I’m going to hear from some folks at Heritage about this. For the record, this reader’s experience doesn’t quite jibe with my own, though I certainly could share anecdotes along these lines. That said, I don’t think everybody who calls himself a conservative has to read books like Nash’s. But it’d be nice if more people did. Anyway, from a reader:
Does it disturb you at all that lots of people who are self-identified conservatives didn’t know anything about the Nash book? And need suggestions about who/what is good to read?
I’m a fairly young conservative (just turned 24) doing my Ph.D. in political theory at [University name withheld], so I know I’m something of a geek concerning the history of the conservative intellectual movement. But even our supposedly best and brightest young conservatives are really clueless about anything beyond Hannity, Coulter, Limbaugh, etc when it comes to conservative ideas. I’m thinking of the summer I spent at the Heritage Foundation where I was made fun of for reading Russell Kirk (at Heritage!) by the other interns…I encountered lots of young people who didn’t know anything about any of the conservative minds from a generation or two ago.
Another good example: I was at the Philadelphia Society meeting in Chicago in May 2004 (the 40th anniversary gala) and was chatting about Whittaker Chambers with a conservative professor who had been going to Philly Soc meetings for years. As we were discussing Chambers, he interrupted me and ask, “So who is this Alger Hiss guy?”
Anyways, I vote for an article/Corner discussion/etc on Willmoore Kendall (an intellectual hero of mine). Maybe NRO could do its best to introduce these thinkers to the conservatives who visit the site? A thinker or two a week for a month dedicated to conservative intellectuals from the early days of the movement?
Just a thought.
Me: Seriously, I would have thought you’d get thrown out the back door to the garbage strewn alley for asking “Who is the Alger Hiss guy?” at a Philadelphia Society meeting (to which I have never been invited, hint, hint).