As readers of these installments will already know, the journalist and sometime political figure Patrick J. Buchanan has been both a dear friend and mentor to me for over thirty years. I have written more than once that I believed had it not been for Pat’s writings and eloquent voice, the “counter-revolution of the ‘deplorables’ “ we witnessed in 2016, and the election of Donald J. Trump as president, may well not have happened, at least in the form that it did.
Pat, through his books on different aspects of American politics, foreign policy, economics, immigration, and culture—and through his regular columns—was, or so it seemed at times, a lonely voice in the wilderness (the “vox clamantis in deserto” as Scripture reads) who, to quote one of my unfavorite political personalities Jesse Jackson, appealed to our better natures to “keep hope alive!”
The “Buchanan Brigades” and “pitchfork battalions” of the 1990s never really went away. After them came the “Tea Party.” And after that—and with the continued abject submission to the Deep State managerial elites by the Republican Party of Bob Dole, Bush Jr., the unlamented John McCain, and the political chameleon Mitt Romney—much of the conservative base began to realize that as a vehicle for real opposition to the steadily advancing administrative state, the GOP was practically a nullity, indeed, it actively collaborated in the triumph of the managerial elites.
Almost all the Republican leadership was bought and paid for by crony capitalists and international commercial interests, led by the nose by a zealous Neoconservative intelligentsia which had forcibly taken control of the older “conservative movement,” casting out and barring the door to traditionalists, old rightists, paleo-libertarians, and, in particular, Southern conservatives, at least those who would not deny their Confederate heritage.
In fact, the Republican Party had never been truly a friend of the South, despite its attempts to enact some sort of transgendered façade—the “Southern strategy”—during the Nixon and Reagan administrations. Certainly there were those like the late Senator Jesse Helms of North Carolina who understood the imperative of connecting the older heritage and traditions of the Southland with a new political framework, a new political nomenclature, if you will. But he also understood like few others the real danger that Southern Republicanism would become just another appendage of a national GOP establishment which had swallowed hook-line-and-sinker the egalitarian and globalist nostrums, the ideology that dominated that party for much of its history since the defeat of South in 1865.
And, indeed, the Southern branch of the Republican Party now headlines such fervent globalists and mad egalitarians as Senators Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott, both of South Carolina. Graham never saw a foreign war that he did not want to involve this nation in, nor an “undemocratic” country he did not want to impose “American democracy” on. Scott, a fanatic for what he calls “civil rights,” has become a zealous doorkeeper who believes he is the chosen one to prevent even good and decent conservatives from assuming higher appointive office if, for instance, they actually had dealings with Senator Helms thirty years ago. The recent situation where he personally vetoed the nomination of the eminently qualified North Carolina attorney Thomas Farr for a federal judgeship is a brutal case in point. Farr’s crime? He supported Helms’s campaign and gave it his legal counsel.
Buchanan fought mightily against this sorry state of affairs, and his columns continue to serve as a clarion call for those who supported Donald Trump in 2016 and have placed their hopes in him for a real counter-revolution against the elites, both Democratic and Republican. They—we—must not be disillusioned, for the conflict is too severe, too final. The struggle goes on, and oftentimes within the Trump administration, itself.
One-hundred and twenty-five years ago the great and prescient Southern writer, Robert Lewis Dabney, a notable theologian and former chief-of-staff to “Stonewall” Jackson, foreseeing the future disasters of unleashed egalitarianism, crony capitalism, women’s suffrage, and the craze for “progress,” exclaimed, in a paraphrase of the Greek dramatist Aeschylus (in the Agamemnon): “I am the Cassandra of Yankeedom predestined to prophesy truth and never to be believed until too late.”
Pat Buchanan continues to serve as a prophet, a clarion voice in deserto, reminding us of the firmament of the old republic, its principles and foundations. Those principles and those foundations have been clouded and perverted not only by their confirmed enemies on the Left, but also by those who falsely claim to be their friends and defenders. It is they who luxuriate behind their walled mansions in Silicon Valley or within their million dollar gated communities along the Potomac who hold us in contempt, they who plot our destiny from the board rooms on Wall Street or in the well-guarded offices of the European Union in Bruxelles.
May Pat’s voice and his searing philippics continue long and clear…and be believed!
This piece was previously published on MyCorner on April 6, 2019.
Boyd D. Cathey holds a doctorate in European history from the Catholic University of Navarra, Pamplona, Spain, where he was a Richard Weaver Fellow, and an MA in intellectual history from the University of Virginia (as a Jefferson Fellow). He was assistant to conservative author and philosopher the late Russell Kirk. In more recent years he served as State Registrar of the North Carolina Division of Archives and History. He has published in French, Spanish, and English, on historical subjects as well as classical music and opera. He is active in the Sons of Confederate Veterans and various historical, archival, and genealogical organizations.