Read All About It - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Read All About It

Over on the Spectator main page, the cover links to a Mark Falcoff review of our publisher’s new book on the history of the conservative movement, which officially launches today. Writes Falcoff, “Although I find myself in accord with most of Regnery’s interpretations, some of them would be regarded as idiosyncratic even by people who consider themselves conservative.”

Then Falcoff supplies the litany: “[Regnery] frankly regrets American entry into the First World War, which he sees as having established the circumstances that led to the Bolshevik Revolution and the rise of Adolf Hitler. He objects to domestic institutions like the income tax, direct election of senators, and many innovations of the Progressive movement (in which he locates the origins of vote-buying through redistributionist policies). He takes many Republican icons to task — most notably Herbert Hoover and Dwight D. Eisenhower — for veering too far from their stated philosophies. (Hoover, he explains, really became a spokesman for conservative ideas once he left the White House.) He reminds us that the Nixon administration — whose unlovely fruits included an embrace of the Brezhnev Doctrine, wage and price controls, creation of the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Endowment for the Arts, and minority set-asides — was (not surprisingly) devoid of any movement conservatives; indeed, many of the latter didn’t even want their president reelected in 1972. (‘It was not that people liked Nixon — nobody ever liked Nixon,’ he writes in one of his more lapidary phrases, ‘but that they were appalled by McGovern.’) The one movement conservative who managed to be elected to the White House, Ronald Reagan, was (not surprisingly, in Regnery’s view) the most successful.”

It’s probably too long a list for Falcoff to have indicated what items he found idiosyncratic and what ones he agreed with without turning the paragraph into a structural atrocity. It looks to me like he bunched the “not so much” items near the top and the “agree” items near the bottom, which would put American involvement in World War I into the “idiosyncratic” column. So I’ll bite: Outside of a few neoconservative intellectuals, does the larger mass of American conservatives really believe our intervention in that war was a good idea?

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