- Paperback: 287 pages
- Publisher: Center for Libertarian Studies; 1st edition (June 1993)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1883959004
- ISBN-13: 978-1883959005
- Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.2 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 11 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,400,349 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement 1st Edition
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— RON PAUL, Ten Term U.S. Congressman (TX) and 2008 Presidential Candidate
About the Author
George W. Carey is professor of government at Georgetown University. He is the author or editor of many books, including The Basic Symbols of the American Political Tradition (with Willmoore Kendall) and, from ISI Books, Liberty and Virtue: The Conservative/Libertarian Debate.
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Other authors before and since 1992, when "Reclaiming..." was first published, have told the history of the Old Right and made the case that American conservatism did not, as I put it in another review, spring fully-formed from the brows of Buckley and Burnham at a "National Review" editorial conference in 1952. Few of those other authors, though, can match the depth of Justin Raimondo's research, the apparent range of his reading, or his skill in tying it all together.
At least until we get a chance to see Bruce Ramsey's brand-new "Unsanctioned Voice - Garet Garrett, Journalist of the Old Right," "Reclaiming..." may be the definitive taxonomy of his place in the history of American conservatism. Raimondo's salvaging of this all-but-forgotten writer -- and his fascinating and important proof of the influence of Garrett on Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged" -- are alone worth the price of the book.
"Reclaiming..." was first published in 1993, and wasn't updated for this new edition (except for the addition of those "critical essays"). It therefore doesn't address George W. Bush and his form of "conservatism," the war on terror and the expansion of empire both at home and abroad, or, most recently, the Ron Paul campaign and the thousands of newly-minted Revolutionaries it raised. Though that makes it obvious this book is 15 years old, you could almost claim Raimondo saw it coming. His sections on the neocons and their imperial project more than stands the test of time.
Where this book ended up surprising me (though having read some of the author's other works and having met him a few times many years ago, it probably shouldn't have), though, is that it's not only a well-researched and documented history, but also a spirited call for the intellectual heirs of the Old Right to, well, reclaim the American Right. His energetic defense of Pat Buchanan, his takedown of the myth of Rand as philosopher-sui-generis, and his feisty rejection of American Empire all deserve close reading. And as someone admittedly prone to Nockian pessimism, I found his invocation of Rothbard's driving optimism a valuable tonic.
One of Raimondo's major documentary sources, in fact, was Rothbard's then-unpublished manuscript for "The Betrayal of the American Right." Now that it too is in print, these two titles together make for great, indeed I'd argue essential, reading for today's conservatives, both newly-minted members of the Ron Paul Revolution and those weaned on Ann Coulter (if you'll pardon the imagery) and Fox News. The idea that we can ever escape our history is a profoundly Leftist one. Fortunately, the American Right has a history that not only is worth studying, but one its heirs can learn and take inspiration from.
I'm a great fan of Justin Raimondo, and I started to read this book a few years ago. (Since then I have read it two more times).For some reason, I got hung up and never finished. Maybe that was good, because when I decided to revisit it a few days ago, it made more sense to me than it did then.
Justin takes us back to the Old Right (the only legitimate Right as far as I'm concerned)as well as the splintered left of the Trots. He spends a lot of time chronicling the journey from Trot/Schactmanite to the Republican Party and neoconism. I knew some of this already. Justin however, makes the labyrinth navigatable. Permanent revolution and internationalism morphed into American Empire and perpetual war for perpetual peace. The commies came running. Stalin didn't help the situation. Buckley's banishment of the Old Right and the growth of the National Review re-shaped conservatives into a tortured parody of its former self.
The book is a great introduction to libertarian "founders" Garret Garrett, John J Flynn HL Menken, Albert Nook Frank Chodorov and the great Rose Inglis Wilder and Isabel Patersen. Some of these people showed up in my years of anarchist reading and I always wondered how anarchists ended up portrayed rather recently as rightwing nuts. They weren't. But since they opposed the centralized state, they must be! I admit I"m not as taken with Garret Garrett as Justin, but I love Wilder and Patersen. Justin, also takes to task Ayn Rand, whom I know he admires greatly, but recognizes as a faulty and not original thinker. The influence of Murray Rothbard is all over the place.
Justin is quite brave in adding two critical essays at the end of this re-publication by Scott Richert and David Gordon--as well as a intro by Pat Buchanan whom he criticizes in the book.
This is a wonderful book, and I'll be using it as a reference.I'd love to see an new infusion of fusionism between the "left" and "right", but I doubt the "left" is smart enough to try it.
6/26/2017 Just finished a re-read. This is a very important book especially in the days of The Great Buffoon. Many things are much more clean now. (less)