Polemics & Exchanges

On Decter’s Philly

Samuel Francis is to be congratulated for having written one of the best essays on the American conservative establishment (“Queen of the Damned,” Principalities & Powers, August) that I have seen.  Dr. Francis correctly notes that the appointment of Midge Decter as president of the Philadelphia Society, a once stimulating conservative debating club, points to its obsolescence as a forum for genuine discussion among conservatives.  The election of this termagant by unidentified kingmakers signals the breakdown of any coherent understanding among the society’s leaders of what it means to be a conservative.  Dr. Francis states the useful obvious when he says that there is no way in which Decter can be considered a “conservative,” as opposed to a global democratic activist or Jewish nationalist resident in the United States.  And there is no reason to think that she was appointed to her present eminence because of her openness to debate.  The Stalinist adherence to party lines that she and other neocon commissars have maintained over the organizations that have fallen under their jackboots should indicate what she intends for the Philadelphia Society.  I should say, what she might intend if such discipline were necessary and if the group in question had not already been preparing for...

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