A Conservatism of Principle

Anyone comparing the post-World War II conservative movement to its current media successor may note something in the older movement that has vanished from its successor. Despite its often rigid anti-Communist focus, the group that William F. Buckley brought together as editors and contributors to National Review in the 1950s argued incessantly with each other. Some of these disputes went on for years, for example, between Russell Kirk and Frank S. Meyers and between the usually taciturn Kirk and the explosive Willmoore Kendall. The conservative movement also featured a debate with many phases between the Southern conservative M.E. Bradford and the defender of democratic equality and Lincoln’s legacy Harry Jaffa. This last debate went on for so long in National Review and later Modern Age that I could still recall decades later the resounding clashes between these two gladiatorial debaters. Although Jaffa and Bradford agreed on very little philosophically, Jaffa did rise...(Read Full Article)