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{Empty title} | The Nation

Thanks to Alterman for taking on this topic. I 've often wondered how those conservative pundits who celebrate Red America would justify living in DC, NYC, Boston or San Francisco if they were asked. But then no one has interrogated them on the gulf between their supposed admiration for Kansas City, NASCAR, high-school football and their own lifestyles. What if we liberal elitists seceded and took our Blue States with us? Would Buchanan, Coulter, P.J. O'Rourke, and their friends happily settle down in Keokuk, Iowa or Oklahoma City?

These attacks on elitism also demonstrate the gulf between current "conservatives" and traditional, or real, conservatives, the ones worthy of the name--an extinct breed. Boston Brahmins and Upper East Siders of the past century or two would have defended the idea of elitism just as they would have defended high culture and openly despised the boondocks. Now we have the worst of both worlds: rich, powerful, hypocritical, self-righteous philistines.

Not long ago I looked through Buckley's first book, God and Man at Yale. It was unreadably glib and polemical, but I did learn that Buckley was riled up against the university back in the late 1940s. It's not that on or about May 1, 1968, everything changed. Reactionary jeremiads about liberalism are more longstanding than the decade on to which they now lay all the blame. Buckley's book laid the groundwork for the current and spurious crusade against "political correctness," by which they really mean the Enlightenment ideas that inspired the founders of this country.

So who's un-American?