Woolly Conservatismrnby William Murchisonrn’A Conservative is only a Tory who is ashamed of himself.”rn—J. Hookham FrerernThe Paleoconservatives:rnNew Voices of the Old RightrnEdited by Joseph ScotchiernNew Brunswick, N/:rnTransaction Publishers;rn212 pp., $29.95rnPlans to shuck the Tory Party’s sacredrnname rattled the young DisraeH,rnwho remarked that the replacementrnname, Conservative, sounded to him likern”the invention of some pastry chef” Similarly,rnpaleoconservatism conjures uprnthe image —in my mind, anyway—ofrnweight-lifter types in animal skins, flingingrnspears at woolly mammoths: VictorrnMature meets Murray Rothbard. Thernpaleoconservative movement might bernadvised one of these days to scratchrnaround for a more compelling namernthan the one meant originally to distinguishrnits adherents from the neocons.rnThis is assuming such a movement actuallyrnmeans to move, and that it has arnparticular direction in mind. The impressionrnthat comes across from JosephrnScotchie’s collection of essays by paleoconrnthinkers is of a formidable —mammothrnwould not be so bad a word—beastrninclined to the stationary position, an animalrnwhose brainpower merits more respectrnthan its legs or hunk.rnWhat I see in these essays (five ofrnWilUam Murchison is a nationallyrnsyndicated columnist for the DallasrnMorning News.rnwhich appeared originally in Chronicles),rnin other words, is intelligent, pointed dissentrnfrom things as they are in a UnitedrnStates forgetful of its glorious heritage,rnmore truly wedded to gold than God.rnWhat I do not see, at the same time, is arnplan for doing much to rectif)’ flie situation.rnLet that go. Anybody can draw up battlernplans: Witness the army of politicalrntacticians who fatten their stock portfoliosrnat the expense of the major parties; adroitrnat showing how to carry states andrnprecincts, clueless when it comes torndefining what kind of countr)- this shouldrnbe.rnThe great, the consuming, virtue ofrnThe Paleoconservatives is the meticulousrnattention its contributors pay to how wernshould live and what we should believe:rnwhat ideas we should —gulp —offer torndie for. Not a few of these essays are exhilarating.rnAll are challenging. Bravo,rnScotchie, I would say. Bravo, the wellplaced,rnliterate concern for intelligencernand dignit}’ and honor and freedom.rnI hope my spear-flinging brethren willrnnot turn on me if I suggest that the paleoconservativerncritique is more importantrnthan the paleoconservative program—tornthe extent anyone would adduce the existencernof a program. I do not think, justrnfor instance, that the United States is goingrnto accept Frank Chodorov’s reprintedrncounsel that taxation is robbery. Chodorjrnov, to know the true meaning of robbery,rn^ thou shouldst be living at this hour! hi arnI hundred Texas school districts, the staterntakes locally raised tax monies and distributesrnthem to districts of lesser “propcrfyrnwealth.” Yet, with the whole Americanrnpolihcal system resting on government’srnpower to act in just such ways, the tax .systemrnis not going to be reformed. A reformrnas innocent as the flat tax has virtuallyrnno chance of enactment.rnStill, Chodorov’s critique of taxation,rnwith its echoes of old Bastiat, makes therngray cells dance. An America free to contemplaternthe possibilit}’ that governmentrnplunders us cannot be a lost cause.rnSo with Chilton Williamson, Jr.’s astuterncomments on multiculturalism andrnimmigration (“Promises to Keep”),rnwherein it is brashly asserted that “therernno longer is a United States in an’ savernthe legalistic sense.” The people spigot,rnopened wide during Lyndon Johnson’srnregime, is not going to be turned off anyrntime soon. I said “soon.” We live in thernmost migratory’ moment since Rome fell.rn(A mitigating point: Some of these newrnfold —I speak from experience —are finern30/CHRONICLESrnrnrn