You have to be my age — 121 or so — to remember Frank Meyer in his National Review prime: firm jaw; light-saber intellect; working the phones at 3 a.m. as he pieced together and sorted out the varied stripes and gradations of conservatism.
To the same effect, nevertheless, you can read Donald J. Devine on how to get back where Meyer was, Meyer having held in his hands, on Mr. Devine’s showing, the key to conservative recovery amid the moral confusion that characterizes modern culture and politics.
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If you’re a mere 120, and disadvantaged in respect of Meyer’s contribution to conservative strategy while at National Review, prepare for enlightenment. Meyer — ex-Marxist, Catholic convert (near the last), lover of liberty — showed in writings of great depth and agility the way to combine traditionalist and libertarian instincts so as to unite instead of divide conservatives of varied outlook.
Mr. Devine, who ran the federal civil service under Ronald Reagan and has contributed his own notable brainpower to the conservative cause for half a century, proposes that the Meyer plan better serves conservatism than do competing versions longer on purity and rancor than on effectiveness.
Meyer’s combination of libertarianism and traditionalism came to be known as “fusionism” — to purists a reproach, to more practical people (e.g., Reagan) a formula for combating the tightening grip of liberal “experts” on every possible topic.
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Read More at Washington Times . By William Murchison.
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