My review of Pure Goldwater, a volume of Barry Goldwater’s journals (and some other odds and ends), is now up on Reason‘s website.
I’m reading Bill Buckley’s posthumous Goldwater memoir, Flying High, right now. Here’s one striking anecdote I hadn’t heard before:
… at this dinner [for the 1950s Freeman], Rand contradicted Mises on some doctrinal point, causing the eminent professor to stop eating and mobilize his scorn and fury on her. Ayn Rand thereupon burst into tears and exclaimed, “You are treating me like an ignorant little Jewish girl!”
Mises jumped up from his chair with joy. “That is exactly what you are! An ignorant little Jewish girl!”
Rand was not one to be crossed lightly. But even she might have known better than to gainsay Ludwig von Mises.
One of the things I found dissatisfying about George Packer’s recent “fall of conservatism” piece was its establishment bias. He can’t be accused of talking only to neocons and movement thralls — Pat Buchanan was in the mix alongside Rich Lowry and David Brooks — but Packer only spoke to established names, when the most interesting developments on the Right are taking place on the margins. Most of the conservatives he interviewed (Mr. Buchanan excepted) are ready for embalming.
The Ron Paul movement is one obvious sign of new life on the Right. Just consider this recent New York Times piece on the Paul movement. (And take note: the NYT banishes Ron Paul to the Style section, while Brooks and Bill Kristol occupy the op-ed pages.) What’s important is not just the number and energy of the Paul converts, but their youth and radicalism. Not all of these young people will remain politically — and more important, philosophically — engaged, but those who do will, I suspect, count for a heck of a lot more than the yuppies who descend on Washington to take jobs in the conservative establishment. The latter have access to much greater resources. But they serve a dead and discredited orthodoxy.
What’s also impressive about the Paulists is that theirs is a confident and positive movement. As corny as it may be, the “rEVOLution” slogan tells us something important about the movement: it’s not fueled by resentment. For good or ill, angry white men were indispensable to the Republican takeover of Congress in 1994 and to the Buchanan campaigns in 1992 and 1996. But that style of politics has long since burnt out, as the fate of Tom Tancredo’s mock presidential campaign shows. The Paul movement is hopeful.
The other encouraging development on the Right is similarly forward-looking. It’s harder to give this trend a name, because it’s not centered around one person or book, but Rod Dreher and his “crunchy cons” idea are a touchstone. It’s a new direction in traditionalism, away from post-industrial angst and toward a post-industrial way of life. It includes raw-milk enthusiasts and conservatives against animal cruelty; there’s also a real effort — or so it seems to me, anyway — among these conservatives to think locally and act locally. There’s a religious element to it, but it’s very different from the tired cant of the Falwells and Dobsons. And it’s brightest lights, unlike many traditionalists of old, are not anti-market.
I don’t know how big this second movement is; my sense of it comes from bloggers like John Schwenkler and Lee McCracken. You might call it the Wendell Berry-Michael Pollan Right. Like the Ron Paul movement, it’s antiwar, decentralist, and relatively hopeful. The Paulists and crunchies alike are “Hippies of the Right” — or Franciscans of the Right? — in that sense.
An article focusing on these trends would have been a lot more interesting than Packer’s survey of the usual suspects droning on about the usual Republican politics.
Light updating this week as the forthcoming issue of The American Conservative has been in the works (with articles by Peter Hitchens, Bill Kauffman, and other worthies) and I have three articles to write for various outlets over the next ten days or so. Blogging tends to get neglected in such circumstances.
While I’m at work on other things, however, I thought I’d throw out a question for anyone out there with technical expertise: is there a particularly good hosting service I should use if I move the Tory Anarchist over to another server? 1and1.com looks inexpensive. I hear BlueHost.com is very user-friendly (especially for WordPress). If there are better services out there, let me know.
The 4/21 issue of The American Conservative, which should be showing up in bookstores and subscribers’ mailboxes right about now, contains my article “The Ron Paul Evolution,” on the future of the Ron Paul movement — already there are candidates, a youth organization, and nonprofit ventures rising out of the Paul phenomenon, and there’s much more to come. I relate a few of my own experiences with the campaign in the piece, too. Hunt down a copy.
The next issue of the mag, out in about two weeks, should contain my review of Bill Kauffman’s terrific new book Ain’t My America: The Long, Noble History of Anti-War Conservatism and Middle-American Anti-Imperialism. The book is every bit as good as you would expect from the Sage of Batavia–and even better. If you need any convincing, just check out my review.
Gerald Russello, the editor extraordinaire of the University Bookman tells me that my review of Douglass Shand-Tucci’s recent biography of Ralph Adams Cram is in the current issue of that venerable (and Russell Kirk-founded) quarterly. It’s on-line here, but I’d recommend tracking down a print copy as well — or better yet, subscribing. Under Russello’s able editorship, the Bookman has gone from being a neglected cousin of Modern Age to becoming essential reading.
(The revivified Bookman is hardly Russello’s only notable achievement in recent years: he’s also the author of The Postmodern Imagination of Russell Kirk, which I reviewed for Reason a while back.)
My secret project at The American Conservative is no longer secret. It’s now live for all to see: @TAC, the new American Conservative group blog, with posts from me, Michael Brendan Dougherty, Kara Hopkins, Kelley Vlahos, Leon Hadar, Tim Carney, and many more to come. Check back regularly. (Naturally, business will be carrying on as usual here at The Tory Anarchist, too.)
Update: @TAC isn’t the only new group blog on the scene. The Independent Institute has just launched one as well, The Beacon.
The forthcoming issue of The American Conservative went to press yesterday. It includes Nick von Hoffman and Wilson Burman on the Bear Stearns debacle and what it means; Steve Sailer on Obama’s ambiguous views on race; Kelley Vlahos on women in combat in Iraq; Allan Carlson on the Dixiecrats’ revenge; Phil Giraldi on Admiral Fallon; Michael Brendan Dougherty on the virtue of men’s magazines; Freddy Gray on the pope’s upcoming U.S. visit; reviews by Piers Paul Read, Wayne Merry, and Paul Gottfried; columns by Patrick Buchanan, Daniel Larison, and Fred Reed; and a whole lot more.
There should be something new on the website later today — and not just articles. Keep your eyes peeled.
Update: Look for those website changes on Monday.
In case readers are wondering what’s coming up in the issue that went to press on Thursday (and which will begin reaching shops and subscribers in 10 days or so), it includes: John Derbyshire on foreign aid and Bush’s trip to Africa; Andrew Bacevich on the conservative case for Obama; Jeffrey Hart on Bill Buckley’s last message to conservatives; Michael Brendan Dougherty on both parties’ rust-belt double-talk; Bill Lind on how to solve the latest crisis brewing in the Balkans; Leon Hadar peers into the future and foresees trouble whichever party wins the White House; Eric Margolis on Iran’s looming Anschluss with Iraq; Patrick Buchanan on the U.S. arming Poland; Daniel Larison on Medvedev; Steve Sailer reviews “Miss Pettrigrew Lives for a Day”; I cover books by Donald Critchlow and Alfred Regnery; Stuart Reid takes on the latest from George Weigel; and Jim Pinkerton writes about Huck’s home-school army. There’s 14 Days and letters on top of all that. And there’s always the chance I’ve overlooked something, too.
After fifteen months away, I have returned to The American Conservative as an associate editor. I left the magazine at the end of 2006 to go to work for ISI Books; as TAC‘s literary editor, I had occasionally wondered what I should do next, and two thoughts I had were that it might be fun to work on the other side of the publishing industry, editing books rather than reviewing them, and that I’d like to do more on-line writing and editing. ISI gave me the opportunity to do both: to edit and commission books — Peter Stanlis’s Robert Frost: The Poet as Philosopher, Carle Zimmerman’s Family and Civilization, and Justin Raimondo’s Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement were three that I worked on — and to be involved in the creation of ISI’s web journal, First Principles.
What I found in my year at ISI was that I enjoy reviewing books and editing articles more than editing books, and as plans for First Principles underwent various changes, I left ISI and joined the Ron Paul 2008 campaign as its internet communications coordinator, overseeing its official blog, the Daily Dose. That was great fun and and exciting work in the service of the worthiest cause in politics — not just Ron Paul, but the cause of a peaceful foreign policy and strictly limited government at home. Of course, campaigns are not permanent things, unless you’re Alan Keyes, and the Paul effort began to wind down at the end of February.
Even when I wasn’t working there, I remained close to The American Conservative as a contributing editor and alumnus, so when I left the Ron Paul campaign a return to TAC seemed logical. They were willing to have me back, and so I am back. My duties now include a new TAC project whose details I can’t yet reveal, as well as a variety of editorial responsibilities. Of course, I’ll be continuing to write, too: the forthcoming issue (March 24) includes my two-in-one review of Alfred Regnery’s Upstream: The Ascendance of American Conservatism and Donald Critchlow’s The Conservative Ascendancy: How the GOP Right Made Political History.
Outside of TAC I have a few side projects humming along nicely. There should be two Robert Taft Club events in quick succession in late March and early April — more details on those very shortly. I have a couple of freelance essays and reviews in the works, and am making plans, in the abstract at least, for one or two big new initiatives. TAC, however, is where I hang my hat, and after having had the chance to try a few new things, I’m happy to be return.
My review of Socialist Review contributor Mike Davis’s book In Praise of Barbarians: Essays Against Empire, from the March/April issue of Orion magazine, is now on-line.