Round Table Discussion

What’s Right With the World

Art and Artist Together

The Conservative Bookshelf has so much going for it that I am hard pressed to nominate its best quality, though I aim to do so.  Let me indicate something about the salient qualities of Chilton Williamson, Jr.’s latest production, before I identify what I see as his trump card.

In the first place, these 50 essays really are a conservative bookshelf, taking us from the Bible and the classics to today’s most notable thinkers and writers.  Mr. Williamson has surprised me with some of his choices (Phyllis Schlafly, for example), but he has justified every one of them.  The sense of perspective—and what is conservatism if it is not perspective?—is everywhere bracing and everywhere felt.  No book related to his subject better expresses the idea that conservatism is not an ideology or a political prescription but, rather, a vision or a way of seeing things.

Williamson has taken the opportunity, as well he should, to make his version of the conservative heritage one that is personally infused with his experience.  When he writes about Edward Abbey, we can sense much of his own relation with wilderness and freedom.  When he writes about Peter Brimelow and the issue of immigration, we also sense his own engagement with that issue and the penumbra of his own brilliant book about it, The Immigration Mystique—the best study of that subject ever penned. ...

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