VIEWSnBeautiful LosersnThe Failure of American Conservatismnby Samuel FrancisnWhen T.S. Eliot said that there are no lost causesnbecause there are no won causes, he probably wasnnot thinking of American conservatism. Nearly sixty yearsnafter the New Deal, the American right is no closer tonchallenging its fundamental premises and machinery thannwhen Old Rubberlegs first started priming the pump andnscheming to take the United States into a war that turnednout to be a social and political revolution. Americannconservatism, in other words, is a failure, and all the thinkntanks, magazines, direct mail barons, inaugural balls, andncampaign buttons cannot disguise or alter that. Virtuallynevery cause to which conservatives have attached themselvesnfor the past three generations has been lost, and the tide ofnpolitical and cultural battle is not likely to turn anytime soon.nNot only has the American right lost on such fundamentalnissues as the fusion of state and economy, the size andnscope of government, the globalist course of Americannforeign policy, the transformation of the Constitution into anmeaningless document that serves the special interests ofnwhatever faction can grab it for a while, and the replacementnof what is generally called “traditional morality” by andominant ethic of instant gratification, but also the mainstreamnof those who today are pleased to call themselvesnconservatives has come to accept at least the premises andnoften the full-blown agenda of the left. The movement thatncame to be known in the 1970’s as “neoconservatism,”nlargely Northeastern, urban, and academic in its orientation,nis now the defining core of the “permissible” right — that is,nwhat a dominant left-liberal cultural and political elitenSamuel Francis is deputy editorial page editor of thenWashington Times.n14/CHRONICLESnnnrecognizes and accepts as the right boundary of publicndiscourse.nIt remains legally possible (barely) to express sentimentsnand ideas that are further to the right, but if an elite enjoysncultural hegemony, as the left does, it has no real reason tonoutlaw its opponents, and indeed encouraging their participationnin the debate fosters the illusion of “pluralism” andnserves to legitimize the main leftward trend of the debate.nThose outside the permissible boundaries of discourse arensimply “derationalized” and ignored — as anti-Semites, racists,nauthoritarians, crackpots, crooks, and other kinds ofnillicit and irrational fringe elements not in harmonic convergencenwith the Zeitgeist and therefore on the wrong side ofnhistory. That is where the de facto alliance of left andnneoconservative right has succeeded in relegating those suchnas journalist Patrick J. Buchanan who dissent from theirncommon core of shared premises and who seriously andnrepeatedly challenge their hegemony.nNeoconservatism today is usually called simply “conservatism,”nthough it is sometimes known under other labels asnwell: Fred Barnes'”Big Government conservatism”; HUDnSecretary Jack Kemp’s “progressive conservatism”; RepresentativenNewt Gingrich’s “opportunity conservatism”; PaulnWeyrich’s “cultural conservatism”; or, most recently, “ThenNew Paradigm,” in the phrase coined by White House aidenJames Pinkerton. Despite the variations among these formulas,nall of them envision a far larger and more active centralnstate than the “Old Republicanism” embraced by mostnconservatives prior to the 1970’s, a state that makes it itsnbusiness to envision a particular arrangement of institutionsnand beliefs and to design governmental machinery to createnthem. In the case of “neoconservatism,” the principal goal isn