, divided up into neatly labeled camps of traditionalist,nneoconservative, New Right, and libertarian. There are,nhowever, a number of themes or approaches, in partnphilosophical and in part political, that do recur in thenwritings of self-described conservative thinkers of the 1980’s.nThree of them, in various permutations and combinations,nmight serve to explain the movement.n1. Reaction. To one extent or another, most conservativesn(like most radicals) define themselves by the golden age theynare pining to restore. For Richard Weaver it was the HighnMiddle Ages; for other Southerners it was the antebellumnSouth; for many Cold War anticommunists, it was a periodnsome time before FDR, when the U.S. still enjoyed anrepublican form of government; for the neoconservatives, itntends to be the period from Roosevelt through Kennedy.nWhatever their period of choice, reactionaries recognize, atnleast implicitly, the importance of historical myths in shapingnthe world view and political agenda of the present, and nonconservative movement will get anywhere until it can putntogether something like a coherent myth of the past.n2. Conservation. Conservatives by definition are conservative,nthat is, they believe there are elements in the presentnpolitical arrangements that are worth preserving. Fornneoconservatives it is some sober version of the welfare state;nfor traditional conservatives it is the vestiges of limitedngovernment, autonomous families, and Anglo-Americanncivilization.n3. Progress. Until fairly recently, one did not hear muchnabout the future or growth or progress from rightists ornconservatives anywhere. In America, however, no cultural ornpolitical movement can afford to do without a positive visionnof the future, if only because Americans in the 20th centurynhave been, by and large, dopey progressives. Manynotherwise sensible people find the idea of a “conservativenopportunity society” irresistible and call for “no limits tongrowth” almost in the same breath that they are defendingnthe “values of Judeo-Christian civilization.” The doctrine ofnprogress, in its current forms, celebrates technology, economicngrowth, free trade, global democracy, and opennborders. All of this is repellent, to earlier generations ofnconservatives, who have made a serious tactical error innrejecting the spirit of progress out of hand. The best qualitynof our own civilization — I do not say the best quality of anyncivilization — has been an exuberant confidence in ournability to solve problems, although we rarely take the time tonreflect that most of these problems are the result of eariiernsolutions.nThese themes cross all boundaries and hostile frontiers,nand several can turn’up in the same man: Ceorge Gilder’snentire career looks like a sort of juggling act betweennreaction and progress, and while I frequently disagree withnhim, there is no political journalist I admire more. The tasknthat lies before conservatives, it seems to me, is to come upnwith a framework that combines these three approaches in anfashion that is faithful to the most essential principles andnwill serve the needs of the post-Cold War America.nIhave neither the space nor the inclination to sketch evennthe most general lineaments of such a synthesis. Instead,nlet me concentrate on one issue as a metaphor: thenenvironment. Except for libertarians, conservatives reallyn14/CHRONICLESnnndon’t have an environmental ethic, and Chronicles intendsnto make an attempt at remedying that deficiency in ournAugust number. However, the three themes of reaction,nconservation, and progress do serve to define the mostncommon approaches to environmentalism.nAt one end of the spectrum is the reactionary agrarian —nsometimes Luddite in the intensity of his hostility towardntechnology, population growth, and pollution. On thisnChristian conservatives, like Wendell Berry and JacquesnEUul, shake hands with hard-bitten leftists, like JeremynRifkin. Once upon a time, so the myth runs, the waters werenclean, the air pure, and the forests magnificent. Humanntechnology, such as it was, worked in the service of man andnnature. Today, with technology in the saddle, man is servantnto the machine that has befouled his air and water,ndeforested the landscape, and covered the coasts of ourncontinent with ugly suburban sprawl. So runs the myth, andnlike most myths it is true in its essentials.nThe conservative approach is apfly called “conservation”nor “preservation.” Although the imagination of conservationistsnis typically fired by a reactionary rustic vision, thenapproach is not so much a question of opting out ornreturning to the land, in the manner of Wendell Berry.nConservationists want to preserve our dwindling resourcesnby establishing and maintaining forests and wildernessnpreserves from which human influence is excluded and innwhich human activity is sharply curtailed. While conservationistsnmight prefer a better world, they will settle fornconserving what we have.nThe party of progress and growth rarely sees any realnenvironmental problems, and what few difficulties exist cannbe settled by an exclusively free market approach in whichndirty industries may buy some of the unused pollution rightsnof clean factories. Is the air of Los Angeles unbreathable?nThen the solution is better technology, not more regulation,nbecause regulation, in fact, has almost always done morenharm than good.nMy point, in drawing out the example, is this. Both thenreactionaries and the progressives have a great deal toncontribute to the debate, while the conservationists — callnthem conservatives — are, because of their obsession withnthe status quo, unable to respond creatively to environmentalncrises and opportunities. Radicals and reactionaries arenboth capable of changing things for the better, while it is innthe nature of conservatives to pamper a lingering illnessnrather than take a chance on a cure.nThere is, however, a new environmental movement, onenthat concentrates on restoration, not preservation. Restorationnof a prairie or a forest requires all the tools that sciencenand technology can supply; it also requires the hard work,ningenuity, and creativity of thousands, indeed millions,nof human beings. Rather than excluding man from thenwilderness as something vile, restoration work drags peoplenout of the suburbs and into the fields, where they will learnnonce again to play the role of Adam, this time restoring andnnot just tending the garden. Of course, a restored prairie isnnot the same thing as a primitive prairie; man is now part ofnthe equation and has a part to play, and only a resolutenenemy of mankind will object.nSome aspects of this example cannot be applied to thengeneral plight of conservatives. More can be. Like it or not,n