Principalities & Powers

The Old Right Failure

No sooner had at least a dozen or so counterattacks on David Frum’s silly rant against paleoconservatives in the April 7 issue of National Review appeared in print or on the internet than the sole defense of the Frum article of which I am aware popped up under the name of William Rusher.  Some paleos were willing to bet that the author was not the real William Rusher, onetime publisher of National Review and always respected as one of the magazine’s stalwarts against the tendencies of some of its other editors to wobble ideologically; alas, those who made such wagers soon parted with their money.  In attempting to understand why this elder statesman of the American right, now retired and living in San Francisco, had embraced (so to speak) Mr. Frum, most readers seemed to conclude that his elderliness had gotten the better of his statesmanship.  Nowhere in his column did Mr. Rusher bother to notice that not everyone on the right agreed with Mr. Frum, let alone that a small library had already been written rejecting his claims.

The truth is that Mr. Rusher, however flawed his reasoning in his column, shows little sign of senility or decrepitude.  The more likely explanation of why this warrior of the Old Right was so quick to clamber into bed with neoconservatives who despise and reject most of what he spent his career defending has to do with the flaws of the Old Right itself. ...

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