Second, and more fundamentally, what is fusionism? Christ was fully man and fully divine. I don’t think anyone has ever tried to claim that “fusionist” conservatism can be wholly traditionalist and wholly libertarian. You can have very different kinds of fusionism depending upon which parts of each perspective you choose to throw out the window. It’s possible to splice together a paleo-fusionism — not without its tensions and ultimate incoherence, but functional nonetheless — that emphasizes decentralism and a non-interventionist foreign policy; and of course, as Moser implies, one can be wholly libertarian in politics and quite traditionalist in culture. The “fusionism” midwifed by the Republican party, on the other hand, combines the very worst elements of both: the self-righteousness and crusader mentality of the traditionalists with the vulgar materialism and utilitarianism characteristic of many libertarian types. It’s a marriage of Ayn Rand and Elmer Gantry, a union that issues in George W. Bush. ~Daniel McCarthy

Mr. McCarthy summons up a very powerful and rather terrifying image there at the end of his post (I can already picture the relevant horror movie called Son of Rand). He makes many excellent points against the effort to recast Goldwater as Bush lackey after the fact, and he takes apart the standard fusionist position pretty well. On problems of fusionism, read this. One suggestion: the self-righteousness and crusader mentality is mostly not the traditionalists’ gift to fusionism, but the fairly liberal fusionists’ attempt to appear righteous and virtuous a la Claes Ryn’s America the Virtuous and the model is not Gantry but the moralistic, despotic Robespierre.

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