Saturday, July 22, 2017

Tonsor: Historiography: Dawson

When Tonsor had finished his prepared remarks on Christopher Dawson, arguably the greatest Catholic historian of the twentieth century, he looked at us triumphantly and asked if there were any questions, especially from the Marxists in the class. He was spoiling for a fight. Not surprisingly there was a pause. The student next to me began clicking his pen, an irritation he often inflicted on the rest of us at such times. 

Across the room a hand reluctantly went up. This student was no Marxist -- he was too tentative to be an ideologue. "So, like, Dawson says that religion is, like, the root of culture. But is that true of American culture? I mean, we don't have a single religion. Besides, isn't America more secular than other nations. How does Dawson's thesis apply, like, to our country?"

"I question your statement that America is more secular than other nations," said Tonsor bluntly, a note of irritation in his voice. "What is your evidence for that statement?"

The poor student had now grasped the tar baby and would not easily extricate himself. "You just always hear how, like, Americans are materialistic, which doesn't sound very religious to me. Also you hear how, like, when it comes to the Constitution, we have, like, separation of church and state --" 

"Let me stop you there. First, purge the word 'like' from your vocabulary. Verbal tics do not become you.

"Second, regarding the Constitution, I think you are on dangerous ground to cite one line of a letter by Thomas Jefferson to a congregation of Baptists. You give it too much weight. Besides, Jefferson was not even at the Constitutional Convention. If you were to ask most constitutional scholars, they would tell you that the Framers were not seeking freedom from religion so much as freedom for religion. The question among a free people, then, is what should the role of government be? Americans do not want the government interfering with their right to worship or not to worship. It is a matter of conscience, and freedom of conscience is sacrosanct; at the heart of America's civic experience." (When Tonsor made this last point about freedom of conscience, he was doffing his hat to two of his heroes, Lord Acton and John Stuart Mill.)  

"To get a better idea of the Jeffersonian position," Tonsor continued, "read Jefferson's Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom (1786) and Madison's Memorial and Remonstrance against Religious Assessments (1785). Both are powerful statements in defense of freedom of conscience and freedom of religion. 

"Now, what else were you saying? Something about how materialistic we are, the implication being that we are not religious? Let's examine your claim. Ask yourself what Americans have historically done with their right to worship or not to worship as they please. What does the evidence say?

"Gallup and other organizations survey social attitudes about these things. And the polls consistently show that Americans are among the most religious people in the developed world. The vast majority of us say we believe in God, in Heaven, in Satan, and in Hell."

I couldn't help but think the poor kid Tonsor was addressing most definitely believed in Hell at this point. He was shifting uncomfortably in his chair.

"The surveys," Tonsor intoned, "show about half of us go to church or temple on Sundays. Both in absolute numbers and as a percentage of the population, Americans are among the most church-going people in the developed world. That's how we exercise our religious freedom -- with our feet.

"When I was about your age, I occasionally went from Champaign-Urbana, where I was studying, up to Chicago. To get to Chicago you had to go through the city of Kankakee. For those of you who are taking a sociology or American studies class, Kankakee would offer a fine case study to test Dawson's thesis about the importance of religion in American life. In the nineteenth and for much of the twentieth century, community life in Kankakee was organized around its churches -- Catholic, Lutheran, Episcopalian, Presbyterian, Methodist.

St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church and Seminary in Kankakee, IL, at URL

"Let us ask the Dawsonian question: What do those churches mean? Why were they built? After all, they exist not by government fiat but because free men and women willed them into existence. All the churches are a fine illustration of Tocqueville's observation about America, that she is strong because of her robust civil society. 

"The presence of these churches means that the majority of people in Kankakee believe in something transcendent. They subscribe to a faith that organizes their experiences, their understanding of things. Those thousands of people who shoehorn themselves into the pews every Sunday believe, to varying degrees, in a transcendent God; in a creation that is not God; in linear time that has a beginning, middle, and end. They believe that human beings are more than an accidental collocation of atoms; that they exist in a moral order; that the individual possesses a soul; that each one has free will to choose good or evil; and that their choices create the storyline of a cosmic drama.

"Considered collectively, those churches tell you much about a place like Kankakee. To the people there, religion provides a source of meaning, enduring values, family structure, social norms, cultural cohesion, and feelings of Gemeinschaft or community.

"Those churches are also a sign that the men and women of Kankakee are prompted by their faith to be in ceaseless activity on behalf of their fellow man." (When Tonsor said "ceaseless activity," I could not help but think he was unconsciously referencing Goethe's Faust.) "Think of all they have accomplished. They raised the money to build beautiful structures whose steeples dominate the city's skyline. That material evidence alone gives you a clue, does it not, of just how important religion has been to the settlers in the Kankakee Valley. Their faith has also spurred them to establish other crucial institutions in the community -- schools, colleges, hospitals, orphanages, homeless shelters, soup kitchens, thrift shops, charity drives, disaster relief for the distressed in distant lands, and even insurance at a rate families can afford. On top of all that, their faith instructs them to pay their taxes, serve on juries, and defend their country. Think of what Kankakee would be without its churches!

"That there are so many denominations within close proximity in a small city like Kankakee is another remarkable thing to ponder. It shows how pluralistic our society is. In the face of all our diversity, Americans nevertheless unify around a creed. Truly little Kankakee is an e pluribus unum. Every church is different, but each has its baptismal book, Bible of record, stained-glass windows, and distinct architectural style, all of which provide valuable evidence about the diverse cultures of the immigrants and where they came from. It so happens that the Kankakee Valley was first settled by French Canadians, but there are also Germans, Irish, Scots, Blacks, and many others. So a typical working-class city like Kankakee, Illinois, offers a powerful demonstration of Dawson's thesis: Religion is what puts the 'cult' in culture.

For more on Dawson, see Bradley Birzer's superb biography,
Sanctifying the World: The Life and Mind of Christopher Dawson (2007).
Image by Birzer at URL

"Kankakee is not unusual. Across the land there are ten thousand Kankakees. One can build the case, sociologically and inductively, as Dawson the sociologist would have, that the centrality of religion is to be found again and again in our communities. Let me say it once more: It's religion that puts the 'cult' in culture.

"One can also build the case historically. Dawson the historian argued that the centrality of the Christian cultus in all these towns and cities comes from someplace. To see the deep roots of our Western cultus, I'd urge you, the next time you're in Chicago, to visit the Art Institute. In the medieval collection is an exhibit that perfectly illustrates Dawson's thesis. It's in a room that features a scale model of a Gothic church and medieval village, somewhere in feudal France or Germany. What strikes the visitor as he walks around the table is how that church stands at the very center of the village. The scene brilliantly captures the historic reality of early European communities -- all life's activities centered around the church; the people's aspirations, like that steeple, soaring to the heavens."

I glanced over at the student. I'm sure the poor fellow didn't know what to say after that sustained intellectual barrage. But our professor, even in his irritability, was demonstrating how the historian cites credible evidence and mounts a powerful argument. 

At the close of the period, Tonsor seemed to want to soften his hammer stroke yet still come down with enough force to set the nail. 

"To the entire class let me say: You cannot assume your personal opinions are the truth. This is why we study history: to use the slashing blade of reason like a machete to hack through the dark jungle of false opinion until we see the light of truth."

A striking image, that -- in the same league as the Allegory of the Cave. And yet I remembered Tonsor saying to me, not long before, that he did not care for Plato.

The Kankakee River flowing through dolomite outcrops.
Photo at URL

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Tonsor #n -- An Azalea Blooms in Winter

One mid-February day after class, Tonsor invited me to walk back to the house and enjoy lunch with him and Caroline. The weather was fine and he was in good spirits when we reached 1505 Morton Avenue. "It's wonderful to see the sun shining through our south windows again. Earlier this morning it was so very cold and gloomy." Pointing to a table in front of the large living room window, he drew my attention to an unexpected sight: "Look at that azalea. Last Saturday it was in bud, and now it has bloomed. I like the way the sun is pouring through its purple splendor. The Germans would call that color rosarot."[1]

"Yes, rosarot," I said, impressed by his poetic expression and by the precision of his German. I added, "I grew up in that azalea's natural habitat -- in Houston and New Orleans. In fact, every March Houston hosts the Azalea Trail through the River Oaks neighborhood. It's one of the most pleasant ways to explore the city."

Tonsor did not respond, but his tenderness toward the azalea blossom prompted me to ask if he missed the rural life.

"Good Lord, no," he bellowed. "Growing up in southern Illinois in the 1920s and '30s, I know the rural life. It is not the pastoral scene that you people from the city think it is. The rural life can be brutal. It can be stultifying. It can cause one's mind to become slow and dull. That said, I have always liked to garden, even as a child pulling weeds for my grandmother.[2] Usually by the end of May I will have spaded and planted until I am quite pleasantly tired. If we are having a good spring with plenty of rain, then by Memorial Day there is already enough spinach, shallots, bib lettuce, and Romaine for the whole family. It is a beautiful thing -- the seeds come up fast, the plants thrive, and there is such a large quantity of salad coming in that we must use it as quickly as possible.[3] Today's bright sun is making me look very forward to spring. 'O Sonne! O Glück, o Lust!' as Goethe would say."[4]

Caroline emerged from the kitchen with a greeting and a plate, saying, "Stephen does need his garden. I think it's therapeutic for him after the cold winter and hectic academic schedule. His spirits can get down if a long winter or rainy weather keeps him from his plot of earth."[5]

Tonsor moved a book off the dining room table and said, in a more wistful register: "I do find myself thinking back on my childhood in southern Illinois from time to time. A few years ago I was reading Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder to my grandson, Alex, and we enjoyed the experience very much. It's a book about her husband's childhood on a New York farm. What a distant and strange world it was to him, and yet how familiar most of it was to me. Every once in a while I would stop and explain what was happening on the farm."[6]

The azalea blossom and the talk of gardening and farming made me think of warmer months ahead. I said that I looked forward to my first Art Fair next summer, to which Tonsor protested:

"Huh! For a whole week in July, Caroline and I cannot even use our city because it is taken over by that misnamed Bacchanalia! There is nothing 'fair' about it. As for the art, don't even bother trying to see it, what with the milling throngs of sweating people in the streets, more than 500,000 of them. They have the manners and sanitary habits of Italians -- or at least of Neapolitans. They leave behind mountains of stinking garbage and refuse. Worse, for three consecutive nights last summer, drunken celebrants rioted by the campus. The whole thing is sick and disgusting. But," he added with mock appreciation, "the merchants love it!"[7]

Caroline frowned: "It's not as bad as Stephen says it is. You can meet the most interesting people -- people you'd never expect to be artists -- and talk with them about their work and --"

"No, they are not interesting at all," he interrupted. "Art Fair is just a carnival for over-aged hippies with long fingernails and bad breath."

Caroline and I laughed at his rant. "I hope," she said, "that Stephen will tell us what he really thinks of Art Fair!"

Tonsor looked backed over at the azalea in the sunny front window, as though wishing to be tending his garden.

[1] Stephen J. Tonsor to Henry Regnery, February 15, 1986, p. 1; letter in GW's possession, courtesy of Alfred Regnery.
[2] Bernard Tonsor interviews with GW, Jerseyville, IL, July 1, 2014; and June 26, 2015.
[3] Stephen J. Tonsor to Henry Regnery, May 31, 1985, p. 1; letter in GW's possession, courtesy of Alfred Regnery.
[4] Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, "Mailied"; at URL The line means, "O sun, O joy, O delight!"
[5] Caroline Tonsor's observation of a tendency to "get down" is backed by much evidence. In letters to his close friend Henry Regnery, written in the 1980s, Tonsor frequently confessed that he was either tired, overwhelmed, anxious, or depressed (e.g., in Tonsor to Regnery, May 31, 1985, p. 4; Tonsor to Regnery, May 19, 1986, pp. 1-3; both letters in GW's possession, courtesy of Alfred Regnery). The latter letter begins, "It is difficult to write a letter when one's life is engulfed in constant commotion and uncertainty.... My depression was deepened by the wet, cold weather. I cannot work in the garden and as the days pass I am becoming quite desperate." On May 18, 1985, he wrote Regnery: "... I felt disappointed that I could not get into the garden" (p. 1). On August 18, 1984, he began a recap of a list of scholarly chores with, "Most of last week I led a dog's life" (p. 2). Additionally, his oldest daughter, in a moving Veterans' Day tribute to her father, has provided sympathetic insight into his struggles stemming from the years he served in World War II's Pacific Theater and won three Bronze Medals: "He was in the [Army] Signal Corps, made the Leyte landing with MacArthur, and heard the first reports of the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. It changed his life, enabling a poor boy from a small farm town to attend universities, travel the world, and make use of his tremendous intelligence. It also made him wake up screaming for many years. He had to listen to the radio all night to be able to sleep. I don't really know what he did in the war, but I will always remember the man he became" [Ann Tonsor Zeddies, Facebook post, November 11, 2015].
[6] Stephen J. Tonsor to Henry Regnery, June 16, 1980, p. 4; letter in GW's possession, courtesy of Alfred Regnery.
[7] Stephen J. Tonsor to Henry Regnery, July 25, 1987, p. 1; letter in GW's possession, courtesy of Alfred Regnery.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Tonsor #19 -- Bryn Mawr

At the conclusion of the fall semester in 1987, I accepted my brother's invitation to spend the holidays with his family in New Jersey. After the feasting and festivity of Christmas Day, I wanted to do some networking on the East Coast. Since I was within an hour of the headquarters of the Intercollegiate Studies Institute in Bryn Mawr, I headed out for the City of Brotherly Love to visit the organization that had conferred the Richard M. Weaver Fellowship on me. I'd arranged a meeting with the man who had led ISI in some capacity for 35 years, E. Victor Milione. He had served as executive vice president and then as president of ISI from 1953-1988. We arranged to meet on Monday, December 28. As I drove into town, waves of sleet and snow were rolling eastward across the Delaware River Valley, and I thought of George Washington's treacherous crossing of the Delaware on Christmas night, 1776.

Emanuel Leutze, "Washington Crossing the Delaware" (1851)

I found Milione alone in a darkish office on the Main Line; the space felt more like an old-fashioned law firm than a salient for the defense of Western civilization. He was an elfish man with bright eyes and a quick intelligence, and we were able to talk for more than one hour about his philosophy at ISI and about my graduate advisor and his place in the conservative movement in America.

From my opening question about the evolution of ISI, he became quite animated: "At ISI we throw ourselves into the battle of ideas. Whether it is the mission of the university, or the American experiment in ordered liberty, or the contest between faith and unbelief, or the crises of the twentieth century with its totalitarian threats and nihilistic philosophies -- we confront these challenges at the level of ideas. We must win the battle of ideas.[1]

"What exacerbates the crises nowadays is the tendency to forget. What with all the glittery distractions that bombard us, we tend to forget the historic foundations that made our civilization possible. But imagine what would happen if we forgot -- I mean really forgot -- if teachers quit teaching and preachers quit preaching; if no one played Bach; if no museum exhibited Michelangelo. Why, in just one generation we'd devolve into barbarians tearing down the intricate edifice of our civilization with all its beauty and strength. So the central task of our time is what the great Catholic historian Christopher Dawson called "enculturation." Our aim must be to encourage each new generation of young people to learn, better than their fathers, that our heritage must be studied, understood, nurtured, and transmitted."[2]

"Now, your graduate advisor Steve Tonsor understands how important enculturation is. He's been a great ally of ISI. I've worked with Steve probably for three decades now. He is unpredictable, which makes him interesting. You never know what is going to emerge from that fierce intellect of his!"

"You're not talking about his Philadelphia Society address last year?" I asked with bemusement.

E. Victor Milione (1924-2008)
"That was a corker," Milione chuckled, "but the surprise doesn't end there. Take his view of America. Here we sit, just a few miles from Independence Hall. Steve's take on the American Revolution has the most interesting way of combining opposing ideas. On the one hand, he argues that the rebellion changed everything. Like Gordon Wood, he see our Revolution as the first major break with the pattern of rule by monarchs and hereditary nobles. They had governed according to principles derived from divine right, reason of state, and traditional and customary usage. Rejecting those principles, America's revolutionaries substituted in their stead republicanism and a rational politics based upon the self-interest of the citizenry.[3]

"On the other hand, Steve argues for the Founding's continuity with what came before. Along the lines of Russell Kirk, he maintains that by 1776 the American Revolution was already centuries old. I commend to you the essay he wrote on the American Bicentennial -- I just had occasion to reread it myself. In the piece he argues that the War of the Revolution was waged in the name of a conservative appeal to rights won and cherished -- rights that many of the American colonists believed had been usurped and violated by London. They were fighting to restore their traditional rights as Englishmen. It is difficult to believe that those articulate spokesmen of the American cause were insincere when they appealed not just to the revolutionary break from Britain, but also to the ancient, hard-won rights of free men.[4]

"In fact, I remember Steve telling me that it was precisely this conservative devotion to liberty which made, and still makes, the American Revolution the most radical political movement of the modern era.[5] How many scholars can pull off combining 'conservative' and 'radical' in the same thought?" Milione wondered, laughing.

"How is life in Ann Arbor? Last I heard, there were not many conservatives in that particular grove of academe."

"It's been intense, like intellectual boot camp. Maybe I'm lucky, but the professors I have at Michigan are really good. A few graduate students from the East Coast confess they haven't had much contact with conservatives in higher ed. I guess for them, talking to Tonsor is like a visit to the circus, where they can gather around the biological rarity at the freak show. I get the feeling that he is avoided by the more liberal students. They don't enroll in his classes."

"What a shame -- the loss is theirs. We conservatives who sit around the fireplace, sipping Scotch and smoking pipes and talking about Russell Kirk, are hardly crackpots. Characters, yes, but extremists, no. Steve once told me about the time the founder of the American Nazi Party, George Lincoln Rockwell, went to the University of Michigan to give a campaign speech. It was when he ran as a write-in candidate for president in 1964. Rockwell began by saying that everywhere he spoke, fights broke out. I don't think the cultural conservatives could be accused of inciting any riots! Our weapons of choice are ideas." 

"Yes -- Professor Tonsor certainly holds his own. When challenged, he gives as good as he gets. Since arriving in Ann Arbor, I've been slowly navigating his view of conservatism, doing frequent soundings as I go. He defies stereotypes, but his political philosophy seems to fit best in the 'liberal conservative' tradition that Russell Kirk writes about in The Conservative Mind -- especially the section of the book that is devoted to Cooper and Tocqueville and that tips its hat to Burke and Acton.[6] What confused me at first is that this term, 'liberal conservative,' is not one that I've encountered outside of Kirk or outside of my conversations with Professor Tonsor.[7] He outright told me that the 'liberal conservatives' are his kind of people.[8] It seems that his vision of conservatism differs from that of the traditionalist wing in that he more readily accepts, rather than rejects, the tension between the two sources of authority in Western civilization -- classical Christendom and the modern Enlightenment. You can see it in the way he grafts what is conservative in the American Founding to what is liberal in the American Revolution. It's really quite brilliant the way he pulls the opposing ideas together."

SJT's mentor in political philosophy, Frank Meyer
"And you can bet Steve is brilliant enough to pull it off," Milione said. "I see Steve as a fusionist influenced by the work of his late mentor, Frank Meyer.[9] About the time Steve was becoming a self-conscious conservative, around 1955 or 1960, the house that conservatism built was in disarray. There were cracks that went right through the middle of the foundation. Off in one wing were the libertarians -- Nock, Hayek, Chodorov -- who championed freedom as the highest good, and along with it minimal government and the sanctity of the individual. Off in another wing were the traditionalists led by Kirk, Weaver, and Nisbet, men who championed the need for transcendent order, especially in the revolutionary modern age when so much was in flux anthropologically, philosophically, ethically, and spiritually.[10]

"Frank had a vision. He wanted to pull these two factious wings of the conservative house into a well-integrated family. He made the case that freedom needs order if it is not to devolve into anarchism or libertinism, and that order needs freedom if it's not to devolve into authoritarianism or antiquarianism. Frank saw America's founders as the original fusionists because they believed in the need to leaven a manly freedom with an organic moral order. While our nation's founding documents are relatively silent on the subject of virtue -- the notable exception being the Northwest Ordinance with its Article Three -- they do present freedom as the ultimate political goal. But freedom needs a complement -- the helpmates of religion, morality, and knowledge -- as that same article suggests. Our founders taught that citizens must use their freedom to choose virtue in the public square. And because virtue requires man's free will, it should not be compelled by government or by force. Indeed, by definition virtue cannot be compelled because, obviously...."[11] Milione looked at me intently.

"Yes," I jumped in. "There is a passage in Mere Christianity in which C. S. Lewis writes: "If a thing is free to be good it is also free to be bad. And free will is what has made evil possible. Why, then, did God give us humans free will? Because free will, though it makes evil possible, is also the only thing that makes possible any love or goodness or joy worth having."[12]

"Lewis nailed it!" Milione said with enthusiasm: "Unfortunately, Frank didn't succeed in renovating the house that conservatism built. He had a pugilistic personality and got in fights with Russell Kirk and other leaders in the movement. We conservatives, like any big sprawling family, were as fractious at the end of his life as we were when he started his fusionist project. Nevertheless, Steve's political philosophy is heavily indebted to Frank. I think Frank's fusionism is a good way to understand Steve as a 'liberal conservative,' since the former is preoccupied with political freedom and the latter is concerned with the organic moral order. They are a necessary unity in any free society."

"It's courageous of him to use the word 'liberal' in his self-description since the word has become a term of opprobrium," I said. "But I think the reactionary in him wants to reclaim the old idea of liberal, Lord Acton's idea of liberal. And it explains why Professor Tonsor quotes Walt Whitman's lines in "Song of Myself" where he speaks of containing multitudes and even celebrates the fact that he contradicts himself.[13] He is radically open to every good experience or tradition that shapes the character of a man and a civilization. Professor Tonsor is quite insistent that the conservative must discern the inevitable tensions that arise among powerful ideas. It's a messy process; it doesn't allow for the tidiness of the ideologue's design. The civilizational mission of the "liberal conservative" is in the very label, with its tension. It is to work for the organic accommodation of opposites -- freedom and virtue, liberty and order, natural aristocracy and equality, the individual and community, the profit motive in the free marketplace and those values that cannot be commodified. I see Professor Tonsor as the champion of a method of political philosophy and historical interpretation that one might call the hermeneutic of accommodating opposites. He comes the closest to saying as much in his essay on "The Conservative Search for Identity."[14]

"Yes, that's one of Steve's seminal essays. As I recall, Frank commissioned that essay in a 1964 collection, What Is Conservatism?[15] That's where Steve grapples with paradox, tension, and opposites, just as Meyer did. And to bring it back to this place, Philadelphia: For as much as he is a champion of order, Steve never loses sight of the freedom at the center of the American experiment. By putting liberty at the center of the American political order, the American revolutionaries served notice that they would not be distracted or deflected from its pursuit by other political, social, and economic objectives. Whatever the merits of equality or social justice, ethnicity or nationality, established religion or high culture -- if any of those pursuits interfered with liberty, or deflected the citizenry from the pursuit of liberty, they were eventually rejected. As a result, over the past two centuries, the world has witnessed the way in which liberty has permeated and revolutionized every aspect of American society. From the way in which we greet strangers to the way in which we pray, the most common and ordinary activities of our daily lives have been transformed by an ever greater participation by free men and an appeal to the sanction of their opinion.[16]

Frank S. Meyer's most read essays
"Especially modern notions of the state have changed as a result of the American experiment. Under the impetus of the idea of liberty, the state stood on the sidelines of the public arena and left the game to be played by individual men, voluntary associations, and corporate groups. Most Americans have believed that what the state necessarily does poorly, individuals and voluntary associations can do better. Ideally, the supreme achievement of revolutionary liberty is 'the withering away of the state.'[17] That was the idea that launched Ronald Reagan on the road to the White House," Milione added, laughing with irony. "I think we will need a succession of Reagans if we are ever to see that happen."

As my visit with Milione wrapped up, he did something as gracious as it was unexpected. He led me to a room with stacks of books that ISI had either published or carried under its banner. "It's Christmas. Why don't you take some books back to Ann Arbor?"

He gave me a largish box and told me to fill it with the books I needed for my library. Due to Vic Milione's kindness, I got to celebrate a second Christmas in a place called Bryn Mawr.

*     *     *

Late in the afternoon, as I was leaving Philadelphia and approaching the Delaware River, the snow and sleet stopped. I pulled into a filling station to warm myself up with hot chocolate. As I stood waiting for the drink to cool, I kept feeling the pull of a nearby phone booth. There was a question I had to ask....

"Professor Tonsor, I am just leaving Philadelphia after having a great visit with Vic Milione, who sends his regards. I have just one question. I think I know the answer but I still have to ask it. You and I have talked about the West's 'inner dialogue' that informs your liberal conservative worldview. It's the dialogue between its two sources of authority -- classical Christendom in which our faith and morals are rooted, and the modern Enlightenment in which our science and our secular peace in a pluralistic world are rooted, preeminently in America. When these two sources of authority clash and cannot be reconciled, you stand with...."

That's the call I wanted to make and the question I wanted to ask. But I hesitated. And then the moment passed, and I was back in the car crossing the Delaware. On the drive back through the bare ruined choirs of the Jersey countryside, I hardly noticed the scenery.


[1] T. Kenneth Cribb, "William F. Buckley Jr. and E. Victor Milione," Intercollegiate Review (fall 2008); at URL
[2] Cribb, "Buckley and Milione," Intercollegiate Review; at URL
[3] Stephen J. Tonsor, Introduction, America's Continuing Revolution: An Act of Conservation, ed. Stephen J. Tonsor (Washington, DC: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, 1975), p. ix. Tonsor was credited by the president of AEI, William Baroody, with "conceiving and guiding the project ... a crucial factor in its success."
[4] Tonsor, Introduction, America's Continuing Revolution, p. ix.
[5] Tonsor, Introduction, America's Continuing Revolution, p. ix.
[6] Russell Kirk, The Conservative Mind: From Burke to Eliot, 7th ed. (Washington: Regnery Publishing, 1985), pp. 185-224.
[7] Confirming my hunch that the term, "liberal conservative," is rarely used are two volumes that thoroughly assess the postwar conservative movement in America. One is the great compendium of the movement, American Conservatism: An Encyclopedia, eds. Bruce Frohnen, Jeremy Beer, and Jeffrey O. Nelson (Wilmington, DE: ISI Books, 2006); and George H. Nash, The Conservative Intellectual Movement in American since 1945 (Wilmington, DE: ISI Books, 2008). Neither has an entry or section devoted to the term, "liberal conservatism." I believe Tonsor's use of the term was influenced by his first encounter of it in 1953, when he was exposed to Kirk's The Conservative Mind.
[8] Stephen J. Tonsor to Henry Regnery, August 17, 1987, p. 2; letter in GW's possession, courtesy of Alfred Regnery.
[10] Various articles in American Conservatism flesh out the line of argument. See, e.g., "Milione, E. Victor" (by Lee Edwards); "Meyer, Frank S." (by Kevin Smant); "Fusionism" (by E. C. Pasour Jr.); "Libertarianism" (by David Boaz); and "Traditionalism" (by Mark C. Henrie).
[11] Smant, "Meyer, Frank S.," American Conservatism, p. 571.
[12] C. S. Lewis, "The Shocking Alternative," Mere Christianity. Thanks to Darrin Moore for this reminder.
[13] Walt Whitman, "Song of Myself," quoted by Stephen J. Tonsor, "The Conservatives Search for Identity," Equality, Decadence, and Modernity, ed. Gregory L. Schneider (Wilmington, DE: ISI Books, 2005), p. 247.
[14] Tonsor, "Conservative Search for Identity," Equality, pp. 247-49.
[15] There are two editions. Stephen J. Tonsor, "The Conservative Search for Identity," What is Conservatism, ed. Frank Meyer (New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1964); republished (Wilmington, DE: ISI Books, 2015), pp. 161-84.
[16] Tonsor, Introduction, America's Continuing Revolution, pp. ix-x.
[17] Tonsor, Introduction, America's Continuing Revolution, p. x.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Tonsor #18 -- Marx and Marxism

As the November gloom set in over Ann Arbor, as the days grew shorter, as low clouds were drawn across the sky like a gray wool curtain, I found it necessary to fight a hibernation instinct I didn't know I had. I was not psychologically prepared for the onset of bleak days because, for the prior fifteen years, I had lived along the Colorado Front Range where the late fall and winter are reliably sunny.

Adding to the gloom of the autumn was the persistent cough I'd developed after Halloween. It was diagnosed by one of the U of M doctors as adult-onset asthma. Michigan's climate, combined with the stress of grad school, was taking a toll.

Shortly after Thanksgiving I made the trek to Tonsor's office, wondering how Michiganders survived such dark weather and short days. "I feel as if I'm in internal exile," I told him, and to my surprise he laughed. Raising my arms as if to plead to the gods, I asked, "When will these dark clouds go away?"

The "bare ruined choirs" of mid November

Tonsor reached for a book at the same time that he began quoting lines of verse:

     "That time of year thou mayst ... behold
     When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
     Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,
     Bare ruined choirs, where late the sweet birds sang."

I had taken enough English literature as an undergraduate to recognize Shakespeare's "bare ruined choirs," but I could not locate the lines. Seeing that my memory was flailing, Tonsor opened a tome and said, "Sonnet 73." Handing me the open book, he added, "Or perhaps it is the resignation in Rilke's 'Autumn Day' that better captures the mood: Herr: es ist Zeit.... / Legt deinen Schatten auf die Sonnenurhen.... [Lord, it is time ... to shroud our sundials in shadows....][1] In any case, Mr. Whitney, the clouds will keep you indoors, reading your books. Think of how much more history you will learn at Michigan than at Berkeley or Boulder!

"But for your question about the cloud cover, I must introduce you to a former student of mine, Tony Sullivan. He works at the Earhart Foundation and he is an avid weather watcher. Tony will tell you about the jet stream moving south out of Canada this time of year, steering everything from Alberta clippers to Panhandle hooks through our region like roaring freight trains. Even when no front is present, the cool westerlies that flow over Lake Michigan pick up moisture and feeds the clouds that cover the Lower Peninsula. The gloom is reinforced by moisture flowing down from Hudson Bay this time of year. But -- when Hudson Bay freezes over in December, and parts of Lake Michigan freeze over in February and March, we will actually get more sunny days because the surface ice doesn't conduce to cloud formation. That's why it's cloudier now, but will be sunnier later in the winter. I assure you: You will learn the patience of Job and get through these months."

The Huron River in the late fall
As a former geography major, I very much appreciated that my graduate advisor could talk about Michigan's weather and climate. He knew and loved nature just as I did. It was a point of connection outside of the books and course of study.

Cloud cover aside, on this day I was looking forward to Tonsor’s lecture on Marxism. Not only would it be enlightening, but I thought it might give me insights to push against the cultural Marxism then regnant in grad school. Not that the Marxists in our department felt smug. Somebody had posted an apocryphal Antonio Gramsci quotation on the bulletin board outside the main office:

“The old world is dying and the new world struggles to be born: Now is the time of monsters.” ~Antonio Gramsci

Later another bloke came along, inserted a caret, and wrote "Reagan" next to "monsters." Yawn.

U of M's Angell Hall across State Street
By 1987 Marxist proclamations of proletarian triumph at the end of history became the butt of jokes. That catchy line -- “The last capitalist we hang will be the one who sold us the rope” -- just didn't sound clever anymore. Ever since President Reagan had the temerity to speak of the Soviet Union as an Evil Empire that was destined for the ash heap of history, Marxists had been playing defense. Reagan, cheerfully playing offense, poked fun at the last remaining Marxists who were hunkered down on American campuses. It's why they hated him so. "How do you tell a Communist?" the Gipper joked. "Well, it's someone who reads Marx and Lenin. How do you tell an ex-Communist? It's someone who understands Marx and Lenin."

I embraced Reagan's determination to defeat Soviet communism. In 1984-'85, I had won a Fulbright scholarship to then-West Germany, and had traveled to Berlin/East Berlin with many questions about Soviet communism. The experience at Checkpoint Charlie and my walks along the River Spree, where I saw crosses of all the Germans who were murdered trying to flee the oppression of East Germany, seared me. I was openly anti-communist, which drew me to the like-minded Stephen Tonsor. But our shared conviction would be the source of a brewing battle royal in grad school.

I knew from our talks that Tonsor was feeling vindicated by the exhaustion of Marxist theory and practice. His insights into Marx and Marxism generated some of his best content as a historian and some of his finest rhetoric as a teacher. From my notes and revisions, the following are the highlights of his lecture to our class.

From Tonsor the intellectual historian and biographer:

“Let’s get one thing out of the way at the outset. Both Marxism and capitalism are dedicated to the revolutionary transformation of society.[2] No other economic system more efficiently satisfies man’s material wants than capitalism. If a society wants pornography, the free market will deliver it with greater efficiency and in greater quantity than any other system. So Marx was correct in discerning the revolutionary forces unleashed by capitalism. It has transformed the world and it has displaced traditional society and its institutions. One need not be a dialectical materialist in order to understand the scope and the meaning of the changes; nor need one believe that all historical changes result from changes in the ‘mode of production’ in order to agree with and appreciate the insight of Marx.”[3]

Camille Pissarro, "The Factory at Pontoise" (1873)
“To understand the modern age, you have to understand the profound impact the Industrial Revolution had on European society. The image of the factory tended to replace all other images of community.[4] In a significant sense, Marx was furnishing Europeans with a moral critique of the Industrial Revolution. He was hardly alone. Every -ism was offering some moral critique of the Industrial Revolution. Anarchism, liberalism, nationalism, progressivism, socialism, communism, Marxism, Leninism, Stalinism, fascism, Nazism – each decried the breakdown of community in the shadow of the factory; each offered a blueprint for how to put community back together; and each tried to answer the question, Who should be in that community?”

“Both Marx and Engels were under thirty when they wrote the Communist Manifesto, a document whose revolutionary rhetoric embodied nearly every intellectual current of the age. True to the theory of its authors that there is an unbreakable link between theory and practice, the Manifesto not only reflected history but made it. In the 140 years since its publication, it has become one of the central documents of our times, inspiring faith, dedication, contempt, and hostility in nearly equal amounts. To understand the Manifesto is to understand what most of the shrill and discordant debates, civil wars, and ideological conflicts have been about since.”[5]

Karl Marx (1818-1883)
“There can be no denying that Karl Marx was a genius. But like most geniuses, he had a complex and contradictory personality. Throughout his life he saw himself as Prometheus chained to a rock by an angry Zeus. His abiding personal struggle was to break out of his chains and attain absolute freedom. This Promethean image also explains his bohemian temperament and why he found it difficult to live by the rules of conventional society and morality. It is no surprise that he became a revolutionary. He was descended from rabbis on both sides of his family, and it has been observed that there must have been a close connection between the Old Testament prophets’ call for justice – Judaism’s apocalyptic and chiliastic tradition – and Marx’s secular vision of a perfected society that comes through a revolutionary ‘day of the Lord.’”[6]

“Karl Marx was unwilling to play second fiddle in any orchestra. He quarreled with men as much as he quarreled with the gods and the rulers of society. He could not bear contradiction or defiance – it evoked vituperative hatred – and the secret of Engel’s long friendship with Marx lay in the younger man’s willingness to play a totally subservient role.”[7]

“As happens to many strong-willed men, Marx would be frustrated by the reality he hoped to change. The revolutions of 1848 did not prove to be the turning point for which Marx had hoped. European history did indeed turn, but it turned to the right. Until 1917, though the influence of Marx increased, the ‘commanding heights’ in Western society were still held by political conservatives.”[8]

From Tonsor the cultural critic:

“As with any great statement concerning the human condition, the Communist Manifesto cannot be read without taking sides. Its words will not let us suspend judgment or defer commitment or condemnation. Karl Marx came not to bring peace but a sword.”[9]

"In the modern age, when Jews have abandoned Judaism, more than a few of them have followed Marx's path. That is to say, they do not abandon Judaism's messianic tradition. Rather, they secularize the messianic tradition and create materialistic substitutes such as Marxism, socialism, Bolshevism, and other justifications for class warfare or for confronting bourgeois culture."

“Marx maintained that his system was ‘scientific’ rather than utopian. Of course, every charlatan realizes how great an advantage the adjective ‘scientific’ lends to any theory. Marx meant, however, that his system was scientific because it was inevitable, because its coming into being was causally determined. Whereas the dreams of utopians were dependent upon the puny efforts of men for their realization, ‘scientific socialism’ was written into the very order of the cosmos. It was the next sequent event in the womb of time, to paraphrase Hegel. Why this was true is, of course, what the rhetoric of the Communist Manifesto seeks to demonstrate. To make a socialist future no less certain than tomorrow’s sunrise was no small feat of apologetic art. We are still waiting for the inevitable to take place, and socialism, utopian or scientific, has, now that we have seen its partial realization, lost something of its appeal.”[10]
Antonio Gramsci (1891-1937)

"When Marx's theory of history showed itself to be toothless -- it had little analytical or predictive bite -- later generations of Marxists shifted the focus. One of the most important shifts was achieved by the Italian Marxist, Antonio Gramsci, who argued that Marxism could transform the culture. Withering away in prison in 1915, Gramsci wrote:  
Socialism is precisely the religion that must overwhelm Christianity.... In the new order, Socialism will triumph by first capturing the culture via infiltration of schools, universities, churches, and the media by transforming the consciousness of society.[11]
"With that quotation in mind, ladies and gentlemen, you might go to the third floor of Haven Hall, to the main office of our history department, and take note of the large poster off the elevator proclaiming that the study of history is about -- transformation."

"You should also be familiar with Leon Trotsky. To young American leftists, he was the most brilliant and attractive of the Russian Revolutionaries -- a veritable brain trust. Yet he was seen by his comrades in the U.S.S.R. as a little too cerebral, a little too critical, a little too global in his imagination. As a result of his criticism of Soviet communism, Stalin had Trotsky exiled and then murdered in Mexico City. He was stabbed to death by one of Stalin's agents, a Spanish communist wielding an ice pick."

From Tonsor the philosopher and logician (remember, he studied philosophy as an undergrad):

“Marxism contradicts itself. Is it not ironic that the Communist Manifesto, which argues that history is shaped by material economic forces, supplied the decidedly non-material ideas that after 1848 were themselves to become shaping forces?”[12]

“One can argue convincingly that most of the experience of the nineteenth century was an attempt to broaden and deepen the meaning of human freedom, to take man, insofar as possible, out of the realm of necessity and to place him in the realm of freedom. Thus the German idealist Immanuel Kant was preoccupied with the problems of freedom and necessity. Confronted with the reality and necessity of natural causal laws, Kant sought for a realm of human experience where these laws did not prevail; where man could be the actor rather than the acted upon. That’s the nineteenth-century context of the Marxian project. When Marxists speak of alienation, they simply mean that man is prevented from realizing himself by the social, economic, and religious institutions that he has created. They are like gravity and the other laws of nature in that they limited man’s freedom. It follows that revolution is needed to break the chains of the economic, social, and religious institutions that bind him to the realm of necessity. That, at bottom, is the Marxian project.”[13] 

“It is richly ironic that history would appoint Friedrich Engels to be Marx’s collaborator. Do you think Engels was living among the proletariat, suffering at their side, and singing 'The Internationale'? He was not and did not. Engels was the scion of a Manchester textile manufacturer and lived off the profits of his capitalist father. In London he resided in the fashionable Primrose Hill district, surrounded by all the bourgeois comforts of the day. Perhaps even more richly ironic is that Marx was supported for much of his adult life by these same capitalist profits that Engels made available to him.[14] They apparently had no qualms about biting the hand that fed them.”

From Tonsor the wit:

“Ludwig Feuerbach’s work was to have a great influence on Marx, almost as profound an influence as the works of Hegel. Feuerbach’s father had been a professor, and as a young man, Feuerbach studied philosophy in order to pursue an academic career. But he began to break with the Protestant religious tradition of his father and of the academic culture at the University of Berlin. Both his views of religion and his Left Hegelian philosophy blocked him from getting a university appointment after he finished his Ph.D. Like many other radicals of his generation, Feuerbach was unable to find an academic job. So he became a rootless, disaffected intellectual. Imagine how different world history might have been had all these Left Hegelians gotten nice, good-paying jobs at a university. They would have settled for bourgeois comforts and amused themselves playing golf. Instead they became hostile critics of society. Our world could have been spared much grief."[15]

Tonsor had another mordant barb that I did not fully appreciate at the time because I did not know the Jewish term he used. "When revolutionary Jewish thinkers fall away from their religion and adopt a left-wing ideology; when they secularize Judaism and transform the messianic tradition into a radical program; it does not seem to occur to them to sit shivah to mourn the loss of their faith."

His last spear thrust made the class laugh. "You would be amazed at how many died-in-the-wool Marxists have struck it rich writing books and going out on the lecture circuit to talk about class warfare. It turns out they make the best capitalists!"

From Tonsor the poet:

“There is always a considerable distance between the dream of a bright tomorrow and today’s dark reality. In order to be effectively translated into reality, dreams demand a map of how to get from here to there. The Communist Manifesto is such a road map. Today men dream other and more satisfying dreams, and the map drawn by Marx reveals itself to be filled with traps and pitfalls. What remains, then, is a great political poem about the mind of the mid-nineteenth century….”[16]

Marx's Communist Manifesto -- "a great political poem"? These words were some of the most powerful and unexpected I ever heard Tonsor utter.

*     *     * 

After class, another student and I went up to the front of the room to ask questions. He was the student who thought Tonsor looked like the Paddington Bear. When he thanked the professor for a lecture that was critical of Marxism, Tonsor let slip what he really felt about Marxist historiography. With some force he answered: "I have waded around in Marxist sewers for so much of my life that, unfortunately, I now know them too well. The Marxists are resentful ideologues who will not submit to reality. I am thoroughly disgusted with the whole intellectual enterprise. Too bad the Marxist and former Marxist scholars in our universities cannot come down with cholera or at least some disabling disease which would prevent their writing or teaching another damned word. We have had enough. It is time to forget Marxism and get on with the real puzzles and difficulties of life."[17]

Then came my turn came to ask him a question. I was struggling to put the relationship between Marxism and the mainstream of Western intellectual life in the right way. But it proved too big a question to answer on the spot. Kindly he invited me to join him and Caroline for lunch. By the time we were outdoors headed for Burns Park, he spoke in a burst of prose that addressed the matter.

"First let's review the essential insight of the liberal conservative who emerges from the mainstream of Western intellectual life. Recall the lecture in which I mentioned Walt Whitman, who in Song of Myself asked: 'Do I contradict myself? / Very well then I contradict myself, / (I am large, I contain multitudes.)'[18] Whitman expressed the profound truth that the essence of life can be fully encountered only by embracing its opposing forces – its polarities, oppositions, tensions, and contradictions. We have seen how the Romantics sought the organic accommodation of opposites. The impulse to achieve the organic accommodation of opposites is not really new but has been a big part of the Western project since the tenth century. Occasionally writers and artists harness these oppositional forces and integrate, harmonize, or synthesize them. In fact, the organic accommodation of opposites by a sovereign personality, institution, or society is the measure of a dynamic, healthy community.[19] It imparts nobility to our civilization.

"The liberal conservative acknowledges this complex, oppositional reality and cheerfully submits to it. He seeks to achieve a harmony of contradictory principles – the principle of authority and the principle of liberty; the principle of equality and that of natural aristocracy; of individualism and of community; of private enterprise and of cultural, moral, and human values that transcend the market mechanism; of Providence (God’s sovereignty) and human freedom; of transcendence and immanence; of sacred and profane; of time and eternity. He resists the ideologue's temptation to abandon the one principle or the other. Rather, he accepts these contradictory ideals, this dual heritage, as fundamental to the human condition.[20]

"That’s what our best minds have taught. Take Tocqueville and Acton. Together their lives spanned the nineteenth century, and together they elaborated the soundest and most coherent body of modern conservative thought that contemporary conservatives can draw upon. These liberal conservatives embraced the complexity of reality. They accommodated, in their lives and in their thinking, the polarities and contradictory principles that characterize our lives.[21]

Stephen J. Tonsor, pictured in the lower left corner of this 1976 dust jacket,
was one of the more prominent thought leaders in the postwar conservative movement.
"Now, contrast what I’ve said about these liberal conservatives, Tocqueville and Acton, with what I've said about Marx. For the left Hegelians in general and for Marx in particular, the dialectic obliterates opposites. For example, at the end of the dialectical process, reality is not spirit and matter, but only matter. There is social value not in the individual and the collective, but only in the collective. Justice is not satisfied by both freedom and equality, but only by equality. Not both-and, but either-or.

"No question Marxism is an attempt to restore purpose, ends, and values to history. But it does so by flattening human experience, by excluding the vertical element, by excluding Providence. Its hostility to the transcendent is the most telling reason for Marxism's failure. It is difficult enough to reconcile God’s ways to man in the ambiguities, failures, dilemmas, and ultimate unknowability of history; but it is downright impossible to justify the 'rational' course of dialectical materialism when confronted by the events of this century, what with its violence and irrationality.[22]

"Marx’s tragic error, you see, was to turn his back on the accommodation of polarities. His error was to amputate half of each pair of polarities. You can trace the amputation back to Hegel. As the Hegelian dialectic moved forward in time, Reason was supposed to obliterate paradox.[23] What Marx did not see is that man will never eliminate contradictions and irrationality. In contrast to Marxism, conservatism has learned to absorb the polarities in the human condition that Marxism can not."

So, I thought, this was the key, the essential Hegelian and Marxist error, which was to obliterate the nature of reality itself -- a reality which, for the conservative, it is necessary to submit to. It's why I would come to call Tonsor's interpretive principle the hermeneutic of accommodating opposites. My professor wrapped up:

"When William F. Buckley Jr. established National Review in November 1955, its founding editorial declared its mission to stand 'athwart history, yelling Stop!' The history Buckley had in mind was Marx's 'History,' left-Hegelian 'History,' the 'History' with a capital "H" that Marxists thought would unfold inexorably until the day of communism's triumph.[24] Conservatives united around a different conception of history that was steeped in irony, polarities, opposites, and unintended consequences. The most fierce anti-communists in the conservative movement were fulfilling their civilizational mission to save the West from 'History.'"

There it was again, the idea of a "civilizational mission." A good term, that.

A few paces before turning from Lincoln onto Morton Avenue, I thought I caught a glimpse of Caroline in the kitchen window.[25] What a welcome respite a relaxed conversation over lunch would be after all this talk of Marxism, a gray and cheerless ideology that was as oppressive as the clouds that blanketed the Michigan landscape.

*     *     *

After lunch, on our walk back to campus, I asked Tonsor about the remarkable number of ex-communists who changed their minds and became pillars of the postwar conservative movement.

"Ask yourself why that is. Why do men change their minds? It's one of the most fascinating things to know about a person. Whittaker Chambers, James Burnham, Max Eastman, Will Herberg, my mentor Frank Meyer -- each in his own way changed his mind and went from being a communist to being an anticommunist. The migration from communism to conservatism is one of the most remarkable intellectual migrations in the twentieth century. It came about for many reasons. Partly it was an aversion to their own communist past, partly it was because of Stalin's betrayal, and partly it was due to the devolving Cold War after 1945."

There was one additional thing that I wanted to know before leaving the topic of Marxism. What did Tonsor think of the fact that so many of his colleagues c. 1987 were cultural Marxists -- indeed, that so many elite history departments in the U.S. were hiring cultural Marxists who idolized Gramsci.

"I am very worried about the progress of the Marxists in the university. I don't worry about them because of the influence they exercise over students -- which is nil -- but I do worry about the estrangement of the university from the parent society which must follow in the wake of the triumph of the Marxists. It is distressing and there seems to be little or nothing which can be done about it. I shall be an active force for only another four or five years. At this point in my career, I will not be able to do much to counter the Marxists on campus. They are silly people. They will continue to conceive of the university as a teenage gang devoted to adolescent Marxist struggle -- and will damn all who are in disagreement. Never mind that the scholarship -- like Francois Furet's salutary impact on the historiography of the French Revolution -- and the parent society have moved past their stupid ideas."[26]

[1] My translation of the opening of Rainer Maria Rilke, Herbsttag, lines 1-2; at this URL, accessed November 22, 2016; my gratitude to Ann Tonsor Zeddies for this reminder, via a Facebook post, November 19, 2016.
[2] Stephen J. Tonsor, “Science, Technology, and Cultural Revolution,” in Tradition and Reform in Education (La Salle, IL: Open Court, 1974), p. 49.
[3] Stephen J. Tonsor, Introduction, Communist Manifesto, by Karl Marx (Chicago: Henry Regnery Gateway Edition, 1969), p. ixx-xx.
[4] Tonsor, Introduction, Communist Manifesto, by Karl Marx, p. xx.
[5] Tonsor, Introduction, Communist Manifesto, by Karl Marx, pp. vii-viii.
[6] Tonsor, Introduction, Communist Manifesto, by Karl Marx, pp. ix-xi.
[7] Tonsor, Introduction, Communist Manifesto, by Karl Marx, p. x.
[8] Tonsor, Introduction, Communist Manifesto, by Karl Marx, pp. xi-xii.
[9] Tonsor, Introduction, Communist Manifesto, by Karl Marx, p. viii.
[10] Tonsor, Introduction, Communist Manifesto, by Karl Marx, p. xxi.
[11] See the quotation and discussion thereon at URL
[12] Many years after I heard Tonsor’s lecture on Marxism, I was delighted to encounter many of the same observations, including this one in Lloyd Kramer, Lecture 13, “Hegelianism and the Young Marx,” in European Thought and Culture in the Nineteenth Century (Chantilly, VA: The Great Courses, 2001); audio format.
[13] Tonsor, Introduction, Communist Manifesto, by Karl Marx, pp. xii-xiii.
[14] Kramer, Lecture 13, “Hegelianism and the Young Marx,” in European Thought and Culture.
[15] Kramer, Lecture 13, “Hegelianism and the Young Marx,” in European Thought and Culture.
[16] Tonsor, Introduction, Communist Manifesto, by Karl Marx, pp. xxi-xxii.
[17] Stephen J. Tonsor to Henry Regnery, August 18, 1984, pp. 3-4; letter in GW's possession, courtesy of Alfred Regnery.
[18] Whitman quoted in Stephen J. Tonsor, “The Conservative Search for Identity,” Equality, Decadence, and Modernity (Wilmington, DE: ISI Books, 2005), p. 247.
[19] Tonsor, “The Conservative Search for Identity,” Equality, p. 247.
[20] Tonsor, “The Conservative Search for Identity,” in Equality, pp. 235, 248-49.
[21] Tonsor, “The Conservative Search for Identity,” in Equality, p. 248.
[22] Tonsor, “The Conservative Search for Identity,” in Equality, p. 249.
[23] Tonsor, Introduction, Communist Manifesto, by Karl Marx, p. xiii.
[24] David Frum, "Unpatriotic Conservatives," National Review, March 25, 2003; at this URL, accessed November 22, 2016.
[25] Caroline Tonsor to Gleaves Whitney, Grafton, IL, June 26, 2014.
[26] Stephen J. Tonsor to Henry Regnery, February 15, 1986, pp. 3-4; letter in GW's possession, courtesy of Alfred Regnery.