By Jonah Goldberg
It's hard for a lot of people, particularly on the right, to recognize that the conservative movement's problems are mostly problems of success. The Republican Party's problems are much more recognizable as the problems of failure, including the failure to recognize the limits of that movement's success.
American conservatism began as a kind of intellectual hobbyist's group with little hope of changing the broader society. Albert Jay Nock, the cape-wearing libertarian intellectual -- he called himself a "philosophical anarchist" -- who inspired a very young William F. Buckley Jr., argued that political change was impossible because the masses were rubes, goons, fools or sheep, victims of the eternal tendency of the powerful to exploit the powerless.
Buckley, who rightly admired Nock for many things, rightly disagreed on this point. Buckley trusted the people more than the intellectuals. Moreover, as Buckley's friend Richard Weaver said, "ideas have consequences" and, consequently, it is possible to rally the public to your cause.
It took time. In an age when conservative books make millions, it's hard to imagine how difficult it…
Source: Town Hall