* A couple of weeks ago, the historian Geoffrey Kabaservice gave one of our evening talks, on his new book Rule and Ruin: The Downfall of Moderation and the Destruction of the Republican Party (reviewed in this issue). The book has vexed many conservatives who take it as an attack on ideologically serious and coherent conservatism.
Which it is, kind of, though it is not thereby a liberal book. Kabaservice did note, by the way, that he had wanted "transformation" in the subtitle rather than "destruction," but the boys in his publisher's PR department wanted something more dramatic.
The week before, he'd written something for the New Republic's website responding to John Derbyshire's now-famous rant on "The Talk" white parents allegedly give their children about dealing with black people--a talk, I'd like to say, never given by the two parents here at the magazine (the editor and me) to their children. We have just, he points out, passed the fiftieth anniversary of William F. Buckley's first public move in reading Robert Welch and the John Birch Society out of the conservative movement.
Buckley risked the loss of financial and personal support, not to mention making the liberals happy. ("I wish to hell," said Buckley, "I could attack them without pleasing people I can't stand to …