- At college decision time, conservatives face tough choices
- The Republican Party Abandons Conservatism | Scribd
- Summary: The Rise and Fall of Modern American Conservatism
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At college decision time, conservatives face tough choices
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The Republican Party Abandons Conservatism | Scribd
Farber's claim that conservatism is in disarray therefore bears examination. This put him out of step with many of his business supporters, although he recovered this lost ground through the seminal piece of anti-union legislation, the Taft-Hartley Act, in But even then he remained an outsider in his own party, unable to combine his conservative messsage with a campaign convincing enough to position him as a credible presidential candidate. In , in his final attempt, East coast internationalist Republicans rejected Taft's semi-isolationist rhetoric and went instead for the moderate Dwight D.
Instead, Farber shifts his attention to William Buckley, the suave Yale graduate who took everything Taft had stood for — individual liberty, a pro-business anti-union outlook, a rejection of Civil Rights — and added another ingredient that would be decisive later — Christianity. Religion is an essential element to the careers of several of these conservatives — Buckley and Schlafly were Catholics, while Reagan and Bush would become born-again Protestants — as it gave extra meaning to their cause, as well as a useful basis for arguing against 'godless liberalism', atheistic communism, and their tampering with the natural order of things for most conservatives in this book, liberalism and communism were pretty much the same thing.
But instead of running foroffice, Buckley bequeathed a vital new string to the conservative bow — an understanding of the need to build an intellectual base, give the movement a serious face, and lay the ground for electoral success one idea at a time.
Summary: The Rise and Fall of Modern American Conservatism
Christian morality, clearly, did not go so far as to recognise injustice in one's own backyard. The Federal government had no right to determine what states could legislate, and this belief remained solid, even it meant condoning racism or, better said, never addressing racism directly. The author is also good at linking the outlook of these six individuals with broader tides washing up through US society, and how the two would connect.
Farber chronicles how various religious demagogues and anti-communist ranters plied their trade through the s and s, giving an idea of how they linked, via these seminal figures, with the national political scene. The role of business is a constant active interest group in this narrative, from Taft's original backers in the anti-New Deal American Liberty League through to the Coors-funded Mountain States Legal Foundation that supported Schlafly. The publishing house Henry Regnery Company also makes several appearances as an important conservative platform.
Buckley's most lasting creation, the Young Americans for Freedom, mobilised for Goldwater's presidential bid in , and his National Review benefactor, textile boss Roger Milliken, backed it as well. When Goldwater was pummelled at the polls in , the last hurrah of the New Deal coalition, it was Schlafly who kept the light burning, first in the National Federation of Republican Women and then, in the s, in her remarkable and successful campaign against the Equal Rights Amendment. It was an unnecessary and opportunist slap on the back for white racism, and fortunately Reagan never ventured that low for votes again.
Significantly, it was taxation that turned Reagan to the Right more than anything, with religion and anti-communism only later adding to his particular conservative mix. And by the Christian Right was a formidable electoral force, something that Reagan was able to capitalise on. In the beginning opposed to too much involvement abroad, Bush ended with two major wars on his hands, coupled with two failing attempts at large-scale nation-building.
A free market tax cutter to the core, Bush saw the US economy nose-dive in due to a desperate lack of regulation.