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Philosophy in the Library: Corey Robin on the Reactionary Mind

This event will take place at the Dweck Center of the Brooklyn Public Library. To register, click here.

Late in life, William F. Buckley made a confession to Corey Robin. Capitalism is "boring," said the founding father of the American right. "Devoting your life to it," as conservatives do, "is horrifying if only because it's so repetitious. It's like sex." With this unlikely conversation began Robin's decade-long foray into the conservative mind. What is conservatism, and what's truly at stake for its proponents? If capitalism bores them, what excites them?

Written by a keen, highly regarded observer of the contemporary political scene, Robin's newly reissued The Reactionary Mind ranges widely, from Edmund Burke to Antonin Scalia, from John C. Calhoun to Ayn Rand. It advances the notion that all rightwing ideologies, from the eighteenth century through today, are historical improvisations on a theme: the felt experience of having power, seeing it threatened, and trying to win it back. The new edition includes a chapter on Donald Trump.

Mr. Robin will be in conversation with Eddie Glaude, a professor of Religion and African-American Studies at Princeton. His books on religion and philosophy include African American Religion: A Very Short Introduction and Exodus! Religion, Race and Nation in Early 19th Century Black America, which was awarded the Modern Language Association’s William Sanders Scarborough Book Prize.