ter flaw that ultimately would lead tornWatergate, In May 1959, Chambers,rndiscussing Nixon, wrote to Toledano:rnThe world is rather sensibly orderedrn. . . among lions and micern. . . . B u t . . . I question the wisdomrnof. .. the Lion who seems not torngrasp the workings of that orderrn. . . . Or who forgets what micernmeant to him in the ingloriousrndays, and may mean again…. Irnthink the Lion has forgotten thatrneven summer days are interspersedrnwith, and sometimes terminatedrnby, the night of the hunter. Thenrnthe Lion may roar: “‘Mouse!rnMouse!” but finds he is lord only ofrnthe closing jungle, or a veldt whosernfalse peace dissembles the nets nornmouse will gnaw him free of,rnwhile the treacherous forms circlernsoftly in.rnChambers exhibits a similar ambivalencernabout Senator Joseph McCarthy.rnIn a gloss on one of his own letters fromrn1951, Toledano writes that Chambersrntold him priately that “Joe is sometimesrna rascal, but he’s our rascal.” In a letterrnfrom 1954, Chambers discussed the tacticsrnof anticommunists. While clearlvrnunhappy w ith those who seemed not tornput up much of a fight, Chambers wasrnalso concerned about others whose tacdcsrncould be self-destructive:rnW’Tiy is it that ever)’ time I move inrnat the risk of my skin and drop arngrenade through the slit in the pillbox,rnour side rushes off into thernbushes. .. while the others, who atrnleast know what a grenade is whenrnthey receive one, swarm out shooting?rnThe answer is: our side doesrnnot know the nature of the enemy,rntherefore, the nature of the war hernenjoins, therefore, the nature ofrnthe tactics. So the simple tactic ofrnexploiting an opening is inconceivablernto them. . .. Senator McCarthy’srnnotion of tactics is tornbreak the rules, saturate the enemyrnwith poison gas, and then chargernthrough the contaminated area,rnshouting Comanche war cries.rnThe supposed triumph of “conservatism”rnthat culminated in RonaldrnReagan’s eight-year reign did much tornobscure the political and intellectual histon’rnof the American right in this century.rnThose who find it surprising thatrnChambers may have disagreed withrnNixon and McCarthy on questions ofrnfriendship and tactics will be even morerndisturbed to read Chambers’ commentsrnon Hannah Arendt and Ludwig vonrnMises, two other heroes in the consewativernpantheon. “Miss or Mrs. Arendt,”rnChambers wrote in 1953, “appears to bernone of those Central European womenrnwho has read too much and has nothingrnto sustain it except an intensity whichrnshakes her like an electric motor that isrnaboit to shake loose from its base.” Respondingrnto Chambers’ perceptive assessmentrnof Arendt, Toledano nonethelessrnpointed out that Arendt did have arnbase: “Mrs. Arendt is married to a manrnwhose ex-ness is in a very dubious state.rnAs a result, in attacking ex-Communists,rnshe is protecting a vested interest.”rnWhile Chambers did not questionrnLudwig von Mises’ ability as an economicrntheoretician, he roundly criticizedrnMises’ The Anti-Capitalist Mentality:rnI should consider it one of thernmost pernicious pieces of writingrnthat the Right has produced.. . . Byrnpernicious I mean the effect thatrnfollows when a mind, which speaksrnwith authority in a special fieldrn(economics), uses that authorit)’rn(but not the field it is based in), tornoffer a false study of our dilemma.rnThe result of this (insofar as its sillinessrnis not self-evident) must be tornmislead thousands about the naturernof that dilemma. .. . Thisrngrossly shallow man has left thernfield of economics for the field ofrnmass psycliolog)’. He has proclaimed,rnrather than deduced, thatrnthe anticapitalist mood of our timernis the result of “envy and ignorance.”rn.. . Marx himself pointedrnout that poverty is never aware ofrnits condition until wealth builds arnhouse next door. In this sense, vonrnMises’s capitalists are all Marxists;rnthey have erected the unsettlingrncontrast into the operating principlernof the mass market.rnWhether we agree or disagree withrnChambers, his arguments with Arendtrnand Mises were not merely over tactics;rnthey followed from first principles. Andrnyet, like the Greeks who incorporated intorntheir pantheon the gods of the peoplesrnthey conquered, or the Straussians whornproclaim anyone that they admire arn”philosopher” (and anyone they dislike,rna “believer”), conservatives over the pastrn20 years or so have held up mutuallyrncontradictory figures for emulation. (I’mrncertain it would not take ver)’ long to findrnan article in a back issue of, say, NationalrnReview, praising Chambers, Arendt,rnand Mises, without the faintest hint ofrnirony or the slightest suggestion that thernthree represented radically differentrnviews.) For an intellectual (and even arnpolitical) movement to survive, it is asrnimportant to exclude certain figures as itrnis to include others. When the pantheonrnbecomes too large, intellectual incoherencernand political impotence are thernlikely results.rnLacking an historical sense, the Americanrnright has floundered. If it is tornevolve into a serious intellectual and politicalrnmovement, its leaders must reexaminerntheir pantheon. But to do so, theyrnwill have to relive the debates over firstrnprinciples that the “one big happy family”rnconservatism of the Reagan yearsrnsought so desperately to avoid, and thatrnthe current neoconservative hegemonyrnforbids. Notes from the Underground remindsrnus that the American right oncerntook first principles seriously. For that reminder,rnwe should thank Ralph dernToledano for this book. crnNotesrnfrom thernUndergroundrn^^W Then the Berlin Wall camernV V down and the Soviet Union,rnthe ‘evil empire,’ collapsed, the questionrnwas asked: Would WhittakerrnChambers still believe that he had leftrnthe winning side for the losing side?rnLong before that day, he had seen thatrnthe struggle was no longer betweenrnCommunism and Western civilization,rnbut one in which Western civilizationrnwas destroying itself by betra-rning its heritage. Were he living today,rnhe would see in the flood and tempest,rnthe fire and the havoc of nature,rna sign that perhaps Cod was telling usrnsomething.”rn—from the Afterword byrnRalph de ToledanornFEBRUARY 1998/25rnrnrn