Left and Right

Paleoconservative Diversity

American Greatness

I usually read Conrad Black’s well-constructed, perceptive commentaries with profound pleasure, even if I am more critical than he of such statesmen as Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson. Thus I nodded in agreement while looking through most of Black’s latest assessment of the Russo-Ukrainian war, but then I came upon these passages in the concluding paragraph:

Paleo-conservative objections to it in the United States are nonsense. That the West is able to frustrate this hare-brained scheme in the midst of one of the most inept political periods in its history, with only a moderate commitment of resources to spare the West what would otherwise be a thumping humiliation, indicates to all but the most militant atheists that God has taken this most propitious time to bless America again, not in its leaders but in the identity of its adversaries.

I wish the author were more specific about which paleoconservatives he had in mind before he scolded us generically for speaking “nonsense” about American opposition to Vladimir Putin’s aggression. If memory serves, I published on this website a defense of the Ukrainian resistance last year, which Mark Levin read on his radio program. In both instances, I was identified as a paleoconservative. I also edit a paleo monthly and even invented the term in question.

The fact is the paleoconservative camp is divided over the turbulent war in Ukraine. Contrary to what Black suggests, some paleoconservatives do, in fact, take the Ukrainian side, even while being concerned about the open-endedness of American military assistance. The editorial board of our magazine, which is split over the question, has agreed to disagree about this complicated matter.

Moreover, despite my view that Putin’s attack on Ukraine was unjustified aggression that has resulted in hundreds of thousands of casualties and deaths, I can see why some on the traditional Right would recoil from Zelenskyy’s woke allies here and in Western Europe. Much anti-Putin rhetoric has focused on the Russian leader’s opposition to the LGBT agenda and his conservative nationalism. What we paleos who oppose Russia’s aggression against Ukraine oppose is the invasion, not Putin’s unwillingness to throw open Russian public schools to the gay lobby.

Among criticisms of continued American aid that I have heard in the paleo camp is that the money earmarked for Ukraine would be better spent on protecting our broken southern border. If forced to choose between the two, I would opt for closing our southern border before spending more money on the war in Ukraine.


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