Who Remembers Clinton Rossiter?

by John Holbo on September 29, 2012

When I was in Texas I met Carl T. Bogus, law prof. and author of Buckley: William F. Buckley Jr. and the Rise of American Conservatism [amazon]. He and I turned out to have something in common: affection for Clinton Rossiter’s forgotten Conservatism in America: The Thankless Persuasion [amazon]. I was trying to baffle someone else at the conference, saying ‘Look, the thing you think conservatism should be is the thing the conservatives made a point of writing off in the 1950’s. You’re a neo-Rossiterian.’ Carl’s ears pricked up. We hit it right off.

When I got home I bought and read Bogus’s Buckley book. I liked it, and it filled in some blanks for me, history-wise. Going back and reading the reviews, I see TNR’s reviewer thought Bogus didn’t much improve on John Judis’ earlier Buckley book. I can’t say. Haven’t read it. (But Judis is a good writer so probably his book is good.) But the reviewer does grant that one area in which Bogus really distinguishes himself is in handling the dead and forgotten ‘new conservatives’ – Rossiter, Viereck and Nisbet, in particular. (Kirk was another, but not one who has been forgotten.) [click to continue…]