That's the cover story of the current deadtree National Review. The four essays analyze the writer-activists who shaped the left today. Jonah Goldberg, Tiffany Jones Miller, Bradley C.S. Watson, and Fred Siegel profile Richard Ely, John Dewey, Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. and Herbert Croly. These well and lesser-known thinkers wrote beginning about a century ago, and in a sense they live today in the mind and policies of not just the left but of much of the right and center as well (consider especially the jurist Holmes). All have in common the desire to replace the political and moral foundations of American constitutionalism and its rule of law and limited government with an enlightened elite. The point here is that their theorizing succeeded in practice. To confront the left we need to understand its roots, and these essays expose them brilliantly.
So far no excerpts at NRO, but pick up the issue at your bookstore/magazine shop, as this issue presents thoughtful journalism at its best.