"He instinctively can find the shining greatness of our American culture and does a good job of highlighting it (although he also does have those rare lapses when he writes about hockey, but that is something caused by impurities in the Eastern waters or something)." Erik Keilholtz
Under the patronage of St. Tammany
Mark C. N. Sullivan is an editor at a Massachusetts university. He is married and the father of three children. Email
He undoubtedly owes much to the American strain which comes from [his mother]. He has inherited a full measure of American snap. He is a hustler of the first class. He is as pushing as a New England canvasser, and his "American ways" are often referred to with intense disgust by the rivals whom he has passed in the race. "I never see him," said a conservative M.P., "but I think of a Chicago newsboy." He certainly means to make things hum. He is constantly on the alert. In the House and in the country, he is never silent.
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In a 1984 piece for Harper's titled "If Pooh Were President: A tory's riposte to Reaganism," the late Henry Fairlie describes what he sees as a lack of "any true American conservatism":
The fundamental and persistent weakness of American conservatism is that it is not nourished by any distinct tory spirit. The conservative and the tory may be allies, but they are not the same creatures. Americans may not appreciate how shattering it is to come to their country and find a "conservatism" that has no element of toryism to nourish and humanize and correct it. The conservative can all too easily drift into a morally bankrupt and intellectually shallow defense of those who have it made and those who are on the make if the tory is not there to remind him of what Edward Heath, in denouncing Margaret Thatcher, called "the ugly face of capitalism.
Fairlie sees in toryism four distinguishing signs:
The first mark of the tory is a steady, unvolatile, almost unconscious confidence in the resources and resilience of his society...
The second mark of the tory is that he despises "trade" and those in it...
The third mark of the tory is his belief in strong central government. That is the meaning of his support of the Monarchy. (He will always write it with an inital capital letter.)...
The fourth mark of the tory is that he capitalizes the People...it was as the self-conscious heir to Disraeli's mantle that in 1940 Churchill drew the Monarchy and the People together into a fighting nation. It must not be forgotten: the appeasers were conservatives; the nonappeasers were tories...
The title of the piece comes from an allusion Fairlie makes to A.A. Milne's bear. "Pooh was a tory," he writes. "As he often engagingly said when one of his plans went awry, he was a 'Bear of Very Little Brain.' But then he did not set much store by either plans or brains. In their place, he had wisdom. He knew that the Forest was governed, season after season, by laws he did not understand. Left to himself, he would have done nothing. The Forest would be there when he woke up; even more assuring, he knew that it was there while he was asleep..."
Actually, another literary figure I see in Fairlie's description of a tory is Jack Aubrey.