tration,rnDan Quayle was right about what, exactly?rnWas Dan Quayle right when herncriticized “Murphy Brown” for glamorizingrnillegitimacy, or was he right a fewrnweeks later when he tried to make nicernby sending a letter and a toy stuffed elephantrnto Murphy’s fictional bastard?rnWas Dan Quayle right when he blastedrnthe country’s cultural elite for erodingrn”family values,” or was he right later inrnthe summer when he boasted of thernBush administration’s “very good policyrnof nondiscrimination” against homosexuals?rnIt’s hard to tell what Dan Quaylernwas right about because no sooner did hernenunciate one cultural position than hernrenounced it or diluted it shortly afterwards,rnand by waffling on the rhetoric asrnwell as the substance of cultural conservatism,rnMr, Quayle merely made a foolrnof himself and succeeded in fumblingrnthe chance to frame the cultural issue ofrnthe campaign in meaningful terms.rnI don’t mean to pick on cither Mr.rnQuayle or the two Stupid Party journalsrnfor saluting Mr. Kristol’s generally harmlessrntalk, but their cuddly reception of hisrnspeech and some similar ones shows thatrnthe really interesting aspects of thernAmerican Cause conference sailed rightrnpast their horn-rims. What was most interestingrnabout the conference was thernpresence, for the hrst time on somethingrnlike a national stage, of a more or less authenticrncounterrevolutionary (as opposedrnto merely conservative) force. Andrnthose who gave voice to that force werernnot the luminaries whom NR and HErnfound so fascinating but rather a band ofrnobscurities and ne’er-do-wells who werernbarely noticed by either magazine andrnwho happen to be associated withrnChronicles.rnThe counterrevolutionary tactic wasrnimplicit in Chronicles editor ThomasrnFleming’s remark that the cultural war isrn”New York, essentially, against Nebraska,”rnwhich Mr. Scully quotes but can’trnunderstand. Taking Dr. Fleming’s largelyrnmetaphorical antithesis literally, Mr.rnScully thought it was contradicted byrnthe success of Mary Cummins’ recentrnrebellion against the New York Cityrnschools. Not everybody in New York is arnliberal, Fleming. So there.rnI will forebear recounting my ownrnspeech to the conference, which dealtrnwith the theory and practice of AntoniornGramsci’s concept of “cultural hegemony”rnand how it might be applied to therncauses of the right. I proceeded from thernpremise that the main mission of “culturalrnconservatives” today is not to conservernbut to overthrow—namely, the culturalrnelite and its apparatus of politicalrnand cultural power. My remarks happenedrnto receive a standing ovation fromrnthe audience of “eccentrics,” but neitherrnNational Review nor Human Eventsrnbothered to mention it.rnNor did the similar counterrevolutionaryrnthrust of the speeches of Mrs.rnFoster and Rabbi Yehuda Levin, whornalso received a standing ovation, exciternmuch thought from the deadly duo fromrnthe conservative press. National Reviewrndid not even mention them. HumanrnEvents did mention them but only tornmake the utterly jejune and somewhatrninsulting point that having a black and arnJew at the conference refutes the smearrnthat Mr. Buchanan is a racist. Only thernStupid Party really believes that having arncouple of blacks and Jews around willrnsave them from being accused of racism.rnPat Buchanan, of course, is not a racist,rnbut inviting Mrs. Foster and the severalrnJewish speakers who were on handrndoesn’t prove he isn’t, nor was that whyrnthey were invited anyway. HumanrnEvents’ point is so banal that it ought tornapologize to the two speakers as well as tornMr. Buchanan.rnPaul Gottfried, author of the recentlyrnpublished monograph The ConservativernMovement and a frequent Chroniclesrncontributor, spoke on the subject of howrn”political correctness” and “multiculturalism”rnare not merely superstitions ofrnthe academy but have now permeatedrnthe institutions and minds of the countryrnat large. The implication of Mr.rnGottfried’s remarks was that revolt notrn”conserving” is the appropriate missionrnof the serious American right today. Finally,rnclassicist E. Christian Kopff, arnChronicles contributing editor, deliveredrnperhaps the most forceful address of thernwhole conference, arguing for an educationalrnsystem grounded in mathematicsrnand the classical languages as the onlyrnmeans of preserving the main traditionsrnof Western culture in science, thought,rnlanguage, and religion. As with Dr.rnFleming’s remarks, Mr. Gottfried’s, andrnmy own, the implications of ProfessorrnKopff’s speech involve a mission of challengingrnand overthrowing the incumbentrnelites of education and culture, notrnconserving them or fighting them withrn”reasoned arguments” drawn from thernStupid Party’s repertoire.rnThough neither Dr. Fleming’s speechrnnor Professor Kopff’s nor mine seemedrnto register with Human Events, Mr. Scullyrndid refer to Mr. Gottfried as what herncalled a “pockets-of-virtue man”—i.e.,rnone who thinks it’s impossible to recapturernthe culture or the country and merelyrnadvocates retreat to backwaters likernAltoona. As it happens, that is the directrnopposite of what Mr. Gottfried advocated.rnThe line Mr. Scully drew betweenrn”conservatives who aim to ‘recapture thernculture’ and those resigned to findingrnlittle ‘pockets of virtue’ within it” actuallyrnexcluded, concealed, and (again)rnmissed the point of the most significantrnparts of the conference. In Mr. Scully’srnview, the real hero of the weekend was—rnguess who?—Bill Kristol, whose reasonedrnargument that Dan Quayle was right allrnalong was invigorated by his sense, “asrnwith the Soviets in the early Eighties, ofrna hollowness at the center.” In Mr. Kristol’srnview, you see, the dominance of therncultural left in the United States is aboutrnto collapse like the Kremlin state. Oncernmore, we’ve got ’em on the run.rnThe true line of division at the AmericanrnCause conference had nothing torndo with “pockets of virtue” or “recapturingrnthe culture.” Everyone, includingrnMr. Kristol, wanted to accomplish thernlatter; what they differed on was the tacticrnby which that can be accomplishedrnand exactly what it is that ought to be recaptured.rnTo the conservative mind, asrnrepresented by the reports of NationalrnReview and Human Events, the cultural,rnsocial, and political structure of the UnitedrnStates is essentially healthy and needsrnto be conserved. Hence, there’s no needrnfor radicalism; we just have to sit backrnand wait for Bill and Hillary to catch uprnon what the Atlantic’s been publishing,rnfor Murphy Brown to get married andrnthe lavender lobby to abandon politicsrnand open a florist’s shop. In the meantime,rnwe should meet the repression, exploitation,rnlies, smears, and calculatedrncultural destruction of the left with “reasonedrnarguments” about family values,rnglobal democracy, enterprise zones, andrnMartin Luther King as a conservativernicon. Conservatism thus becomes arncounsel of inaction, passivity, infantilisticrnoptimism, and banality.rnTo the warped minds of Chroniclesrneditors and writers, however, the future isrnnot so bright. “Reasoned argument”rnwon’t work with the enemies of MiddlernAmerica because those enemies don’trncare about reason. They care about powerrnand using power to advance them-rnSEPTEMBER 1993/9rnrnrn