Beyond ConservatismrnThe Resistance Takes Shapernby Samuel FrancisrnPaleoconsen’atism” is an awkward word, but then what itrnpurports to describe is an awkward thing. The word inrnthe EngHsh language that it most resembles is “paleontolog}” —rnthe scientific study of fossils—and a fossil is precisely what mostrnof the enemies of paleoconser’atism accuse it of being. Coinedrnin 1986 or ’87, the word was originally supposed to characterizernan intellectual and political movement that conhnued whatrnGeorge Nash called the “conservative intellectual movement”rnafter World War II, and to distinguish it from the newer ueoconservatisni.rnAs the fissure between neoconservatism andrnwhat Paul Gottfried called the “Second Generation’ of thern”Old Right” widened, however, it soon became evident that thernlatter was not quite the same thing as the school of writers gatheredrnaround National Review and its sister inshtuHons in thernI950’s and 1960’s. Nor were its exponents exactly specimens ofrnthe “New Righf of the 1970’s and 80’s. “Paleoconservafism”rneventually developed into a distinctive movement with an identityrnof its own, quite different from postwar intellectual conservatism,rnneoconservatism, libcrtarianism, New Rightism, andrnother schools of the American right.rnThere is not much question that paleoconservatism is dis-rnHnct from most of these other idenhdes of the right, but therernremains a good deal of confusion regarding it and the “traditionalist”rnwing of the postwar “conservahve intellectual movement.”rnThat is enhrely understandable, since paleoconservatismrnhas been deeply influenced by the thought of that generation,rnespecially by James Burnham and Richard Weaver,rnand in its beginnings was supported by two major adherents ofrnthe postwar traditionalist right, the late M.E. Bradford and thernSamuel Francis is a nationally syndicated columnist and editorrnof the Samuel Francis Letter, a monthly newsletter.rnlate Russell Kirk. But while there remain many beliefs andrnthemes common to both contemporary paleoconservatism andrnpostwar traditionalism, there are important differences as well,rnand these are not due merely to the emergence of different polifiealrnand eidtural issues today in place of those with which therntraditionalists were confronted. Differences in issues—and inrnenemies—have forced a subtle yet far-reaching metamorphosisrnof paleoconservatism in some of its basic assuiuptions and attitudes,rnto the point that the very word “conservatism,” let alonernthe combining form “paleo,” is probably no longer an accuraternor useful label.rnThis fall, when the quadrennial demonization campaignrnagainst Patrick J. Buchanan was again cranked up as he discussedrnhis break with the Republican Party and as his new book,rnA Republic, Not an Empire, was published, a host of neoconservativesrnbegan saying that Buchanan no longer belonged in thernG(^P at all or even in the ranks of “movement conservatism.”rnThev were largely right, but for the wrong reasons. Buchananrnremains far closer to the mainstream conservatism that prevailedrnfrom the 1950’s through the 1970’s than any figure nowrnassociated with “movement conservafism,” and, as paleos know,rnit is difficult to find very many fundamental ideas of the contemporar)-rnconservative luovement with which they are in sympathy.rnIronically, Buchanan’s expulsion from “Conservatism,rnInc.,” was due to his very adherence to something close to thernmore authentic conservafism of the 1950’s that the contemporan,’rn”right” has abandoned. But his decision to leave the GOPrnand the “conservative movement” as it currently defines itselfrnwas also due to their defection from the premises and fundamentalrnideas that shaped the right with which Buchanan continuesrnto idenfify. Buchanan’s separation from the contemporarvrnmovement, whatever its immediate or long-term polificalrn20/CHRONICLESrnrnrn