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End of the “Movement”

November 24, 2020

Ideological and intellectual “movements” ultimately become “businesses,” a way to generate income from “ideas” that first sparked the interest of like-minded folk.

The Conservative “Movement” was no exception.

Inspired in the 1950’s by scholars, writers and publishers including William F. Buckley, Jr., Russell Kirk, Friedrich Hayek and Henry Regnery, the “Movement” fostered formation of support groups: Intercollegiate Studies Institute, Young Americans for Freedom, the Philadelphia Society, Voegelin Society, Regnery Publishing and National Review.

Now all are diminished and continue in less interesting ways for those of us who were early subscribers or members.

In my case, I attended an ISI summer school in 1961, attended my first Philadelphia Society meeting in 1965 and managed a Regnery Publishers booth for Henry Regnery at the first CPAC events at the Mayflower Hotel conducted by Human Events in 1961 and 1962. Of course I subscribed to National Review and read Russell Kirk’s The Conservative Mind and Hayek’s Road to Serfdom. During my first semester in graduate school at Notre Dame, I took classes from Eric Voegelin, Gerhart Niemeyer and Fr. Stanley Parry, CSC.

Today NR is unreadable, the Philadelphia Society membership of conservative scholars is severely diminished, ISI has discontinued publishing two critical journals (Continuity and Political Science Reviewer), Regnery publishes “tracts” not serious books and the Voegelin Society no longer features scholars who studied with Eric Voegelin or students of Voegelin.

I saw it coming long ago when I left college teaching in 1981 to work for President Reagan and never returned to teach in a traditional classroom. Indeed, conditions for political conservatives were so bad, I founded my own university. Here’s a link to my history of Yorktown University.

As we face a new government led by 1960’s “Liberals,” we have to ask if any good will come of American politics under Joe Biden. Yes, I report in this essay, we have much to look forward to.

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