Tag Archives: Conservative Think Tanks


Whining that conservatives have lost touch with their intellectual roots, David Brooks inexplicably writes:

Modern conservatism began as a movement of dissident intellectuals. Richard Weaver wrote a book called, “Ideas Have Consequences.” Russell Kirk placed Edmund Burke in an American context. William F. Buckley famously said he’d rather be governed by the first 2,000 names in the Boston phone book than by the faculty of Harvard. But he didn’t believe those were the only two options. His entire life was a celebration of urbane values, sophistication and the rigorous and constant application of intellect.

Driven by a need to engage elite opinion, conservatives tried to build an intellectual counterestablishment with think tanks and magazines. They disdained the ideas of the liberal professoriate, but they did not disdain the idea of a cultivated mind.

Silly goose.  The "rigorous and constant" application of intellect wouldn't produce silly caricatures such as those which occupied the late Buckley's mind.  Those same silly caricatures too often drive the discourse of the conservative intellectual counterestablishment (global warming is a hoax!!!), an ideologically defined movement whose primary function consists in not attempting to challenge the ideas of the "liberal professoriate" in anything like intellectually rigorous terms, but rather in vilifying reasonably credentialed experts for specious ideological reasons.