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).