Between the Lines

The Right Reborn

The stunning success of the Trump campaign has upended what has passed for conservatism lo these many years and opened up new vistas for the American Right.

Many if not most readers are familiar with the story of how the neoconservatives emigrated from the far left and colonized the conservative movement, hijacking what had been the party of Robert A. Taft and turning it into the party of Paul Wolfo witz.  As I wrote in Reclaiming the American Right (reprinted in 2008 by ISI Books with an Introduction by the late George W. Carey and a critical essay by Scott P. Richert), the Old Right of Taft, Mencken, and John T. Flynn was displaced by a gaggle of ex-Trotskyites and former Stalinists gathered together by William F. Buckley, Jr., under the aegis of National Review.

Under Buckley’s tutelage, “movement” conservatism ushered in the New Conservatism, which for all intents and purposes was a nearly perfect inversion of what conservatives had previously believed.  While paying lip service to the principle of limited government, Buckley showed his true colors in a 1952 article for Commonweal in which he averred that we had to tolerate a “totalitarian” regime in order to fight and eventually roll back the Red Menace.

Of course when communism imploded in the 1990’s, the “conservatives” didn’t get down to the business of rolling...

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