Democratic National Convention inrn1896.)rnIncidentally, my liberal Republicanrnfriend from college has become arnstaunch conservative. To paraphrase thernlament of Goldwater voters four decadesrnago, those 27 million Americans turnedrnout not to be wrong after all.rnAlan Miller is an editorial writer for thernSan Diego Union-Tribune.rnThe Lionrnand the Foxrnhy J.O. TaternJames Burnhamrnby Samuel FrancisrniMndon: Claridge Press;rn164pp.,$M.95rnT his second edition of Samuel Francis’srnmonograph on the politicalrnthought of James Burnham (1904-1987)rnis a fascinating exposition of a remarkablernbody of work. Francis focuses on thernthought and not the man, on the booksrnand columns —especially those printedrnin National Review —produced duringrnBurnham’s most intereshng period as arnwriter, which extended from his breakrnwith Marxism in 1940 to the end of hisrncareer in 1978. Francis’s work on Burnhamrnhas three major levels of appeal,rneach in itself of compelling interest.rnThe first of these is the ostensible one.rnJames Burnham’s most important books —rnprobabh’ The Managerial Revolution andrnThe Machiavellians—and his later articulationrnof the challenge of communismrnand its inherently tyrannical nature, asrnwell as various of the positions he advocatedrnin the 1940’s and 50’s and those herntook in National Review in the last 23rnyears of his career, challenged mostrnmembers of the conservative movementrnin those decades, and still do today.rnBurnham did not write in the traditionalrnlanguage of Anglo-American politicalrntheory and reference. He was not arnBurkean like Russell Kirk, nor a Straussian,rnnor a Catholic (until his conversionrnlate in life), nor an exhausted liberal, norrna libertarian, nor a capitalist, nor a neoconservative.rnhi fact, as an academic ofrnaesthetic and philosophical sophisticationrn(and a former Trotskyite), Burnhamrnhad, by 1940, been around the block inrnways that are hard for the ordinary conservativernto credit. But his experience —rnincluding even, or perhaps I should sayrnespecially, his Marxism —turned out tornhave been an invaluable one, freeingrnhim to pursue a logic and a language hernmade his own. Fie so impressed CeorgernOrwell that 1984 must be read as a responsernto Burnham, as well as to the 20thrncentury.rnThe book’s second claim to our attentionrnlies in Francis’s account of the Italianrntradition of historical and socialrnanalysis, which is as striking today, perhaps,rnas when Burnham described thatrntradition himself Machiavelli showedrnthe way toward an amoral insight intornpolitics and the realihes of power. GaetanornMosca’s “ruling class” and “politicalrnformula,” Vilfredo Pareto’s “elite” andrn”derivations” and “residues,” and RobertrnMichels’ “oligarchy” constructed a platformrnfrom which Burnham, surveyingrnthe revolutionary and violent 20th century,rncould assess the realities, not the professedrnideals, of politics and power, in arnlanguage no one else employed. Escapingrnas quickly from the illusions of ideologyrnas from the language of the liberalrntradition, Burnham found himself free tornpursue his account of the realities of powerrnand the failures of both modern conservatismrnand liberalism to come to termsrnwith those realities.rn(I have long thought that Michels’rn”Iron Law of Oligarchy” is a prescriptionrnfor despair. Evidently Michels —a socialrndemocrat who studied with Max Weberrnbefore World War I and eventually becamerna Fascist in Italy in the 1930’s, apparentlyrnliving out the logical consequencesrnof his theory—thought so, too.rnIf all organizations are oligarchical, thenrnno social endeavors can be fruitful, sincernthey must necessarily be twisted fromrntheir ostensible purposes to serve the interestsrnof the elites who control them.rnThe ex-social democrat went where thernpower was, since the Italian Fascists werernrelatively honest about their own naturern—such was the self-justifying conclusionrnof this former left-winger. Michels’rnchastening storv is not one that Francisrnhas addressed —or Burnham either, as farrnas I know—but it is significant in the pastrncentury of political extremity and philosophicalrnself-destruction. Burnham, ofrncourse, was a significant anti-type of thatrnkind.)rnThe third appeal of Samuel Francis’srnstudy of Burnham is that it is, in part, arnbook not only by Francis, but about Francis.rnThere can be little doubt concerningrnthe influence Burnham exerted on Francis’srnmind as he studied this master. Andrnthere can be little doubt either that, justrnas Burnham in his time was a unique figurernin the world of political discourse andrnanalysis, so today there is nothing to comparernwith the political X-rays that SamuelrnFrancis routinely directs upon the currentrnsocial and political scene. Francis’srnown application of the Machiavellian traditionrnis apparent in Beautifid Losers asrnwell as in his cohmms in Chronicles.rnAnd I don’t hesitate to add that, if JamesrnBurnham does not have quite the stylisticrnflash we have come to expect from SamrnFrancis, then neither did James Burnhamrnpossess the sheer writerly abilityrnwith which Samuel Francis enhancesrnmordant insights drawn and individuallyrndeveloped from the line of thinkersrnwhom he has so lucidly comprehendedrnand expounded.rn].0. Tate is a prof essor of English atrnDowling College on Long Island.rnThe Last AristoteHanrnby Paul GottfriedrnRobert Nisbet:rnCommunitarian Traditionalistrnby Brad Lowell StonernWilmington: ISI Books;rn109 pp., $19.95rnThis compact and thoughtful biographyrnby the director of AmericanrnStudies at Oglethorpe Urnversity underscoresrna recurrent problem affectingrnthe reputations of conservative socialrnthinkers. Even those who once enjoyedrnwell-deserved celebrity cease to be widelyrnstudied after they are gone. Save for tiierninterest of devoted disciples with quiternlimited media access, the contemporaryrnthinkers I grew up admiring have not succeededrnin attracting the attention of a later,rnmore self-satisfied generation. By providingrna highly readable intellectualrnbiography of a brilliant social theoristrnwho expressed politically unfashionablernopinions. Brad Lowell Stone does forrnAUGUST 2001/25rnrnrn