Conspiracies Against the Nationn(continued from page 11)nand call for the dismantlement of entitlement programs,nsome of them seem perfectly willing to push their ownnagenda at the Federal level. Some think the governmentnshould provide a nondenominational school prayer. Othersnwant an anti-gun-control amendment. Still others want tonuse the NEH or Department of Education to supportnconservative ideology. Writing recently in the Wall StreetnJournal, Martin Morse Wooster quite rightly ridicules NEHngrants to promote conservative ideology. Many of thenprograms receiving support are estimable in themselves, butnhumanities money which could be supporting scholarshipnis now being diverted to 900-word editorials.nPart of this new-found enthusiasm for benevolent despotismnis understandable as the predictable response of annoutsider who finds himself a member of the club. Washingtonnis swarming with conservative groupies on the make, allneager to prove Stanton Evans’ law of politics: whenever onenof our people gets in power, he becomes one of theirnpeople. But there is a nastier side to this: self-serving greed isnone of those human weaknesses conservatives are supposednto understand and take precautions against, but a passion fornideology is more dangerous.nIn what sense are conservatives becoming ideological?nThe moral absolutism of some right-to-life extremists isnonly one example. Another more pervasive ideologicalnstand can be traced to fusionism itself: the idealization of bignbusiness. Once again, the defense of free market capitalismnwas forced upon us by Marxists and social democrats, butnwhile most Americans endorse the common sense of CalvinnCoolidge (“the business of America is business”), thenfanaticism of libertarians is another. It has had disastrousnconsequences for environmental politics. In the past 10nyears, the stock response to air and water pollution from thenright has been: (1) there is no problem; and (2) governmentncaused it; but (3) it is the necessary price we pay forneconomic growth; besides (4) in a democratic society, therenare trade-offs—more jobs/more smog—and we are free tonchoose the ratios.nThese arguments are essentially correct. Pollution levelsnare hysterically overestimated by the left; government wasnthe villain at Love Canal; free market solutions do worknbetter than government regulations. But toxic wastesn—chemical or nuclear—are not a laughing matter for thenvictims whose freedom to choose is more than a littienimpaired by leukemia and stomach cancer. There is anstrange reluctance to admit that any businessman can everndo wrong or that the hazards of environmental pollution arenmore serious than the stink of SO2 from a paper mill.nOn some issues, the blanket support for business interestsnputs conservatives against the conservative instincts of mostnAmericans. Many people are concerned about the rate ofnillegal immigration from Latin America—what it will do tonour sense of unity, our culture, and our language. It is easynto understand why the left opposes stricter controls—-nanything to destroy the common enemy of mankind, thenU.S. But not a few conservatives are discovering how ournculture is being enriched by the newcomers. “Enriched” isnthe operative word, since the principal concern is for thensteady supply of illegals willing to work for less thannminimum wage. Such cynicism is too much for thenbusinessmen, even in the Southwest, who have mounted anprincipled opposition to the sanctuary movement and are innfavor of regaining control of our southern border. Thenproblem is, therefore, not so much pursuit of self-interest asna blind commitment to the bottom line as something goodnin itselfnThe sad truth is that some conservatives are only antileftists,ntheir agenda nothing more than a contrarian strategy.nWhatever the left has done, conservatives want to undo andnare willing to use any means at their disposal. They havenstared too long at the face on the other side of the glass andnhave come to see themselves as a reverse reflection. In ThenLord of the Rings, the High Steward Denethor possesses ancrystal that allows him to observe the plans of the enemy.nBut the enemy has a stronger mind and will and allows himnto see so much of his strength that it unhinges Denethor’snmind. It is possible for conservatives to make the samenmistake. By seizing power and using the vast bureaucracynfor “good,” they will be—to use another illustration fromnTolkien—using the great ring of power to defeat its master,nbut in the end becoming the servants, not the lord, of thenring.nWhen Satan tempted Christ, his best offer was power:nThe devil taketh him up into an exceeding highnmountain, and showeth him all the Kingdoms ofnthe world and the glory of them; And saith untonhim. All these things will I give thee, if thou willnfall down and worship me.nWe cannot understand from the gospels that Christ wasntempted by power itself, but by the opportunity to dongood—as Milton depicted the scene in Paradise Regained.nThe only drawback was the price we have to pay fornpursuing power. It is possibly too much to ask of a politiciannto answer, “Get thee hence, Satan.”nThe most courageous act conservatives can perform willnbe to begin dismantiing the power of government, depoliticizenAmerica, cast away the “ring” into the cracks of doom.nSince the days of Hoover, we have suffered at the hands ofnboy wonders, whiz kids, and brain trusts—all of them withnbright ideas of how to reconstruct a new America. Some ofntheir ideas, we are probably stuck with for a while: attemptsnto obliterate Social Security entirely or dismantle all of thenwelfare state will probably serve only to polarize the nation.nThe great success of American politics has been thenrefusal to take most questions to the extreme. We havennever had a successful conservative party or a major radicalnparty, either. Instinctively, our politicians seem to realizenthat the game they are playing is a little like checkers ornchess: Control the center of the board and you winneverything; run to the edge or the corners, and you maynsurvive for a while, but eventually even a weaker opponentnwill trap and destroy you. The conservative role must be tonunite us—not around a rightist ideology, but around thencommon principles on which we can agree.nOne such principle is our historic commitment to “thengovernment that governs least.” Most Americans still seemnto feel the government spends too much and interferes toonmuch with private life. If conservatives are going to providennnAPRIL 198B/25n