Cultural Revolutions

Ron Paul Rising

When the Old Gray Lady finally deigned to take notice of Ron Paul’s presidential bid, it was in the form of a long piece in the New York Times Magazine by Christopher Caldwell, a piece that confirmed the definite feeling of déjà vu I get when I note the energy, the enthusiasm, and the surprising success (so far) of the Paul campaign.  It is, to my mind, basically a remake of the Goldwater crusade that launched the modern conservative movement.

Back in 1964, the Goldwater campaign arose from its Western and Southern roots to take back the GOP from the Eastern Establishment and lay the basis for the conservative revival of the 1980’s.  The media—and, in those days, the phrase liberal media was a real redundancy—was relentlessly hostile to Goldwater and contemptuous of his followers, who were characterized as reactionary rubes and perhaps even closet Nazis, or at least bigots of a very unappetizing sort.  In the liberal imagination, the alleged menace of the “Radical Right” was embodied by the John Birch Society.

Already the object of several hysterical reports by the Anti-Defamation League, the anti-“extremist” tag team of Arnold Foster and Benjamin R. Epstein, and the indefatigable Harry Overstreet, the Birchers were characterized as the secret power behind the Goldwater campaign.  In the liberal imagination, the Goldwater...

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