301 CHRONICLESnEmerson wrote about “the conservative”nin the 1840’s. Throughout then20th century there has been a recognizablenright wing in American politics thatnincluded such figures as the late Ohionsenator Robert Taft and Arizona senatornBarry Goldwater. But until the laten1950’s there never was a self-identifiedn”conservative movement.”nAmerican conservatism was invented,nnot discovered. The politics of thisnmovement were not simply borrowednfrom foreign models like the BritishnConservative Party, but were developednout of existing and sometimes obscurenstrands of American politics. And thendifferent parts and tendencies of thenconservative movement were held togethernnot by a common essence, butnsometimes frayed family ties. Thus, tondefine conservatism remains not simplyna historical but a political act, andnventuring out on this darkling plainneven well-traveled scholars like PaulnGottfried and Thomas Fleming cannbecome lost.nIn this slim volume, Gottfried andnFleming display considerable sensitivitynto writing about modern conservatism.nTheir narrative is filled with the differentn”isms” (traditionalism, neoconservatism)nand the different “Rights”n(New, Old) that have laid claim to thenterm “conservative.” They understandnthat conservatism was created in then1950’s. They understand the seminalnrole played in that process by the disreputablensenator from Wisconsin, Josephn”I have a list of 205 communists”nMcCarthy. And they also understandnthat the movement itself has gonenthrough distinct stages since itsninception — most importantly, thenmove toward the political center thatntook place after Goldwater’s defeat inn1964. This is commendable and makesnThe Conservative Movement a valuablencommentary.nBut Gottfried and Fleming, whonbelong themselves to a distinct “OldnRight” fraction of conservatism, runninto trouble drawing a line betweennhistory and commentary. In pressingntheir own conception of conservatism,nthey tend to magnify some strands ofnthe conservative past and undulynshrink others. Two examples will suffice.nGottfried and Fleming appear tonbe uncomfortable with the populistnpretensions of conservatives, and inndescribing the New Right, they claimnthat it “has learned to emphasizenthemes that are more populist thannconservative.” Some of what Gottfriednand Fleming then list as populist—liken”fear and resentment of the Easternnestablishment” — have broadly characterizednthe American right in the 20thncentury and were an integral part ofnthe conservatism of the 1950’s andn1960’s. Goldwater, for instance, wasnfond of asking for a saw so that hencould cut off the Atlantic seaboard.nA more significant example concernsnthe relationship between “traditionalism”nand the “Old Right.” In thenfirst chapters, Gottfried and Flemingnargue perceptively that traditionalists’ndefense of “civilization” was “essential”nto the definition of Old Rightnconservatism. But they also maintainn— correctly, I believe — that Old Rightntraditionalism has become “increasinglynirrelevant” to a “postwar right” thatnnow appears fixed on achieving thenpeculiar American ideals of liberty andnequality. In the conclusion to ThenConservative Movement, however,nGottfried and Fleming bewildered menby asserting that the Old Right is notnonly alive and well, but the only factionnof the conservative movement thatn”can most accurately be described as ansocial movement.” Their proof of thisnpoint is more obscure—for instance,nthe fact that Confederate stalwart M.E.nBradford was supported in his bid fornthe directorship of the National Endowmentnfor the Humanities by 20nsenators and 60 congressmen. Usingnthis criteria, one must assume thatnneoconservative William Bennett, whonbested Bradford, represented a considerablynlarger “social movement.”nThe confusion that besets the conclusionnof The Conservative Movementncomes largely from not making andistinction — enunciated in the 1950’snby political scientist Philip Converse —nbetween “mass” and “elite” beliefs.nProfessors, activists, and intellectuals inngeneral have always had a much morencoherent framework of belief than thenaverage voter, who is likely to detestn”big government” but crave higherngovernment spending on his roads andnmedical bills. It would have been anmistake to attribute, say, RexfordnTugwell’s clearly articulated New Dealnliberalism to the average Democraticnvoter of the I930’s; it is equally mistakennto attribute the traditionalists’ viewnnnof social stratification or world historynto congressional supporters of M.E.nBradford or, worse, those Southernnvoters who voted for Bradford’s friendsnin the Senate. The late John Eastnmight have been aware of the Gnosticnheresy, but it is unlikely many NorthnCarolina Republicans were. They werenoften responding to other, disparatencues that were not necessarily at thencore of elite traditionalism or conservatism.nThis point is essential in assessingnconservative history and in understandingnconservatism’s present political impasse.nGottfried and Fleming understandnthe extent to which traditionalnthemes undergirded the Goldwater intelligentsian(not including Goldwaternhimself) and the Old Right of NationalnReview. New York’s ConservativenParty, they note, opposed the welfarensystem “as a symptom and cause ofnsocial degeneracy.” But they fail tonnote the difference between the ConservativenParty’s high-flown statementsn— best articulated in William F.nBuckley’s 1965 mayoral campaign —nand the cruder sentiments that motivatednthat party’s growing followingnamong ethnic voters.nThe failure to distinguish mass andnelite blurs Gottfried and Fleming’sndiscussion of the New Right, whichnplayed an extremely important role innmaking conservatism politically viablenin the 1970’s and early 1980’s. NewnRight leaders like Richard Viguerie andnPaul Weyrich based their politics onnthe distinction between mass and elite.nTheir goal was to unite GeorgenWallace’s mass constituency, whichnwas drawn together by racial resentmentnand hatred of the Eastern establishment,nwith the elite conservatism ofnthe Young Americans for Freedom ornAmerican Conservative Union. KevinnPhillips’s book. The Emerging RepublicannMajority, was their guidebook.nThey knew the fit wasn’t perfect betweennVoegelin and a Southern “redneck”ncommitted to the common mannwhile being fearful and contemptuousnof blacks, but they were playing coalitionnpolitics, just like the Democrats.nGottfried and Fleming miss this entirely.nThey don’t see the Wallace influencenon Viguerie and Weyrich. Indeed,nthey mistakenly describe Wallacenas a Republican. This leaves Gottfriednand Fleming ill-equipped to appreciaten