Book Review: “The Conservative Futurist” by James Pethokoukis: A Visionary Journey toward Tomorrow (Brent Orrell, June 17, 2024, AEI)

To some, “conservative futurism” will ring oxymoronic; but the future Pethokoukis is eager—“faster, please” —to usher in is conservative in the sense that it seeks to respect individual liberty and the free market and, following Burke’s vision of society as a “multigenerational partnership,” extend our moral and social concern concern to our children and grandchildren.

Resisting the stereotype that conservatism is inherently backward-looking or resistant to change, Pethokoukis’ conservatism centers individual liberty in the quest for progress. His project has much in common with Hayek’s, especially in the latter’s memorable essays “The Use of Knowledge in Society” and, ironically, “Why I Am Not a Conservative” (the meaning of the term has evolved: what Pethokoukis seeks to conserve is not natural hierarchies and the status quo, but classical liberalism, which increasingly finds itself under threat).