chapter  4
Negative Conservatism
WithSeth Offenbach
Pages 23

The conservative movement found it difficult to respond to the Vietnam War. Throughout the war, the right remained the most staunchly pro-war group in the United States, even as the Vietnam War became increasingly unpopular with the American public. This pro-war stance subsumed all other ideological issues on the right. This chapter explores how conservatives failed to response proactively with new and invigorating ideological ideas. Instead, conservatives became obsessed with opposing the anti-war New Left movement, liberals, the Democratic Party, and the mainstream media. This chapter demonstrates that the conservative movement, led by politicians such as Barry Goldwater and pundits such as William F. Buckley and the National Review, proved incapable of creating a new or exciting political philosophy which could oppose the rising anti-war sentiment within America in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Instead, the right fell back on its old anti-communism, pro-war, and anti-left identity. This negative conservatism hurt the movement and set back conservative politics for nearly a decade.