It’s been said that when Germany invaded Russia in June 1941, the Soviet military elite had been so hollowed out by Stalin’s purges that the Red Army had trouble mounting an initial counter-offensive. According to a new book, a similar thing has happened to the American conservative movement.
The Vanishing Tradition: Perspectives on American Conservatism is an anthology of essays curated by Paul E. Gottfried, one of America’s longest standing conservative critics of the right-wing establishment. Several of the essays call out the Beltway right for what the writers see as the blatant hypocrisy of their criticism of left-wing cancel culture. Cancel culture, the essayists contend, is at least as prevalent on the right and, more importantly, probably had a serious impact on conservatism’s ability to effectively oppose the left—so serious, perhaps, that it can even be blamed for many of the woke excesses of today.