The Realignment Won’t Purge Libertarians


Sen. Rand Paul arrives to question former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power at a confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in Washington, D.C., March 23, 2021. (Greg Nash/Reuters)

As the parties exchange constituencies, conservatives should prepare for a rowdy coalition, not a uniform one.


he American conservative movement has never really impressed deep political thinkers, even its own. The frustration was evident almost from the beginning of this magazine. Russell Kirk seemed slightly dissatisfied with his own Anglophone genealogy of “conservatism.” James Burnham, the Communist turned anti-Communist, developed modern Machiavellian theories of power, but applying them to the real world often ended with perverse results. Frank Meyer occasionally seemed as unsatisfied with his “fusion” of traditionalist and libertarian impulses into a conservative system, as all the critics of fusionism were.

Now, this shouldn’t be surprising. In history, it is hard to find thinking people of

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