Urban Sociologist Nathan Glazer, a Founder of Neo-conservatism, Dies at 95

A long-time professor at Harvard University, Glazer was the author of 'The Lonely Crowd' and, with Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, the seminal 'Beyond the Melting Pot'

Nathan Glazer
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Urban sociologist Nathan Glazer, considered a founder of neo-conservatism, has died.

Glazer died on Saturday at his home in Cambridge, Massachusetts at the age of 95.

A long-time professor at Harvard University, Glazer was the author of “The Lonely Crowd” and, with Daniel Patrick Moynihan, the seminal “Beyond the Melting Pot,” a study of five racial and ethnic groups in New York.

Glazer was a writer and editor for Commentary and The New Republic, beginning in the 1940s. In 1965 he began writing for the new journal founded by his friends Daniel Bell and Irving Kristol, “The Public Interest.” He became co-editor with Kristol in 1973, a position he held until 2003.

According to the New York Times, he wasn’t comfortable with the label neoconservative, which Bell described as a “socialist in economics, a liberal in politics, and a conservative in culture” — but mostly,  a believer in a muscular U.S. role in foreign affairs. On foreign policy Glazer continued to describe himself as “somewhat left.”

The son of Yiddish-speaking Jewish immigrants from Russia, Glazer attended the City College of New York, where he met Bell, Kristol and Irving Howe, who frequently gathered to discuss Marxist philosophy, communism and socialism.

He worked in the editorial divisions of Random House and Anchor Books in the 1950s, and served during the Kennedy administration in what is now the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development. He taught at the University of California at Berkeley for five years beginning in 1963. He began teaching at Harvard in 1969 and was a professor emeritus of sociology and education there at the time of his death.