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Tuesday, March 28, 2006

RIP Lyn Nofziger

Lyn Nofziger, a great conservative, has died. His website (which is awesome, full of limericks and witty conservative thought) is here. I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for him, after working a conservative student conference where he spoke. He spoke in a raspy yet quiet voice, almost a Morrison-esque mumble, yet far less comprehensible. I could see students all around me sucumbing to the warm D.C. day, and dozing or doodling, ignoring the speech in front of them. And I reviewed the evaluations of each speaker, where Nofziger got low marks. And yet the speech itself was excellent, a humble and informal talk on politics as they were, friends long gone, and ideas that remained. He was witty and hilarious, but no one laughed at his jokes. I found the whole thing very sad in some sense, a great man with a great speech, almost universally ignored. And his death will also go largely unnoticed, I fear. But he was a big man in a big administration, and he helped conservatism immensely. RIP.


First off, I will admit that I didn't know much about Nofziger until I started poking around today. I think what you wrote about the students not paying much attention to him is part of a broader problem among young conservatives: those same students probably screamed like it was Beatlemania all over again for Ann Coulter. Conservatism generally entails some respect for "old" ideas. Now, they may be exposed to these ideas through Sean Hannity and Michelle Malkin (or, unfortunately, in their opinion, Bill O'Reilly), but how many go any "deeper" than that? I'm guessing that name recognition for guys like Russell Kirk, Friedrich Hayek, Milton Friedman, Whittaker Chambers, Edmund Burke (really reaching back), or Robert Nisbet, would be close to nil. Granted, not all of those were conservatives, some avowedly not, but they all contributed to the American conservative (and libertarian) "movement". I'm not perfect, but as I mentioned in an earlier post, I'm working on it, law school reading be damned.
You are 100% spot on regarding the Coulter-mania, more's the pity.
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