The Conservative Imagination: Michael Oakeshott by Gertrude Himmelfarb

Gertrude Himmelfarb. “The Conservative Imagination: Michael Oakeshott,” American Scholar 44, no. 3 (1975): 405-420.


“Abjuring both political science and political philosophy as these are normally understood, Oakeshott has nevertheless acquired a distinguished body of disciples, and not only in the academy but among journalists, writers, and men of affairs. In this respect he cannot, to be sure, compete with Harold Laski, who had an enormous influence over an entire generation at home and abroad (and who still seems to play a dominant intellectual role in parts of what was once the British Empire). Oakeshott’s appeal is to a much more limited circle. But he is unquestionably the best- known and most respected intellectual spokesman for British conservatism. And he has achieved this eminence with a minimum of intellectual exertion on his part.”