Once More Beyond the Pale

"A thousand years scarce serve to form a state;
An hour may lay it in the dust."

—Lord Byron

Few antiliberal writers are disliked and distrusted so much by mainstream "conservatives" as John Lukacs and George Kennan. Like most movements that achieve a degree of success, intellectual "conservatism" in America has petrified into an establishment far more concerned with maintaining proximity to power than with preserving its own integrity of mind, which in any case was compromised from the start by an unwillingness to risk a commitment to circumscribed interests by examining too critically the structure and function of postwar American society. Since World War II, "conservatives" in this country have mainly been corporate capitalists and anticommunists whose hatred of the left is far greater than their love of the truth, which they arc willing to fudge rather than concur with the leftist critique on any point whatever. Compounding this commitment to power and interest is a prep-school code of ethics by which people who refuse to be team players are judged unreliable eccentrics at best, dangerous scoundrels at worst.

Since American "conservatism" for the past 40 years has been little more than an apology for corporate capitalism and modern technomaterialism, it is naturally suspicious of traditionalists who believe that...

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