As historian George Nash described the “Right-wing renascence,” there were three branches. The first consisted of what he called “the ‘classical liberals’ or ‘libertarians’,” such as Friedrich Hayek, Ludwig von Mises, Joseph Schumpeter, all strong “antistatists.” Many of these people had fled to the United States after having suffered from the European authoritarian revolutions carried out in the name of fascism and communism. They had a number of American-born disciples or counterparts, including Henry Hazlitt, Milton Friedman, and Murray Rothbard. Their conservatism was nearly all about laissez-faire: a free-market economy and a noninterventionist state.
A second strain, wrote Nash, consisted of “a militant, evangelistic anti- Communism, shaped decisively by a number of influential ex-radicals of the 1930s, including Whittaker Chambers, James Burnham, Frank Meyer, Elizabeth Bentley, and many more.” For those people who believed they had seen the Devil and had fled to sound the alarm, liberalism was just an early stage of communism.
A third component consisted of a resurgent “traditionalism [that] urged a return to traditional religion and ethical absolutes and a rejection of the ‘relativism’ which had allegedly corroded Western values and produced an intolerable vacuum that was filled by demonic ideologies.” Leaders in this group ranged in style and intellectual substance from Leo Strauss, Russell Kirk, Peter Viereck, and William F. Buckley, Jr., to Billy Graham, Pat Robertson, and Jerry Falwell.
The first two branches of the New Conservatism that Nash described expressed primarily resentment toward the evolution of American liberalism away from its classical antistatist phase.