A post-liberal order? Hans zehrer and conservative consensus building in 1950s west germany: Marcus M. payk

Modern Intellectual History 9 (3):681-698 (2012)
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Abstract

While it is well known that German conservative intellectuals were skeptical or indifferent to the Federal Republic of Germany established in 1949 and to its democratic founding principles, this essay shifts attention to a specific mode of right-wing acceptance of the new order. Focusing on Hans Zehrer, a renowned journalist and notorious opponent of democracy in the Weimar Republic, I will demonstrate how right-wing intellectuals interpreted West Germany's political system as a post-liberal order after the “end of politics”. But this vision of transcending societal and intellectual conflicts in a meta-politics was neither entirely new nor simply raked up from the late 1920s but reshaped to fit the postwar sociopolitical context. The essay illuminates several intellectual connections between Weimar-era neoconservatism and the specific conservative consensus formed after 1949, but it also explores personnel continuities within a network of right-wing journalists as well as continuities in the field of journalistic style.

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