Political commentator Andrew Sullivan delivered the 2011 T.H. White Lecture on Press and Politics at the Kennedy School of Government.

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Conservatism is in ‘crisis’

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Commentator Andrew Sullivan voices concerns at White Lecture

Andrew Sullivan, political commentator and blogger with The Daily Beast, gave the 2011 Theodore H. White Lecture on Press and Politics at the John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum Thursday.

In his lecture, “Conservatism and Its Discontents,” Sullivan argued that conservatism today is in a “crisis” and is “unrecognizable” from its traditional heritage. Sullivan said that he “does not recognize the Republican Party as a conservative force.”

True conservatism, Sullivan said, is concerned with the “paradox of progress” and recognizes that “society is not a formula” and that “culture matters.” He went on to point out that the state is not the only danger to free society. “The accumulation of power by bankers and corporations is also a threat, and should be subject to conservative critique,” he told his forum audience.

Preceding the lecture, the seventh annual David Nyhan Prize was awarded to Thomas Frank, author of “What’s the Matter With Kansas?” and a columnist for Harper’s Magazine. In his remarks upon receiving the award, Frank said, “We are living in an age of catastrophic intellectual malfunction.”

Recalling political policies over the past decade, he said, “The consensus was wrong all along,” but added, “my views were outside the consensus.”

Thomas Frank was the winner of the 2011 David Nyan Prize. Frank is the author of “What’s the Matter With Kansas?”