In The American Conservative, Ralph Nader, paladin of the American anti-monopolist tradition, revives the great distributist-agrarian project of the 1930s.

Local Culture
Local Culture
Local Culture
Local Culture
Previous articleWhen Your Way of Life is Out of Date
Next articleWholistic Chef
Bill Kauffman
Bill Kauffman was born on November 15 (also the birthday of Bobby Dandridge) in the otherwise forgettable year of 1959. He was an all-star Little League shortstop for the Lions Club Cubs but soon thereafter his talents eroded. After an idyllic childhood in his ancestral home of Batavia, New York, birthplace of Anti-Masonry, he was graduated from Batavia High School in 1977. He earned, more or less, a B.A. from the University of Rochester in 1981 and went therefrom to the staff of Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, the only dairy farmer in the U.S. Senate. Two and a half years later he left Moynihan’s staff a bohemian Main Street anarchist who loved the Beats, the New England transcendentalists, early 20th century local colorists (Sarah Orne Jewett his Maine gal), cowpunk music, and the crazy old America. Neil Diamond and Karen Carpenter, too, but don’t tell anyone. He bummed around out west for a while, sleeping in bus stations and writing derivative poetry in Salt Lake City flophouses (nah, he’s not a Mormon, just a BYU fan) before an ill-starred year in graduate school at the UR. He took a seminar with Christopher Lasch and thought on it. In the spring of 1985 he flew west to become an assistant editor with Reason magazine. He had great fun in Santa Barbara with that crew of congenial editors drinking far into the night at Eddie Van Cleeve’s Sportsman’s Lounge, but in ’86 he flew east to become the magazine’s Washington editor. Always homesick, Kauffman persuaded his lovely and talented wife Lucine, a Los Angelena, to move back to Batavia in 1988 in what he called a “one-year experiment”—the year to be measured, apparently, in Old Testament terms. They’re still there—or, more accurately, five miles north in Elba (apt name for an exile!), where Lucine is Town Supervisor. She may well be the highest-ranking Armenian-American elected official in the country, at least until the voters of California send Cher to the U.S. Senate. Take that, Turks! Lucine and Bill have a daughter, Gretel, 17, who writes and acts and plays piano and French horn. Their lab mutt, Victoria, whose tail graces the accompanying photo, is now departed, to their sorrow, but a cat, Duffy, darts in and out of the house when the mood strikes. Bill is the author of nine books: Every Man a King (Soho Press/1989), a novel, which was recently rescued from the remainder bin by a New York Sun article proclaiming it the best political satire of the last century (the Sun thereupon set); Country Towns of New York (McGraw-Hill/1994), a travel book about God’s country; America First! Its History, Culture and Politics (Prometheus/1995), a cultural history of isolationism which Benjamin Schwarz in the Atlantic called the best introduction to the American anti-imperialist tradition; With Good Intentions? Reflections on the Myth of Progress in America (Praeger/1998), his worst-seller, a sympathetic account of critics of highways, school consolidation, a standing army, and the Siren Progress; Dispatches from the Muckdog Gazette: A Mostly Affectionate Account of a Small Town’s Fight to Survive (Henry Holt/2003; Picador ppb. 2004), a memoirish book about his hometown which won the 2003 national “Sense of Place” award from Writers & Books; Look Homeward, America: In Search of Reactionary Radicals and Front-Porch Anarchists (ISI/2006), which the American Library Association named one of the best books of 2006 and which won the Andrew Eiseman Writers Award; Ain’t My America: The Long Noble History of Antiwar Conservatism and Middle American Anti-Imperialism (Henry Holt/ Metropolitan/2008), which Barnes & Noble named one of the best books of 2008; Forgotten Founder: Drunken Prophet: The Life of Luther Martin (ISI/2008), a biography of a brilliant dipsomaniacal Anti-Federalist who warned us this was gonna happen; and Bye Bye, Miss American Empire (Chelsea Green/2010), a cheerful account of dissolution. Bill is a regular contributor to the Wall Street Journal and a columnist for The American Conservative. He has written for numerous publications, including The American Scholar, the Los Angeles Times Book Review, The Nation, Chronicles, the Independent and The Spectator of London, Counterpunch, Orion, University Bookman, and Utne Reader. He is vice president of the Genesee County Baseball Club, which owns the Batavia Muckdogs of the New York-Penn Baseball League. Come summertime, he can be found in the 3rd base bleachers at Dwyer Stadium. He is also active in the officerless (of course) John Gardner Society. Bill is more handsome than the photo on this site would suggest. See books written by Bill Kauffman.


  1. “Who Owns America?”

    Simple: Ashkenazis make up around 2 -3 % of US population but control anywhere from 30 – 65% (depending who you read) of capital of the USA.

    Of course, to say this is very politically incorrect, but we shouldn’t shy away from the truth.

  2. Why on Earth doesn’t this site have an RSS feed? It’s not like you need the hits for advertising because there is none. Please add a feed. I’m a newcomer here but I like what I see.

  3. Great! I thought I was tech savvy but obviously not enough. I do recommend making links to the feed more prevalent. Thanks.

  4. Mr. Nader because of the name which he has made for himself and because of his access to the media may be said to have revived “Who Owns America;” but there are others, individuals and associations such as the Abbeville Institute, who have be writing and dialoging about the book, the authors and the content, for quite some time. Of course, “Who Owns America” is the sequel to “I’ll Take My Stand,” with some of the same writers contributing to both. The prequel to “I’ll Take My Stand,” is a collection of thinkers and authors going back to through the last half of the 19th century down to the late 1840’s, including Robert Dabney, Benjamin Palmer, John Girardeau, and William Gilmore Simms. In the introduction to “I’ll Take My Stand,” it is asserted that Bolshevism will not come to America through the communists but through corporate managers. Allen Tate, one of the Southern Agrarians, writes in “Who Owns America” that the corporation is the stalking horse for Marxism or statism because while the share or stock holders are technically the legal owners the effective owners are the board and the senior management, analogous to a democratic or socialist state in which the citizens are the legal owners but the effective owners are the stock jobbers, ideologues, Briefadel and bureaucrats who animate the ultimate abstract corporation which is the Hobbesian state. Marx correctly said that Hobbes is the father of us all.

  5. One should remember that corporations are not really private. They are creatures of the state which is itself an abstract corporation. Churches as 501C3’s are creatures of the state rather than as they should be the Corpus Christi. If I correctly recall, FPR had an article on the chief author of the 14th amendment and his assistance on the use of “person” rather than “citizen.” Also, if I correctly recall most of the first court cases referencing the 14th amendment were for the benefit of corporations.

Comments are closed.