There Are No More Honest Conservatives, So Stop Looking For OneRoundup
Last November I received a friendly request from an editor at a political publication. A liberal himself, surrounded by liberal colleagues, he wanted to make sure that the journalists he was hiring were not drawn exclusively from the left. He wondered if I might help him out with a list of “conservative reporters, writers and commentators” whom I admired most. “Who on the right does the best job of covering politics or the economy or anything else, for that matter, in a thoughtful, fair and accurate way?”
Maybe if I had a time machine and could travel back to the 1970s or 1980s, I could name names. Now, though, I can’t think of a single one.
Sure, the right in previous decades was jam-packed with the same sorts of haters, hustlers, hacks and conspiratorial lunatics that are familiar to us now. But there were lively exceptions. George Nash, a still-active independent historian, celebrated The Conservative Intellectual Tradition in America in a classic book published in 1976, when that tradition was very much still alive and kicking. James J. Kilpatrick, editor of the Richmond News Leader, may have been an intellectual architect of the South’s “massive resistance” against integration in the 1950s, but he also wrote columns that were literary, politically independent and often wise. Kevin Phillips was an idiosyncratic conservative then who wrote brilliantly prescient articles with the same critical acumen and empirical ruthlessness he demonstrates nowadays as an idiosyncratic liberal. He published a piece in Harper’s in 1973 predicting that the Republican Party would “cement its coalition by creating a new managerial and communications establishment that merchandises the values that Middle Americans hold dear” and that “the liberal establishment of the Sixties will begin to wither.” A liberal columnist responded by calling Phillips’s argument “the most ludicrous political analysis of our time.” Knee-jerk inanities like that were one of the reasons it was so important to read conservatives back in 1973...
comments powered by Disqus
- An Email From a Stranger Sent Me on a Quest for Family and Self
- Do the Italian Elections Reflect a Turn to Fascism or Cynicism?
- Texas Leading the Nation in Book Banning
- The 100-Year Old Miscalculation that Drained the Colorado River
- How Richard Nixon Alienated Allies after Watergate (and Lessons for Trump)
- British and Irish Historians Discuss Oliver Cromwell
- The Constitution's Support for Oligarchy
- Clark U. Prof Models Culturally Sensitive Approaches to Teaching about Slavery
- Historians Evaluate the "1836 Project" Pamphlet Texas Wants to Give to All Drivers License Applicants
- COVID Shows the US as a Country Kept from Grieving