OPINIONSrnFrom There to Here—^And Back Againrnby Richard Lessnerrn”All great peoples are conservative; slow to believe in novelties; patientrnof much error in actualities; deeply and forever certain of the greatnessrnthat is in law, in custom once solemnly established, and now nornlonger recognized as just and final.”rn—Thomas CarlylernReclaiming the American Right:rnThe Lost Legacy of thernConservative Movementrnhy Justin RaimondornBurlingame, California: Center forrnLibertarian Studies;rn289 pp., $17.95rnA s the Clintons’ socialist steamrollerrngrinds out new programs, new entitlements,rnhigher taxes, more regulation,rnand ever larger deficits, conservativesrnare left scratching their scalps: Howrnis it that, after recapturing the WhiternHouse and holding executive power forrnmore than a decade, conservatives failedrnto nrake a dent in the explosive growth ofrnBig Government and that, after a dozenrnvears of Ronald Reagan and GeorgernBush, the power of the federal gocrnmentrnto invade nearly every aspect ofrnour lives through confiscatory taxation,rnburgeoning social welfare schemes, andrninvasive regulation is greater than ever?rnLibertarian Justin Raimondo argues that,rnunless conservatives are willing to confrontrnthe ghosts of their intellectual past,rnthey will fail to understand just whererntheir movement went astray. With thernwreckage of the failed Bush presidencyrnlittering the political landscape, it cannotrnbe said that there exists today a discreternentitv deserving of the appellation “conservati’rne movement.” Conservatives arernunited in irothing, not even in the traditionalrncredo of limited government, andrntheir ranks are riven by internecine warfarernas vicious as that which currentlyrnRichard Lessner, formerly deputy editorrnof the editorial pages at the ArizonarnRepublic, has recently finished arnsecond novel.rnbathes the hapless Balkans in blood.rnRaimondo, a Media Fellow of thernLudwig von Mises Institute, argues thatrnthe causes of the conservative movement’srnignominious failure are internal,rnto be found in successive “invasions” ofrnthe Old Right from the left—invasionsrnthat so co-opted and corrupted thernmovement that it ceased to be truly conservativernin any fundamental sense.rnThese intrusions altered the ideology ofrnthe conservative movement, while preservingrnits form.rnIn Raimondo’s analysis, the OldrnRight—typified by such stalwarts as thernSaturday Evening Post’s Caret Garrett,rnJohn T. Flynn, Senator Robert A. Taft,rnH.L. Mencken, A.J. Nock, and FDR’srnbetes noires, Colonel Robert MeCormiekrnand his Chicago Tribune—espoused valuesrnof individualism, anti-statism, laissez-rnfaire, and libertarianism at home andrnisolationism and a wariness of foreignrnentanglements abroad. The first invasionrnof these ranks, Raimondo suggests,rnissued from the Trotskyite left. Thesernnew recruits, demoralized by the failuresrnand barbarity of Stalinist Marxism,rnmigrated to the Old Right, whose anticommunismrnwas attractive to them; theyrnsoon set about rearranging the furniturernin their new home. This trend, the firstrnof three invasions of the Old Rightrnroughly following generational lines,rnbegan late in the 19?0’s—the “RedrnDecade”—and culminated in the mid-rn50’s. Led b ex-Trotskyite James Burnhamrnand William F. Buckley’s NationalrnReview (its early masthead heavilyrnweighted with erstwhile communists),rnthe New Right retained the globalist outlookrnof its Marxian ancestry as it preemptivelyrnsacrificed the fight against thernrise of the total state—which the OldrnRight had waged so gallantly agaiirst thernNew Deal—on behalf of the Manieheanrnstruggle against international communism.rnThe results were catastrophic for thernconservative movement, which, cut fromrnits origins, vas transmogrified into somethingrnunrecognizable. I laving identifiedrnthe fight against communism as therntranscendent imperative, the New Rightrnwillfully acquiesced in the growth of thernomnicompetent, custodial social welfarernstate. Its homage to limited government,rndefined bv Mencken as “onern26/CHRONICLESrnrnrn