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Ed Driscoll

Interview: Mallory Factor on Big Tent Conservatism

May 10th, 2014 - 12:04 am


MR. DRISCOLL:  This is Ed Driscoll for PJ, and we’re talking today with Mallory Factor, the editor of the new book Big Tent: The Story of the Conservative Revolution–As Told by the Thinkers and Doers Who Made It Happen, featuring contributions from Michael Barone, Newt Gingrich, Ed Meese, Rand Paul, Donald Rumsfeld, and frequent PJTV contributor Yaron Brook, among many others. Sean Hannity writes that “Big Tent is the definitive book on what it means to be a conservative.” It’s published by Broadside Books, and available from and your local bookstore. And Mallory, thanks for stopping by today.

MR. FACTOR:  Wow, thanks for having me.  That was quite an introduction.  I’m thrilled.

MR. DRISCOLL:  Well, that’s quite a collection of names you’ve assembled, and there are actually several that I’ve left out.  Could you talk about how you rounded them up and the goal in assembling the essays and the personalities that are, if you’ll pardon the pun, inside the big tent?

MR. FACTOR:  I’m a professor at the Citadel; it’s a military college in South Carolina, which is a very conservative college to begin with.  And my students had no idea what conservatism was.  Some thought it was being religious; others thought it was being a member of the Republican Party; and I can go on from there.

So I decided on putting together a course on what conservatism is, where it came from, how it came about, what are its pillars.  And I found out that I knew very little about it.

So I got a hold of the people that actually were there making the modern conservative movement.  And I asked them to give a lecture at the school.  There are seventeen people in the book, and they all came from lectures given at the school, the Citadel.

It’s fabulous.  We came up with a couple of interesting ideas.  There are core principles to being a conservative.  There are four core principles that go through all of the different wings of the Conservative Party.  One is the respect for wisdom of past generations and traditions.  Two is the maintenance of the rule of law.  Three is the protection of individual rights and freedoms.  And four is belief in a law higher than man’s law.

And you see that thread going through all the different types of and groups in, the movement:  from the Paleocons to the Neocons, from the evangelicals to the atheists, from the traditionalists to the libertarians, and the foreign policy hawks to the isolationists, from the Tea Partiers even to the establishment Republicans, just to name a few.

MR. DRISCOLL:  For those who think that conservatism started with William F. Buckley, or Barry Goldwater, or Ronald Reagan, could you talk about the origins of conservatism, and how far the philosophy dates back?

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18 weeks ago
18 weeks ago Link To Comment
Far too short, but fascinating while it lasted. I've promised myself to watch for this author on C-Span's book show. I'd particularly like to hear him expand on the comment he made about "..burning heretics...", and which "heretics" he feels have been immolated. Lugar? Bennet? Brown? Rubio? I'm sorry, but the protestations of Haley Barbour, like those from other board members of GOP Inc., such as Karl Rove, Speaker Boner, or Grampy McCain, do not persuade.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
Rep. Paul Ryan was quoted last month in The Economist, using similar language, in an article titled "The Jack Kemp Revival."

"......Mr. Ryan hails his old friend for representing an inclusive, 'confident' strand of conservatism. Without naming names, Mr. Ryan draws a contrast with 'insecure' conservatives, focused on 'purifying the ranks and burning heretics,' rather than on winning converts."

About the late Mr. Kemp, the article also talks about...... "his willingness to preach the joys of free enterprise in union halls, black community meetings or urban housing projects. Many saw a link to his sporting years. As congressional colleagues joked: 'Jack Kemp has showered with more black men than most Republicans meet in a lifetime.' "

I'd interpret "heretic" a bit differently. For some conservatives, one is a "heretic to be burned" if one does not adhere to the "pro-life agenda;" or to the social issues in general. I recall a statement made in November, 2012, after the election, when a prominent anti-abortion activist (don't recall the name) blamed Romney's loss on his "failure" to come out strongly against abortion.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
I remember reading Col David Hackworth's About Face, and he spoke really highly of Citadel grads.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
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