of writing a book, aping the sound andnfury of literature but signifying nothing.nReading it, I was reminded of what RaymondnChandler said of literary imitators:n”They can’t steal your style, if younhave one. They can as a rule only stealnyour faults.” But even if the writing werencompetent, Tyrrell’s appalling self-importancenwould overwhelm it. In a booknthat is literally filled with preposterousnpassages, surely this one is among thenmost pathetic:nThe maturing of The AmericannSpectator towards adulthood [duringnthe Reagan presidency] hadntransformed us from the collegenmagazine we were when Nixon-nAgnew had us on the WhitenHouse Rolodex, hnages of ArthurnSchlesinger’s fate during thenKennedy years made an unwelcomenappearance in my mind’sneye. Would I become the Reaganites’nSchlesinger, resorted tonfor felicitous quotations, fornlearned anecdotes lifted fromnscholarly histories, for liaisonsnwith the intelligentsia? Would Inhave to go all the way, my everynreference to Reagan becoming anservile panegyric, my every visit tona Reagan party placing me in imminentnperil of a dunking in everynpool? That was the sort of treatmentnthat Camelot accorded poornSchlesinger.nWell—not to worry, as they say in NewnYork.nThe Conservative Crack-Up portraysnEmmett Tyrrell and The American Spectatornas the Vital Center of Americannconservatism, which they rescued in thenlate 1960’s from the waning conservativenalliance of traditionalists, libertarians,nand anticommunists that had dominatednthe 1950’s. At General Tyrrell’sntrumpet call, “Irving Kristol’s crowdncame to the rescue”: the neoconservatives,nwho were “more given to the pursuitnof ideas than to the pursuit of power”nand who possessed moreover antemperament conducive to public engagementnand activism that the “fuddyduddy”npaleoconservatives lacked alongnwith “imagination.” The glory years ofnneoconservatism, which were the laten70’s, culminated in the election ofnRonald Reagan (“among the first neoconservatives”)nto the presidency, butnthe movement went into decline almostnimmediately afterward, as the academicallynminded neos (apparently fuddyduddynand unimaginative in their ownnright) lost out at the White House tonBetsy Bloomingdale and Oscar de lanRenta. Meanwhile, the paleos—borednalready by the noble art of politics—nwere taking their cue from the greatnneoconservative statesman. Dr. WilliamnBennett, and retiring in droves back ton. their vines and fig trees after having declarednthe counterrevolution victorious.nUnfortunately, however, the neos andnpaleos had failed together to create an”political culture” analogous to that fabricatednby the New Dealers, which succeedednin preserving the leftist mainstreamnculture throughout a successionnof Republican administrations. The resultnof this failure is what Tyrrell meansnby “the conservative crack-up,” which henbelieves is “not likely to end until thenLiberals’ political libido is brought tonconservatism.” And how might that benaccomplished? Tyrrell’s answer is thatnGeorge Bush, though “a politician builtnin conformity with Oakeshott’s formulae,”nis still not the bogey for the liberalsnthat Reagan was: therefore, the prospectnfor reconciliation exists. “Let the Liberalsntake the path once trod by the neoconservatives”—throughnthe pages ofnThe American Spectator, I suppose.nPerhaps because he confesses to havingngiven American culture shortnshrift in his years as a magazine editor,nTyrrell pays the subject extended attentionnin his book. “There is somethingnsickly,” he says, “about American socialnand cultural life—^l^oth are shapeless andnclose to meaningless.” One cause of thensickness is the left-liberal cultural hegemonynhe calls the Kukursmog; the othernis the philistinism of American conservatives,nthe majority of them self-madenbusinessmen whose favorite author isnnot T. S. Eliot but Ayn Rand. Intellectualsnand artists are a minority withinnconservatism, as they are not within liberalism;nthat minority, furthermore, isnsusceptible to antipolitical and defeatistnideas. The activists have no culture,nwhile the cultured have no activism.nThe result is the lack in America of “anconservative counter-culture” that permitsnthe radical pseudoculture to reignnunchallenged, while stunting the developmentnof conservative politics which isnforced to grow from shallow and undernourishednsoil. The conservatives, Tyrrellncomplains, fail to recognize “the im­nnnportance of ideas and art to politics,”nwhile the liberals have always understoodnhow to exploit the connection.nIn the context of Tyrrell’s criticism, Infind it interesting to recall certainnremarks published by his mentor, IrvingnKristol, in a recent number of NationalnReview (16 March I992).”Pat Buchanan,”nMr. Kristol wrote,nis not a conservative, he is anreactionary. Now, I am fond ofncultural reactionaries, because thenreactionary impulse can be so creativenand fruitful in its cultural dimensions.nAfter all, the threengreatest poets in the English Ian-,nguage in this century—W. B.nYeats, T. S. Eliot, and PhilipnLarkin—have been reactionaries.nSo have been some of our finestnnovelists {e.g., Evelyn Waugh).nBut in a dynamic, capitalist society,nbeing a political reactionary isna ticket to oblivion. We have seennthis happen with some of ournSouthern novelists, poets, andncritics—among our finest—whontried, back in the I920’s, to translatenliterary nostalgia into a sort ofnpseudo-agrarian social program.nThis was, and remains, little morenthan a cultural oddity. Similarly,nPope Pius IX’s Syllabus of Errorsnought to be studied by all liberals,nwho would benefit from the challengento their basic beliefs. Butnpolitical conservatives who take itntoo seriously are doomed to irrelevance.n. . . [T]he basic thrust ofn[the paleoconservatives] is, in anprofound sense, radical and antipolitical.nAs I understand this passage, Kristol isnadvocating a “wall of separation” betweennthe cultural and the political lifenof the nation. Curiously, he seems notnto understand that yoking pragmaticnneoconservative politics with what hencalls “reactionary” and Tyrrell “fuddyduddy”nideas is the prescription for anmovement of schizophrenics—not of realistsnand activists. Honest and courageousnmen, who take their own ideasnand those of other people seriously, donnot (because they cannot) acknowledgenthe truth of these ideas to be only relativelynor selectively applicable among thenvarious activities of mankind. You cannot,nif you have the intellect and integritynof Eliot, be an elitist in art, a so-nAUCUST 1992/29n