Thursday, June 9, 2016

Conservatism is Dead. So What Comes Next?

There's a piece in the American Spectator today saying: sorry, neoconservatives, you were wrong, about Iraq and other things. Then there is Vox Day responding to SF novelist John C. Wright about what to think about "Who Killed Conservatism."

The point is that the conservatism that triumphed with the Reagan administration in the 1980s is dead. Who killed it? No, not the neoconservatives, and not the various sectors of the conservative movement, or the "cuckservatives."

What killed conservatism was the so-called "progressives."

The point of post-World War II conservatism was to amend soften the administrative state of the Roosevelt years, to bring back some semblance of the market and unbuild the corporative regulative state which was strangling America. And it proposed to continue the containment of the Soviet Union started by Democratic President Harry Truman. Oh, and it was on-board with the civil rights revolution. In the votes for the Civil Rights Acts the northern Democrats were most in favor, Republicans next, and Southern Democrats last.

This conservative movement had its finest hour in the 1980s when the misgovernment of the 1970s from both parties provided an opening for an "amiable dunce" like Ronald Reagan to implement a supply-side revolution based on lower tax rates, spending cuts, and deregulation, and a determination to win the Cold War.

The success was remarkable, and conservatives thought that liberals had got the message. The economy thrives best if the government keeps a distance, and the Soviet Union was an evil empire.

But it turned out that liberals merely hated the Eighties and the message it brought, and instead signed up for a hyped-up Marxism from the Frankfurt School, that switched the focus of leftist politics from the working class to racial and gender identity politics.

This completely changed the rules.

There really is no compromise between a free-market national conservatism and the left's gender identity politics. But the conservatism of Bill Buckley and the Jewish neoconservatives was not built to deal with that. So it had to be destroyed.

But nothing happened for a while as the two implacable sides faced off through the Bush and Obama years. However, we can now see that something was building, ready to blow the lid off.

But what everyone forgot about was the white working class, once the "little darlings" of the liberals but cast out to outer darkness when the liberals got race politics and gender politics in the 1960s, and now dying of despair.

The interesting thing about the new liberal politics was that it did not make ordinary white middle class Americans into the villains, although it did continue to harass corporate CEOs and "country-club" Republicans. Instead it made working class white Americans into its Emmanuel Goldstein. They were racists and bigots, like Archie Bunker. It is hard to know why liberals did this. My guess is that liberals could not square the circle politically if the white working class was to continue being its little darlings as well as their new hot numbers, blacks and women.

It has taken 50 years for white working class Americans to find a way out of their despair as the forgotten Americans. That's because the Republican Party and conservatives generally had nothing to say to working class Americans because Republicans and conservatives are People of the Responsible Self that think you should get off your butt and make things happen in your life rather than wait for a leader to lead you to the promised land. The white working class, then and now, is People of the Subordinate Self. It expects to be led.

Well we know what happened next. Donald Trump. Who knew that you could bring the white working class into the Republican Party by offering to build a wall with Mexico, and hammer the Chinese sending us all those cheap smartphones and making "politically incorrect" statements that would have sunk any other candidate?

And who would have thought that Trump's candidacy would have demolished the old conservative coalition? As Newt Gingrich has said:
You have a Trump -- this absurd amateur. I mean it's not technically possible -- all of us, men and women in politics -- it's not technically possible to announce in June for the presidency never having run for anything and then beat 16 people... And he just beat them all.
 Actually, there is nothing unusual here. The Republican Party is constitutionally incapable of fishing for votes. It has always been, in the words of Michael Barone, a party of people that think of themselves as "typical Americans." Thus, it has never had anything to say to hyphenated Americans. But it has never had to, because group after group has been thrown out of the Democratic Party: social conservatives, Christians, and they had nowhere to go but the Republican Party. Finally the white working class has finally given up on the Democrats and found a candidate to bring them into the Republican Party.

Now things will never be the same. And really, it's a good thing. That's because we have been waffling on with the old conservatism when the assumptions have changed.

We are no longer dealing with the old liberal ruling class that just wanted to regulate everything from Washington. We are dealing with a progressive cultural Marxist movement that wants to fundamentally transform everything in America. So now we need a different political and cultural movement to defeat and destroy the progressive left. We cannot continue with the go-along to get-along conservatism of old.

Is the answer coming from Vox Day and the AltRight? Day says that the AltRight stands for the following

  1. Nationalism
  2. Western Civilization
  3. Winning
I imagine that is based on the idea that the national state is the best thing yet invented for creating a unified political community, a demos. And that western civilization with its markets and law and limited government is the best thing yet invented for humans to wive and thrive. And that the time has come to stop being the Outer Party that governs when in office, while the Inner Party rules when in office. (Compare the Bush and Obama administrations.)

But you can see that, whatever is going to replace the old conservatism, we really haven't a clue how the replacement will work out.

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