The Lion of IdahornWilliam E. Borah and the Progressivesrnby Justin RaimondornThe latest fad among leftist historians, according to the NewrnYork Times, is the study of the conservative movement.rn”By marrying social and political history,” the Times announced,rn”this new wave of scholarship is revising the history ofrnAmericans on the right”—a prospect that is at once depressingrnand potentially rather promising.rnThe depressing part is that the title of the Times piece, “LeftistrnScholars Look Right At Last, And Find A History,” is the exactrnopposite of the truth. For the sad fact is that, with a vcr’ fewoutstandingrnexceptions, these are the only people who have everrnshown the slightest interest in this subject.rnLeftist interest in the history of the right dates back to thernpost-war fulminations of Theodor Adorno, the Marxist sociologistrnwhose book. The Authoritarian Personahty, “scientifically”rnproved that all opposition to Roosevelt II was not just wrong butrnpathological. This theme was readily taken up by the liberals ofrnthe I950’s. Daniel Bell, in his anthology The Radical Right,rnand Richard Hofstadter, in The Paranoid Style in AmericanrnPolitics, added their own twist to Adorno’s psycho-smear byrncharacterizing rightist dissent as evidence of “status resentment”rnon the part of the hoi polloi against the rising managerialrnclass. During the late 50’s and throughout the 60’s, therntireless team of Arnold Forster and Benjamin Epstein, andrna host of others, churned out dozens of “Fright on the Right”rnbooks, and a genre was born, thick with such lurid titles asrnApostles of Discord, Prophets of Deceit, Danger on the Right,rnThe Troublemakers, The Yahoos, The Strange Tactics of Extremismrn—you get the idea.rnOf the standard works in the field of “conservative studies,”rnfew venture further back than 1945. Clinton Rossiter’s Conservatismrnin America: The Thankless Persuasion does not evenrnJustin Raimondo writes from San Francisco.rnmention the America First Committee, organized by conservativernopponents of FDR’s drive to war and the biggest right-wingrnmovement in American history. George H. Nash’s The ConservativernIntellectual Movement in America Since 1945 is similarlyrnsilent on the subject. The hidden history of the Old Rightrnhas so far beeir recognized by only a handful of historians, notablyrnWayne S. Cole, Justus Doenecke, and Paid Gottfried.rnThe Times finds it “puzzling” that “more conservative scholarsrnthemselves haven’t mined this histor)’.” Yet it is not at allrnpuzzling. John Judis (William F. Buckley, Jr.’s biographer) andrnBill Rusher (in The Rise of the Right) would have us believe thatrnbefore the advent of National Review there was only Darknessrnand Old Night. Constrained by ideology from acknowledgingrnthat the right was once solidly anti-imperialist, the conservativernestablishment and its right-wing social democratic allies arerndeeply invested in maintaining this myth.rnToday’s academic leftists are bound by no such constraints.rnThese youirg scholars are eager, says the Times, to write a “potsrnand pans history” of the American right, “which looks at the everydayrnlives of ordinary people, from young organizers to activistrnhousewives, from religious-minded business entrepreneursrnto isolationists.” Any inquiry into isolationism,rnproperly understood, will break the embargo on research intornthe pre-war right, and uncover its populist and progressive Republicanrnroots. As Cole has shown, particularly in Rooseveltrnand the Isolationists, 1932-45, looking for the roots of the OldrnRight means digging in the rich soil of the populist-progressivernmovement. In doing so, historians will discover how these criticsrnof capitalism, iirdustrialism, and the market evolved into arnpopulist libertarian opposition to the New Deal.rnThe progressive Republicans in Congress were a diverse lotrnwho nonetheless shared a regionalist, ruralist outlook, in contrastrnto the cosmopolitan internationalism of the cities. Theyrn22/CHRONICLESrnrnrn