Wednesday, October 05, 2016

The Death of Conservatism

PDM attacks the conservatives who are wholly leftist progressive in their thought:
The Case Against “the Conservative Case. . .”
Anyway, I do not concede that tighter immigration and trade policies will contract the American economy. But even if I knew they would, I would still favor them because I think, at this point, a smaller pie more evenly distributed among fellow citizens is a more urgent priority than a larger pie with every new slice going to the top. That’s to say nothing about all the attendant costs and collateral damage of mass immigration, even if one accepts that it’s always “good for the economy,” which I don’t. And even if I did, I would still support the right of the sovereign people to curtail or stop it at any time, for any reason.

Pethokoukis can’t because he has absorbed the core premises of the Left. “That’s racist!” This points to one of the deepest problems with “conservative intellectualism.” It accepts, out of conviction or fear or both, every restriction the Left places on it. The left rules out-of-bounds any discussion of the cultural or political effects of immigration as “racist,” and the conservatives go along. Hence they can only talk about immigration in economic terms, as if human beings were widgets.
He concludes with:
If so, I think we’ve finally found some common ground. If you’re going to treat me like an enemy, I may as well start acting like one. As I’ve also written, those of us who still call ourselves “conservatives” are going to have to have big argument. People like Pethokoukis and myself—who appear to have nothing culturally, intellectually, or politically in common any more—are going to end up on opposite sides, to the extent that we aren’t already.

I don’t know James Pethokoukis. But I know lots of “conservatives” just like him: eager, even giddy, to throw anyone ostensibly on their side to the Leftist wolves.

I’m tired of being shot in the back my “friends.” It’s high time to turn around and let them shoot me in the face, in frank acknowledgement that I am their enemy.

Truth is, there’s nothing “conservative” about any of these people. But who cares about the word anymore? If they want to fight like dogs over who gets that bone, let them have it. Read me out of “conservatism.” Actually, you can’t fire me—I quit! If “conservatism” requires going to the wall for open borders, foolish trade deals, endless war, and head-in-the-sand “optimism,” to say nothing of routine denunciation of “racism” that’s far more imagined than real, then I am not conservative. I’ll take “patriotic” and “sane” instead.

As those of us inclined toward this way of thinking desert, or are ejected from, what’s left of “conservatism,” the movement will accelerate its decades-long drift toward ever-closer collaboration with its ostensible opponent. Within the first four years of the second Clinton Administration, don’t be surprised to see “A Conservative Case for Reeducation Camps.” Perhaps James Pethokoukis will write it.
As with his Flight 93 article and follow up response to critics, PDM makes the articulate Alt-Right case against conservatism.

Thinking about the changes underway, I believe we are witnessing the power of the Internet reaching full bloom. The power of politics and media and the academy, to a large extent the Cathedral, is built upon control of the Narrative, control of the microphone. The Cathedral does not allow you to use the microphone if you are not promoting the Cathedral. It's not all rah-rah Cathedral all the time, allowing some dissent promotes the idea that the Cathedral is open and tolerant. But don't expect to hear any real opposition, it will either be defanged opposition, or so far out there as to be laughable, such as the FBI staffed KKK.

You can have a managed democracy with control of the microphone because you can control the conversation and manufacture consent. Most people "retweet" what they hear. You present a left-right paradigm, or a red-blue, or a Coke-Pepsi, and most people will adopt one or the other side's arguments. If someone thinks we should be talking about another topic, or thinks the breakdown should be different, don't give them the microphone. Or if they managed to grab it, lower their social status. Many people "retweet" to show status.

The Internet puts everyone on the same level as the Cathedral in the realm of communications. A single individual has the same potential audience reach as the New York Times. "We democracy now" might well be the motto of 2016, as what's unfolding is not merely populism, but the destruction of political gatekeepers. The Cathedral, both conservative and progressive wings, can rail about populism, but ultimately their complaint is with democracy.

The conservative is in the unenviable position, taking punches from all sides. The Alt-Right is populist and democratic, but rejects egalitarianism and universalism at the tribal level. The conservative calls them racist. Neoreaction does the Alt-Right one better and rejects democracy too. If conservatives were mostly opposed to populism, they'd be heading in the direction of Neoreaction. They don't attack democracy though, they attack the expansion of democracy into the arena of public debate. It isn't the populism they have a problem with, but the message. The same position as the progressives.

Conservative appeals to egalitarianism and universalism unmask them as progressives, and their opposition to populism unmasks them as elitists. They are the Outer Party of the Cathedral, but serve no purpose if they cannot get the Right to submit to Cathedral rule. Conservatism is dead.

Related: After the Republic
This election is about whether the Democratic Party, the ruling class’s enforcer, will impose its tastes more strongly and arbitrarily than ever, or whether constituencies opposed to that rule will get some ill-defined chance to strike back. Regardless of the election’s outcome, the republic established by America’s Founders is probably gone. But since the Democratic Party’s constituencies differ radically from their opponents’, and since the character of imperial governance depends inherently on the emperor, the election’s result will make a big difference in our lives.

...We have stepped over the threshold of a revolution. It is difficult to imagine how we might step back, and futile to speculate where it will end. Our ruling class’s malfeasance, combined with insult, brought it about. Donald Trump did not cause it and is by no means its ultimate manifestation. Regardless of who wins in 2016, this revolution’s sentiments will grow in volume and intensity, and are sure to empower politicians likely to make Americans nostalgic for Donald Trump’s moderation.

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