David Hume, and the 18di-century juristrnand depicter of Osnabruck communalrnlife Justus Moser, together with neoconservativerncelebrities Edward Banfield,rnIrving Kristol, and Peter Berger. If thisrnseems like forced association, it does testifyrnto the search by some American conservativesrnfor a convenient, but not quiternauthentic, past. A look at the real past, asrnMuller must know, would reveal the seachangernundergone bv American conservatismrnsince mid-century, from an antiwelfarernstate and isolationist persuasionrnto a globalist cause committed to whatrnthe Wall Street Journal now calls “welfare-rnstate capitalism.”rnThe neoconservativc guardians of thisrncreed do not hide their feelings regardingrnwhat it is they have replaced: every severalrnnronths. Commentary runs a pointedrnpiece attacking the anti-New Deal andrneven the postwar right as a source andrnconduit of nativist bigotry. It is difficultrnfor those who are esscntiallv Cold Warrnliberals to create a “rightist” genealogyrnfor themselves with which they can feelrnat home. One might wonder whetherrnthis group—with which Kduller stronglyrnidentifies—would wish to be linked,rnhowever distantly, to Catholic restorationists,rnor to appear in the same antholog-rnwith the hated Carl Schmitt. Mullerrndoes keep his book free of references tornthe postwar right and to its latter-day paleornrepresentatives. But if the anthologyrnignores such obvious figures as RussellrnKirk and T.S. Eliot, Muller does inflictrnon his friends the far more reactionaryrncompany of dead Europeans.rnA more worthwhile survey of conservativernthinkers and thought is a lexiconrnorganized by the Bavarian noblemanrnand publisher of Criticon, Caspar vonrnSchrenck-Notzing. The lexicon avoidsrnthe anachronism of throwing togetherrnantimodernists with hypermodernrndemocratic capitalists. Schrenck-Notzingrnplainly does not share Muller’s confidencernthat “the historical utilitarianismrnat the heart of conservatism” permitsrnconservatives to scuttle what has sunk intorn”political irrelevance.” The traditionalrnright, for Schrenck-Notzing, embracesrnprimarily critics of the French Revolutionrnand defenders of agrarian, hierarchicalrnsocieties and established churches.rnWhile this right can be seen as stretchingrnfar enough into the 19th century torntake in middle-class enemies of socialrnleveling, Schrenck-Notzing nonethelessrndistinguishes between liberal oppositionrnto democratizing forces and an older.rnpresumably purer, right.rnHe would also have methodologicalrnreservations about Muller’s statementrnthat “by the late 19th century conservativesrnhad turned to a defense of elitesrnbased upon achievement and performance.”rnFrom a 19th-century perspective,rnthe elites in question were not conservativernbut liberal. Schrenck-Notzing’srnwork also contains far fewer entries forrnthe United States than for Western andrnCentral Europe, and its survey of Americanrnconservatism since the 50’s raises thernconceptual problem of whether the phenomenonrnbeing examined is conservativernin any historical sense.rnDisciples of Russell Kirk, mostlyrnCatholic traditionalists, have definedrnconservatism as a defense of “transcendentalrnvalues.” These values arernthought to be embodied in, among others,rnAnglo-American exemplars of politicalrnand moral virtues; in The ConservativernMind (1953), Kirk provides a surveyrnof conservative figures deserving emulation,rnfrom Edmund Burke to T.S. Eliot.rnWhile Kirk does not insist that Anglo-rnAmerican history and culture have consistentlyrnyielded “conservative minds,”rnbehind his rhetoric is a perfectly defensiblernargument: that, contrary to a oncedominantrnview that “liberalism is thernonly American tradition,” there is inrnAmerican life a strong conservative traditionrncarried over from Europe. Despiternthe fact that what he associates with thisrntradition is often a conservative variantrnon Victorian liberalism, as typified byrnFitzjames Stephen, Kirk is right aboutrnthe resistance to democratic equalityrnmounted by theorists on both sides ofrnthe Atlantic. He also points to the practicernamong early American jurists andrnpoliticians of making extended referencesrnto the Bible, William Blackstone,rnand Greek and Roman classics. Thernworid in which these men lived was partrnof a chain extending back to “Athens,rnJerusalem, and Rome”: this is the teachingrnthat Kirk hoped to illustrate whenrnhe wrote The Roots of American Order,rnintended as a high school text andrnnow translated for the first time intornItalian.rnBecause Kirk distrusted abstract reasoningrnand equated conservative sentimentrnwith intuition and homespunrntruth, it is hard to trace to him directlyrnthe preoccupation with values typical ofrnhis followers. One link was Kirk’s midlifernconversion to Catholicism, which facilitatedrnhis identification with the CatholicrnNatural Law tradition. Though Kirk didrnnot offer demonstrations of that traditionrnin his work, he did praise Thomisticrnmoral reasoning as a way of learningrnabout the good. It is, however, still arnstretch from there to the habitual valuesrntalk of his disciples—particularly in viewrnof Kirk’s dismissal of values as a newfangled,rnindividualist notion. Moreover, arncynic might ask whether the invocationrnb- Kirkians of timeless values and “permanentrnthings” (a phrase borrowed fromrnEliot) begs the question of what exactlyrnall of them share as beliefs. Despite thisrnrepetition of certain vague terms. Kirk’srndisciples have displayed considerable humanisticrnlearning and critical energy.rnAmong their intellectual contributionsrnhave been the literary criticism of ModernrnAge’s editor George Panichas, thernaesthetic and political studies of Swedishrnphilosopher Claes Ryu, Bruce Frohnen’srnincisive critique of the moral emptinessrnof the American right {Virtue and thernPromise of American Conservatism), PeterrnJ. Stanlis’s works on Edmund Burkernand Natural Law, and Marco Respinti’srnelegant translation of, and introductionrnto. Kirk’s Roots. Among scholars whornhave acknowledged conceptual debts to,rnand expressed personal affection for, Kirkrnhave been sociologist Robert Nisbet, historiansrnChristopher Lasch and EugenernGenovese, and anthropologist GracernGoodell.rnDespite this well-deserved chorus ofrnenthusiasts, Kirk’s traditionalism, Greekrnhistorian Panajotis Kondylis observes,rnsuffered from the lack of a continuingrncontext. Kirk himself, preferring tornimagine the opposite, once comparedrnPresident Eisenhower to Count Metternichrnand himself to Metternich’s advisorrnFriedrich Gentz. During the Reaganrnyears he again sounded restorationistrnthemes, to no avail. Conservatives of thern80’s, grouped in think tanks near CapitolrnHill, were turning out not Burkean oratoryrnbut “policies” and GOP electoralrnstrategies. Interest in cultural and aestheticrnquestions had diminished on thernauthorized right—while, if necessary,rnsuch questions could be addressed inrnone of the multitude of glossy neoconservativcrnmagazines which graced newsstandsrninside the Beltway. Of the 30 millionrnor more dollars annually earmarkedrnfor “conservative” foundations, almostrnall of it is now spent on ephemeral policyrnissues.rnIn his book Konservativismus (1987),rnNOVEMBER 1997/29rnrnrn