Alexander S. Rosenthal-Pubul

  • 314 pages, 6.00 x 9.00

  • Hardcover | 9780268207427 | December 2023

  • eBook (EPUB) | 9780268207410 | December 2023

  • eBook (Web PDF) | 9780268207458 | December 2023


In The Wisdom of Our Ancestors, the authors mount a powerful defense of Western civilization, sketching a fresh vision of conservatism in the present age.

In this book, Graham McAleer and Alexander Rosenthal-Pubul offer a renewed vision of conservatism for the twenty-first century. Taking their inspiration from the late Roger Scruton, the authors begin with a simple question: What, after all, is the meaning of conservatism? In reply, they make a case for a political orientation that they call “conservative humanism,” which threads a middle way between liberal universalism and its ideological alternatives. This vision of conservatism is rooted in the humanist tradition (that is, classical humanism, Christian humanism, and secular humanism), which the authors take to be the hallmark of Western civilizational identity. At its core, conservative humanism attempts to reconcile universal moral values (rooted in natural law) with local, particularist loyalties. In articulating this position, the authors show that the West—contra various contemporary critics—does, in fact, have a great deal of wisdom to offer.

The authors begin with an overview of the conservative thought world, situating their proposal relative to two major poles: liberalism and nationalism. They move on to show that conservatism must fundamentally take the form of a defense of humanism, the “master idea of our civilization.” The ensuing chapters articulate various aspects of conservative humanism, including its metaphysical, institutional, legal, philosophical, and economic dimensions. Largely rooted in the Anglo-Continental conservative tradition, the work offers fresh perspectives for North American conservatism.