What Erik Kain said. I have no grand, architectonic theory as to why conservatism, the New Criterion aside, has largely abdicated its natural role as the custodian of high culture, in all its expressions - by which I do not mean George Will's hurrumphing about denim - preferring to wallow instead in altogether too many uncouth, uncultivated, unlearned expressions of cultural contempt, invidious presentations of political and legal issues (oppose torture? - you must hate America, or want Americans to die), and generalized anti-intellectualism (such as the rote incantation of antediluvian talking points and the corresponding simplification of the complex, prudential business of analysis and policy formulation). My only suggestion would be that, at some moment - in the sense of a phase of time - in our history, the conservative opposition to a particular entrenched elite morphed into an inchoate distrust, even resentment, of elites, expertise, and competence in general; probably this transition was precipitated by the alliance of the new left and the managerial, technocratic establishment in the 70s, the cultural resentments and hostilities towards the former becoming a synecdoche for the whole, slowly bleeding over into a distrust of high culture and intellection. Bill Buckley's famous quip about the Boston phone directory doesn't have the same resonance when translated into the idiom of angry ranters contemptuous of sustained thought about our common things. Whatever one might say about the substance of left politics, it is the tendency of the left to give intellectual form to the raw matter of leftist grievances and aspirations; a structuring effect is produced. On the right, much is without form and void, as those who ought to be structuring and refining rightist aspirations instead pander to them as though the mere intensity of their expression were sufficient to constitute a politics. Whoever said that grievance politics and the entitlement mentality were exclusively left-wing? Manifestly, they are not.