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Beautiful Losers, by Samuel Francis

- Abstract

Taxonomists of American conservatism typically divide their subject into four categories—Old Right, New Right, neoconservatives, and libertarians—and the tension among these groups has been a recurring theme in discussions of the American Right.

In the 50′s, 60′s, and 70′s, one could hardly open an issue of National Review without encountering an article or review that dealt in some way with the conflict between libertarianism and the Old Right (the latter usually referred to as “traditionalist” conservatism). The libertarian-traditionalist conflict has not disappeared, of course, but relatively little is written about it today; in the 80′s and 90′s, the neoconservatives have replaced the libertarians as the principal internecine foes of the Old Right. With the new nemesis, moreover, there has come new terminology: if a conservative who is not a libertarian is a “traditionalist,” a conservative who is not a neoconservative must be a “paleoconservative”—which is what an Old Rightist is often called today.

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