March 28, 2009

First, They Came for Mel Bradford . . .

Most Taki readers will be familiar with the history of the paleo/neo schism in the conservative movement. The split between the rural, traditionalist Old Right and the urban, modernist neoconservatives (not to be confused with the populist “New Right” of the ‘70s) simmered for many years, until the election of Ronald Reagan finally led to a showdown over the choice of M.E. Bradford to be chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Because of Bradford’s historical writings, he became “controversial,” and it was a column by George F. Will that struck the telling blow. Instead of Bradford as NEH chairman, it was Bill Bennett; one career was made, and another eclipsed. Bradford continued to do brilliant work, but the choice of Bennett was a clear sign that mainstream Republicanism was unwilling to endure important cultural controversy for the sake of principle.

That is an extremely condensed thumbnail version of a complex saga. We have seen many examples of how, over the years, the Left has learned to play the “controversy” game to sabotage effective conservative leadership, often with the assistance of “respectable Republican” types. Feeding the tiger, hoping to be eaten last, many in the GOP never thought the tiger would turn on them. But now the liberal tiger’s appetite for “controversial” figures has begun targeting even the most mainstream of Movement conservatives.

One who has long observed this has found an opportunity to explain to the Movement what is actually happening: Thoughts on the ‘Ransom-Note Method’ and the Twelfth Commandment. I think my Old Right friends will enjoy it, as well.

Subscribe to Taki’s Magazine for an ad-free experience and help us stand against political correctness.


Sign Up to Receive Our Latest Updates!


Daily updates with TM’s latest