The term “conservative” gets bandied about a lot these days, and readers may wonder where it comes from. Jason DeParle in the NYT has the answer. It was invented by one Russell Kirk in 1953. DeParle’s opening para (“lede” in US newsspeak) introduces us to
Russell Kirk, the celebrated writer who a half-century ago gave the conservative movement its name
and elaborates later on
Kirk, who died in 1994, wrote 32 books, the most famous being â€œThe Conservative Mind,â€? which was published in 1953. It championed 150 years of conservative thought, and offered â€œconservativeâ€? as a unifying label for the rightâ€™s disparate camps.
I must say, it’s a great term, offering a neat contrast with “progressive”. Surprising nobody came up with it earlier, really.