William Rusher Interview: Conversations with History: Institute of International Studies, UC Berkeley

The Conservative Movement: Conversation with William A. Rusher, former publisher of the National Review; 4/25/90 by Harry Kreisler

Page 10 of 10

Lessons Learned

What lesson would you like to be drawn from the history of the movement that we've just walked through? Do any in particular stand out about the relation of ideas and politics?

I can do this rather well, I gather it's a sort of closing question.


I can tell you how I conclude many of my talks, because it fits very well. I've lived long enough, and I must say that I didn't expect to live long enough, to see a great many things happen. When Ronald Reagan was elected in 1980, I thought that was the culmination. Then he was reelected and I thought that was. And now, a few more years later on, the Berlin Wall falls down and the Soviet Union crumbles. So, we have some reason to believe that the principles we have fought for and lived by have stood the test of time. And there's a wonderful little quatrain that I close my talks with, by Coventry Patmore, the nineteenth-century British poet, which sums the point up, and very reassuringly. He says:

For want of me, the world's course will not fail.
When all its work is done, the lie shall rot.
The truth is great and shall prevail
When none cares whether it prevail or not.

On that note of poetry, I want to thank you very much for joining us today for this very interesting historical tour of a very important movement. Obviously, your role was very important in it.

My complements on a good job of questioning. That's a free commercial, you didn't ask for it.

Thank you very much, Mr. Rusher. And thank you very much for joining us for this "Conversation on International Affairs."

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