Back From CPAC, Pt. 2: Fusionism

Yesterday morning was the “Fusionism” panel, which went better than expected. Nick Gillespie moderated, my fellow panelists were Don Devine of the American Conservative Union and Ryan Sager, author of The Elephant in the Room. All three panelists argued for the importance of fusionism, with Devine emphasizing Frank Meyer’s philosophy and Sager highlighting the political value of libertarian-conservative cooperation for the Republican Party. I argued that even without a philosophical synthesis, radical libertarians and staunch traditionalists had important ground in common, including opposition to an imperial foreign policy and a commitment to decentralization. Moreover, citing Claes Ryn, I contended that if conservatives were to make headway in the Culture War, they would have to do so through culture, not politics. These are themes I’ve touched on in several places, including this American Conservative article and my review of Brian Doherty’s Radicals for Capitalism in the current issue (March 12) of TAC.

Most of the session consisted of Q+A, with questions coming both from Nick Gillespie and from the attendees, many of whom were taken aback by my criticisms of the Iraq War. Turnout at the panel was excellent: at first the room was only about a third full, with perhaps 60 people, but after about 15 minutes we had a near-capacity crowd of maybe 200 or 250. I won’t go into great detail about the panel, since in some cases I only dimly remember my own responses to Nick’s prodding or the audience’s questions, but you can see one blogger’s take on the event at the Libertarian Party’s website (scroll down).


3 thoughts on “Back From CPAC, Pt. 2: Fusionism

  1. John Lowell March 4, 2007 / 6:06 am


    You say:

    “Moreover, citing Claes Ryn, I contended that if conservatives were to make headway in the Culture War, they would have to do so through culture, not politics.”

    What could be more clear than the bancrupcy of the almost four decades of political activism by the Weirichs, Falwells, Dobsons, Bauers and Neuhauses. What began in the 1970s as an expression of until then poorly articulated frustrations has ended forty years later in the exploitation of these same, still unaddressed emotions by this same coterie of well paid, well housed, well fed and thoroughly dangerous phonies. Social conservatism reduced as it has been to a kind of ideology can never adequately give expression to that in which it proports to be grounded. More appropriately, to the extent that it has authentic elements, they emerge simply as an expression of a life of grace and love which defies any attempt at programatization. This is the lesson that the sorry history of the present “leadership” teaches us. God simply will not identify Himself with the big football stadium rally featuring Rick Sanctorum. Justice Sunday with Bill Donnelly and Ted Haggard, or the pre-emptive war mouth foam of a Richard Neuhaus. He’s more apt to be found in the little things that were the stock and trade of a St. Therese Of Liseaux. One sensibly looks for hope in the lives of saints, not politicians.

    John Lowell

  2. Joe Populist March 5, 2007 / 2:21 pm

    You sed: “I contended that if conservatives were to make headway in the Culture War, they would have to do so through culture, not politics….”

    Of course, you fail to miss the traditionalist’s point, that government is being used to ATTACK culture! Gay Marriage & Affirmative Action (racial quotas) via liberal courts, t, and the “multiculturalism” crap being forced on people’s kids by the combination of the Department of Education/NEA/AFT conglomerate are 2 of the more prominent examples out of a long list grievances that traditionalists have. The entire strategy of the commies in the ACLU/People for the American Way is to use government fiat to force change on the culture, not moral persuasion to remove a prayer innvocation at the local football game, or high school graduation.

    So, this newest twist from the “fusionists” that traditinalists are supposed to get out of government, and resort to moral persuasion seems a little hypocritical to me, since you libertarians want OUR support in the dismantling middle class jobs, and shipping them off to China and Saudi Arabia in the name of “free trade”.

    On one hand, we have the liberals attacking middle class values by removing Religion in public life, and on the other we have the “libertarians” supporting the dismantlement of their economic security by the CEO classes.

    Me thinks that the libertarians are the real “enemies within”, and the sooner we send them packing off to the Democrat Party and Liberalism, the more effective the right will be in reclaiming our American values.

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