"As much as I am in favor of reducing the size and cost of the state (and doing so sharpish), the current mess is not going to be sorted out without some increase in tax receipts  and, no, economic recovery will not by itself be enough quickly enough to do the trick. If we have to increase taxes, that is better achieved by a broad-based tax than heaping yet more levies on individual income," - Andrew Stuttaford, another sane conservative at NRO, with an open mind on the VAT.

One thing occurs to me as I see, for example, where Fareed Zakaria, David Frum, Andrew Stuttaford and myself have migrated in recent years. We were all Thatcherite/Reaganite conservatives of varying stripes in the 1980s. And we all feel, to varying degrees, uncomfortable in modern American conservatism.

What else do we have in common? None of us was born here.

There is something deeply and profoundly American about the current right, its conspiracy theories, its paranoia, its racial issues, its sexual panic, its fundamentalist timbre. Conservatives not from the South or imbued in the cultural legacy of the twentieth century - i.e. those who mistook Buckley for the forces he successfully challenged - remain on a learning curve wit respect to the some core, and especially Southern, factions on the American right.

It is far darker and stranger than many of us ever truly grasped. And it took us a while to realize it.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.