Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

My Corner by Boyd Cathey

Posted by M. C. on June 4, 2021

But that was then, and, like most established conservative organizations, the Federalist Society appears to have now become part of what Paul Gottfried calls “ConInc.,” that is, the stagnated national conservative bureaucracy, centered in Washington DC, dominated by Neoconservatives, and more concerned about not rocking the boat too much so as not to be attacked by the frenzied Left as “racist” or protecting “white supremacy”—or perhaps being taken off the A-List of invitees to posh DC social events and soirees.


The Federalist Society has a problem. It’s a condition that characterizes and infects almost the entirety of the present national conservative movement.

This hit home for me on May 31, in an essay by Leslie McAdoo Gordon, which  appeared at I read their Webzine almost every day, and occasionally it is the source for items of value and good information. But Gordon’s ill-informed attack on Confederate iconography was not one of them.

Peddled as a defense of retaining “Antietam” as the name of an American naval vessel, she begins her piece: “There is a move these days to revisit our monuments and the names we choose to publicly honor. This movement is good and just. It is a sign of our mature democracy that we can choose to stop honoring things that do not reflect our American ideals and celebrate those that do,” including rejecting anything related to the Confederacy.

Honoring and celebrating the history and symbols of the old South, once a common occurrence in the pages of the conservative quarterly Modern Age or in National Review, are now verboten, beyond the pale. General Robert E. Lee, praised by President Eisenhower in 1960 as “one of the supremely gifted men produced by our Nation…noble as a leader and as a man, and unsullied as I read the pages of our history,” is now exiled from the conservative pantheon, as is anything memorializing or commemorating Confederate heroes and iconography. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, Colonel John “the Gray Ghost” Mosby, General Nathan Bedford Forrest—are now canceled, their monuments ingloriously pulled down, and their exploits stricken from textbooks, or worse, treated like depredations of Nazi fanatics.

I can remember attending a conference held by the Federalist Society at least thirty years ago, and recalling how impressed I was at the time (I believe it featured historian William J. Cooper, biographer of Jefferson Davis). For me it seemed that here was a bulwark against the outrages of the Warren Court and the concomitant shredding of the Constitution, and, perhaps even more significantly, a corrective to the progressivist misinterpretation of American history.

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