Category: Remembering the Right

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Remembering Robert A. Taft
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Remembering Robert A. Taft

In a dynamic time of U.S. history, Robert A. Taft was a deeply principled politician, courageously speaking out against FDR's New Deal, U.S. involvement in WWII, the Nuremberg Trials, and the formation of NATO.

Remembering Walter E. Williams
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Remembering Walter E. Williams

Addressing a Boston anti-slavery audience in 1865, abolitionist Frederick Douglass asked, “What shall we do with the Negro?” The answer he provided was a favorite of the conservative economist Walter E. Williams, though if Douglass were to utter it today he would probably be condemned by Black Lives Matter and deplatformed from social media:  ...

Remembering George Santayana
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Remembering George Santayana

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” It would not surprise George Santayana (1863-1952) that his most famous aphorism is all he is remembered for, nor that it has become almost a cliché, nor that the Americans, whom he knew so well, would consider that they had heeded his lesson by...

Remembering Kingsley Amis
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Remembering Kingsley Amis

Queen Victoria’s corpse had hardly cooled before modernism in the United Kingdom rebelled against Victorian styles, attitudes, and mores.   The ideas of arguably the four most important thinkers of the modern era—Darwin, Nietzsche, Marx, and Freud—were written during Queen Victoria’s lifetime but only gained influence after her death. So too did the literary high...

Remembering Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn
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Remembering Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn

When Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn wrote his 1974 book Leftism: From de Sade and Marx to Hitler and Marcuse, he dedicated it to “the Noble Memory of Armand Tuffin, Marquis de la Rouërie.” Tuffin was a French aristocrat born in 1751, and one of the first Europeans to come to the aid of the American colonies—even...

Remembering John C. Calhoun
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Remembering John C. Calhoun

Though John C. Calhoun was a distinguished American statesman and thinker, he is little appreciated in his own country. Calhoun rose to prominence on the eve of the War of 1812 as a “war hawk” in the House of Representatives and was the Hercules who labored untiringly in the war effort. While still a congressman,...

Remembering Donald Davidson
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Remembering Donald Davidson

Lewis P. Simpson, in his memorable preface to The Literary Correspondence of Donald Davidson and Allen Tate, evoked Thomas Carlyle’s description of Robert Burns to hail Davidson’s own achievement. Burns, wrote Carlyle, was a “piece of right Saxon stuff: strong as the Harz-rock, rooted in the depths of the world;—rock, yet with wells of living...

Remembering Eric Voegelin: Anti-Gnostic Warrior
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Remembering Eric Voegelin: Anti-Gnostic Warrior

That political ideology and activism have become a new religion is something the average individual sees signs of nearly every day. A black man is killed in an altercation with police and his face instantly becomes an icon to be carried in protests, his name a phrase to be repeated with adoration. A slogan such...

Remembering Andrew Nelson Lytle: Agrarian Prophet
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Remembering Andrew Nelson Lytle: Agrarian Prophet

In the early 1990s it was my good fortune to make a pilgrimage to meet Andrew Lytle on the occasion of the publication of his last book, Kristin (1992). A book-signing had been arranged by the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee, where Lytle taught for many years and edited the illustrious Sewanee Review....

Remembering Allen Tate: Radical Conservative
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Remembering Allen Tate: Radical Conservative

A French woman who met the American poet Allen Tate (1899-1979) in the 1930s remarked, “Monsieur Tate is so conservative that he’s almost radical.” Etymologically, “radical” fits Tate well; his conservatism entailed returning, in the face of destructive social practices, to fundamental truths and the established customs embodying them, many immemorial. He espoused the primacy...

Remembering Leo Strauss
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Remembering Leo Strauss

The political theorist Leo Strauss (1899-1973) is perhaps an unlikely subject for Chronicles’ “Remembering the Right” series. Although no one can deny the extensive influence of his ideas on the conservative (and later, neoconservative) movement in America during the Cold War and beyond, Strauss usually gave the impression that he was not a conservative in...

Remembering G. K. Chesterton
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Remembering G. K. Chesterton

Fashions do not feed us, they only ensnare us. They do not satisfy us, they only contribute to our ongoing dissatisfaction with the fleetingness of everything. But they always seem more appealing and urgent than what really matters and what will remain after the fashions have fled. English writer Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) was once...

Remembering Booker T. Washington
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Remembering Booker T. Washington

When Booker T. Washington delivered his “Atlanta Compromise” speech in 1895 at the Cotton States and International Exposition, nearly 15 years after the founding of the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, the effect was galvanizing. Frederick Douglass, until then the most prominent black American leader, had been in his grave only six months. Washington, now ascendant,...

Remembering Russell Kirk
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Remembering Russell Kirk

Historians of the American right agree that Russell Kirk (1918-1994) was one of the key figures in the birth of the postwar conservative movement. Indeed, Kirk more than anyone was responsible for reintroducing the term “conservative” into American political conversation after its long domination by various strands of liberalism. The centenary of his birth in 2018...

Remembering Learned Hand
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Remembering Learned Hand

The name Learned Hand may not leap readily off the tongue if one were asked to list the conservative luminaries of the 20th century. Few people today outside the legal profession have any idea just how profound his influence as a jurist was and continues to be more than half a century after his death. His...

Remembering George Grant
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Remembering George Grant

The Unconventional Tory In an age beset by anxiety over the survival of the nation-state and social traditionalism, the Canadian thinker George Parkin Grant (1918-1988) is an indispensable guide to making sense of the modern predicament. Although he contributed to the field of political philosophy, his major works feel more like the stuff of prophecy. In...

Remembering James Burnham
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Remembering James Burnham

The ideological trajectory followed by the first generation of neoconservatives, from their early fascination with Marxism during the Great Depression to their embrace of Cold War anti-communism and subsequent takeover of the Conservative movement, is by now a well-known chapter in American political history. The life and career of James Burnham followed a similar trajectory,...

Remembering the Southern Agrarians
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Remembering the Southern Agrarians

In 1920 a group of writers gathered at the home of playwright Sidney Hirsch in Nashville for bi-weekly sessions of reading and dissecting each other’s prose and poetry. It was the beginning of an outpouring of creativity from a group that would try to defend and restore the traditional Southern way of life against the...

Remembering Whittaker Chambers
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Remembering Whittaker Chambers

At first glance, the personal history of Whittaker Chambers does not suggest a conservative frame of mind. His favorite poet was Walt Whitman, the bard of unshackled emotion and free-verse effusions. The most influential novel in his life was Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables, with its profound pity for the downtrodden. His chosen religion was the...

Remembering William F. Buckley, Jr.
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Remembering William F. Buckley, Jr.

Two years after the death of the man whom one of his biographers, John Judis, dubbed the patron saint of modern conservatism, Encounter Books brought out a splendidly packaged omnibus volume of his columns and essays, entitled Athwart History: Half a Century of Polemics, Animadversions, and Illuminations (2010). On the cover, William Francis Buckley stands...

Remembering Willmoore Kendall
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Remembering Willmoore Kendall

Among the 20th-century conservative movement’s legendary leaders, Willmoore Kendall (1909-1967) stands out as the one who most effectively offered a grounding in a specifically American philosophy. There is also a timeliness in this remarkable political scientist’s thought. Our society has become divided to an extent that Kendall might well have found horrifying—although not surprising. His...

Remembering H. L. Mencken
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Remembering H. L. Mencken

H.L. Mencken (1880-1956) may no longer seem relevant, but that is not his fault. Mencken was a well-read bon vivant with a taste for Teutonic philosophy and a fidelity to what he understood as truth. He was also a brilliant satirist, a longtime writer for the Baltimore Sun, and editor of The American Mercury. His...

Remembering Richard Weaver
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Remembering Richard Weaver

Native Southerner and traditionalist conservative, Richard Weaver (1910-1963) was a unique figure in the rise of the modern American right. Weaver, a longtime professor at the University of Chicago, was an historian, literary critic, and rhetorician who despised the modern trend towards intellectual specialization. As an undergraduate, he embraced socialism after being convinced that the...

Remembering Albert Jay Nock
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Remembering Albert Jay Nock

As a conservative “anarchist” and non-interventionist with anti-vocational views on education, Albert Jay Nock (1870-1945) can seem paradoxical. His influence was lasting and he took unconventional stances on many topics. He viewed conservatism as primarily cultural, anarchism as radical decentralization, education as a non-economic activity, and foreign policy as a noninterventionist endeavor. Raised in Brooklyn...

Remembering Robert Nisbet
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Remembering Robert Nisbet

It is hard to imagine anyone today having a career like Robert Nisbet’s: professor at Berkeley, Arizona, and Columbia; dean and vice-chancellor at the University of California, Riverside; author of widely used sociology textbooks; and co-founder, along with his friend Russell Kirk and a few others, of postwar intellectual American conservatism. Nisbet greatly admired Edmund...

Remembering Eugene Genovese
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Remembering Eugene Genovese

Eugene Genovese was one of the most influential and controversial historians of his generation. Whether Genovese ever self-identified as a conservative remains an intriguing question, without a simple answer. Few people knew him better than I did. In his teens, Genovese, the son of a Brooklyn dockworker, had joined the Communist Party USA. It eventually...