Monday, February 7, 2011

In which Glenn Beck and Bill Kristol recreate the past

This story exposes a deeper fissure within present-day American conservatism. It's more than Beck saying controversial things (though it's certainly that, too). Beck has now become the best exemplar of what historian Richard Hofstadter termed "the paranoid style."

Along with Sarah Palin, Beck can lead his followers to believe the most outlandish theories - perhaps Bill Ayers really is in league with the Muslim Brotherhood and bin-Laden and the Iranian theocracy! Like the John Birch society before it, this conspiracy-minded way of thinking probably comes with an expiration date, because of the harm it does to mainstream conservatives who are trying to fashion a rational alternative to President Obama.

Kristol and Lowry, representing the William F. Buckley, Jr., wing of the movement, are doing their level best to save conservatism from itself.

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