Be Nice, or We'll Crush You | Jewcy.com You forget how lonely conservatives are. The flame of thoughtful, responsible American conservatism burns low, and needs constant careful attention. In the folk mythology of present-day America, conservatism is associated with Jim Crow and the persecution of racial minorities. I have not the slightest doubt that many millions, probably tens of millions, of Americans believe that, say, Pat Buchanan is a secret member of the Ku Klux Klan. I live in an ordinary middle-middle-class New York suburban neighborhood. My neighbors all know I am a conservative commentator. A couple of them will not speak to me on that account. The others just think I am mildly nuts—a thing associated in their minds, somehow, with my being British-born. They regard me with a sort of amused sympathy. The nearest conservative I know lives about eight miles away. Anyone running a mainstream conservative magazine has to constantly demonstrate ideological purity in matters of race. They have to show repeatedly, by indirect means of course (I mean, it would be no use to just stamp “THIS IS NOT AN ANTISEMITIC MAGAZINE! WE DO NOT FAVOR THE RETURN OF JIM CROW LAWS!” in Day-Glo letters on the cover) that they are ideologically pure in this zone. Otherwise, they won’t be taken seriously by the cultural establishment. And that matters. In America, persons who have, or are suspected to have, incorrect opinions on race, are low-status. Human beings are primarily social animals, and we are intensely conscious of status rankings within the groups we belong to.