VIEWSrnConservative or Rightist?rnA Personal Confessionrnby Erik von Kuehnelt-LeddihnrnPeople who know me realize that in the United States Irnmove largely in conservative circles. I write for conservativernpublishers and periodicals and lecture largely to conservativernaudiences. I feel at home with them and usually share theirrnviews. The vast majority of my friends in America considerrnthemselves to be conservatives, and thus I am treated as one onrnthe grounds of “guilt bv association.” But, though you can findrnme in the Lexikon des Konservatismus, I have never called myselfrna conservative, (hi that book, you can also find Friedrichrnvon Hayek, Ludwig von Mises, and Wilhelm Roepke, whichrnshows that in Europe, conservatives and liberals are very closernneighbors and not really opposites.)rnI candidly call myself a rationalist, an arch-liberal, an extremernrightist, and a devout Catholic. A few Europeans, andrncertainly most Americans, will raise their eyebrows or shakerntheir heads. Of course, we are talking primarily about labels.rnAll too often, we do not understand each other when talkingrnacross the Atlantic. While Europe is a peninsula of Asia, NorthrnAmerica is a giganhc island which inherited its ideas and idealsrnfrom a much smaller cluster of islands, whose inhabitants arernvery reluctant Europeans. No wonder that identical words oftenrnhave different meanings on either side of the Channel or ofrnthe Atlantic.rnMy religion makes me a rationalist. Modern rationalism is arnErik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn is the author of a dozen books,rnamong them Leftism Revisited: From de Sade and Marx tornHitler and Pol Pot (Regnery).rngrandchild of scholasticism, which was profoundly influencedrnby Aristotle. I am, moreover, a liberal. Worldwide, genuine liberalsrnare not necessarily of the same opinion, yet one thing isrncertain: What is called liberalism today in America has nothingrnto do with liberalism elsewhere. All genuine liberals are dedicatedrnto personal freedom and reject the family-replacingrnprovider-state, wrongly called the “welfare state.” How did itrnhappen that the term “liberal” was so totally perverted in America?rnProbably because genuine liberalism tries to be openmindedrn(which, while maintaining a critical sense, we all havernto be). The “House of Liberalism” with its open windows andrnopen doors became a victim of the howling storms sweepingrnthrough its rooms. And these winds had a distinctly leftist character.rnSo “liberalism” in America became the very opposite ofrnwhat it is elsewhere and totally at variance with “conservatism.”rnIn Europe, a liberal is like an American conservative, and liberalsrnmore often than not cooperate with conservatives. The ftalianrnliberals sit, naturally, on the right side of the Chamber, tornthe right of the Democristiani, and I write occasionally forrnStanczyk, a Polish review of “conservaHve-liberal monarchists.”rnThe liberal ideal is “personalistic” and therefore compatiblernwith Christianity. Eleutheria, freedom, figures in the New Testament,rnwhile isotes (in the sense of equality) does not. Menrnand women are not only obviously unequal physically, intellectually,rnand morally, but are also certainly not “equal beforernGod.” If Judas and St. John the Baptist are “equal before Cod,”rnthen Christianity should close up shop and the Day of Judgmentrnshould be changed into a hootenanny. R.L. Bruekberg-rn14/CHRONICLESrnrnrn