the grounds of anticommunism. The war itself was a resultnof misconceived liberal policies and was effectively lost bynliberal mismanagement, and there was no good reason fornthe right (even the anticommunist right) to support it. Yet, asnthe New Left mounted an attack on the war and broadenednthe attack to include the bureaucratized university and partsnof the leviathan state, the right’s response was to defend notnonly the war itself and sometimes even the liberal policiesnthat were losing it, but also the liberal power centersnthemselves. The Old Right critique of containment, mountednby anti-interventionists such as Robert Taft and John T.nFlynn and by anticommunist interventionists such asnBurnham, was forgotten, as was much of the Old Rightncultural critique of the domestic liberal regime, whichnmirrored its globalist regime. It was at this point that the OldnRight began to join forces with emerging neoconservativenelements, whose concern was entirely with defending thenliberal managerial system, foreign and domestic, and whichnnever had the slightest interest in dismantling it. The resultnof the coalition between the Old Right and neoconservatismnhas been the adoption by the right of Wilsonian-Rooseveltiannglobalism and its universalist premises, the diffusion ofnthose premises within the right in defense of what arenactually the institutions and goals of the left, and the gradualnabandonment of the Old Right goals of reducing the sizenand scope of centralized power. By swallowing the premisesnof the left’s globalist and messianic foreign policy, the rightnhas wound up regurgitating those same premises domestically.nIf it is our mission to build democracy and protectnhuman rights in Afghanistan, then why should we not alsonenforce civil rights in Mississippi and break down the barriersnto equality of opportunity everywhere through the sledgehammernof federal power? Conservatives do not yet advocatensending the Special Forces into Bensonhurst andnHoward Beach, but the story is not over yet.nTo say that the conservatism of the Old Right failed is notnto dismiss the important contributions its exponents made tona critical analysis of liberal ideology or all of its work innpolitical theory, international relations, economic and socialnpolicy, and religious, philosophical, and cultural thought.nThe Old Right intelligentsia as a whole was a far morenexciting group of thinkers and writers than the post-WorldnWar II left produced. Nor does pointing to its failure meannthat a serious right was not or is not possible. It is merely tonsay that the Old Right fundamentally misperceived its ownnposition in and relationship to the emerging managerialnregime and that this misperception led it into a mistakennstrategy of seeking consensus rather than conflict with thendominant elite of the regime.nIt remains possible today to rectify that error by a radicalnalteration of the right’s strategy. Abandoning the illusionnthat it represents an establishment to be “conserved,” a newnAmerican right must recognize that its values and goals lienoutside and against the establishment and that its naturalnallies are not in Manhattan, New Haven, and Washingtonnbut in the increasingly alienated and threatened strata ofnMiddle America. The strategy of the right should be tonenhance the polarization of Middle Americans from thenincumbent regime, not to build coalitions with the regime’sndefenders and beneficiaries. Moreover, since Middle Ameri­nca consists of workers, farmers, suburbanites, and other nonornpost-bourgeois groups, as well as small businessmen, it isnunlikely that a new right will make much progress innmobilizing them if it simply repeats the ideological formulasnof a now long-defunct bourgeois elite and its order. Thenmore salient concerns of post-bourgeois Middle Americansnthat a new right can express are those of crime, educationalncollapse, the erosion of their economic status, and thencalculated subversion of their social, cultural, and nationalnidentity by forces that serve the interests of the elite aboventhem and the underclass below them, but at their expense.nA new right, positioning itself in opposition to the elite andnits underclass ally, can assert its leadership of alienatednMiddle Americans and mobilize them in radical oppositionnto the regime.nA new, radical Middle American Right need not abandonnpolitical efforts, but, consistent with its recognition that it isnlaying siege to a hostile establishment, it ought to realize thatnpolitical action in a cultural power vacuum will be largelynfutile. The main focus of a Middle American Right shouldnbe the reclamation of cultural power, the patient elaborationnof an alternative culture within but against the regime —nwithin the belly of the beast but indigestible by it. Instead ofnthe uselessness of a Diogenes’ search for an honest presidentialncandidate or a Fabian quest for a career in thenbureaucracy, a Middle American Right should begin workingnin and with schools, churches, clubs, women’s groups,nyouth organizations, civic and professional associations, thenmilitary and police forces, and even in the much dreadednlabor unions to create a radicalized Middle Americannconsciousness that can perceive the ways in which exploitationnof the middle classes is institutionalized and understandnBy swallowing the premises of the left’snglobalist and messianic foreign policy, thenright has wound up regurgitating those samenpremises domestically.nhow it can be resisted. Only when this kind of infrastructurenof cultural hegemony is developed can a Middle AmericannRight seek meaningful political power without coalitionsnwith the left and bargaining with the regime.nEliot may have been right that no cause is really lostnbecause none is really won, but victory and defeat in thenstruggle for social dominance have little to do with whethernthe cause is right or wrong. Some ideas have morenconsequences than others, and those that attach themselvesnto declining social and political forces have the leastnconsequence of all. By allowing itself to be assimilated bynthe regime of the left, American conservatism became partnof a social and political force that, if not on the decline, is atnleast confronted by a rising force that seeks to displace it,neven as the regime of the left displaced its predecessor. If thenAmerican right can disengage from the left and its regime, itncan assume leadership of a cause that could be right as wellnas victorious. But it can do so only if it has the wit and thenwill to disabuse itself of the illusions that have distracted itnalmost since its birth. nnnMAY 1991/17n