^ ^ T n the government of Virginia,” said John Randolph innX 1830, “we can’t take a step without breaking our shinsnover some Federal obstacle.” Randolph’s metaphor was anminor exaggeration 160 years ago; today, it would be a grossnunderstatement, because today that federal obstacle hasnbeen erected so high, so deep, so strong, that we can scarcelyntake a step of any kind. This same federal governmentnstipulates how we shall rear our children, how we maynconduct our business, whom we may choose or refuse as ourncompanions. The whole of our private and social lives arenhemmed in by various decrees, restrictions, and codes —nand not just by the national government. State and localnjurisdictions, with what little driblets of power they have left,nare just as eager to invade our homes, to tell us what we cannsmoke, drink, and say.nRandolph himself made a similar complaint in the matternof a billiard table that some members of Congress thoughtnan evil. “In Virginia,” he said, “we are and I trust shall evernbe alive to States rights. But have the people no rights asnagainst the Assembly? All oppression commences undernspecious pretexts. I have wondered that no rural, or rathernrustic, Hampden has been found to withstand the pettyntyranny which has as good a right to take away his wife’snlooking-glass or frying pan as his billiard table. By whatnauthority is this thing done? Under color of law, I know, butna law in the teeth of all principles of free government.”nRandolph was a lover of liberty, an Old Republican whoncherished minimal government and distrusted all forms ofntyranny including that tyranny of a majority manipulated byn10/CHRONICLESnPERSPECTIVEnThe New Fusionismnby Thomas Flemingnnna minority that we call democracy. He was almost entirelynwithout cant. Freeing his own slaves, he nonetheless ridiculednthe political doctrine of equality as subversive of allnliberty. “Sir,” he once observed, “I am an aristocrat: I lovenliberty. I hate equality.” This aristocrat was also a radicalnJefFersonian who opposed every move to increase the sizenand scope of government, while at the same time resistingnattempts to take away voting rights from smaller free-holdersnin Virginia.nRandolph once occupied an honorable place in thenpantheon of American conservatism. He and the other OldnRepublicans had so profoundly influenced the course ofnSouthern political thought that Henry Adams selectednhim — in addition to Captain John Smith and ThomasnJefferson — as one of the pernicious Virginians who neededndebunking. Russell Kirk’s M.A. thesis, Randolph of Roanoke,nhelped to launch Dr. Kirk’s career as the mostnauthentic voice of traditionalist American conservativenthought, and this book—imbued with the sentiments ofnBurke and the traditions of prescriptive right — has beennkept in print by the Liberty Fund, an organization whosenvery name declares its sympathies.nRandolph and Calhoun were once studied by conservativesnwho also respected Herbert Spenser and LysandornSpooner, Henry Adams and Irving Babbitt, Friedrich Hayeknand Ludwig von Mises. It is instructive, occasionally, tonspend a morning reading early issues of the l^ew IndividualistnReview. There you will find Milton Friedman almostncheek by jowl with Richard Weaver, a firey interchangen