The discussion on ‘conservatism’

In the wake of the National Review hit-piece on Donald Trump there has been a slew of postings on the ‘alt-right’ side of the blogosphere discussing ‘conservatism’, especially in relation to populism.

But by far the most comments online seem to be related to the term ‘cuckservatives’, which affronts the ‘establishment conservatives‘ so much. But if the shoe doesn’t fit, then don’t wear it. Don’t take offense if the label does not apply, is the response I would offer to the ‘respectable right’, (who, of course, preserve their “respectable” status by making occasional genuflections to the Politically Correct gods.)

Rich Lowry was right about one thing: Trump is not a ”conservative”, at least not by his definition. Trump is a populist, and yet why should that be a bad thing? It seems that over the decades populism has fallen out of favor with both major political parties. The left has forsaken the common middle-class American, if they ever in fact represented them, and has abandoned the working poor, or the lower middle-class wage earner, in favor of championing the underclass and the ‘huddled masses’ streaming into America. In other words, the majority of Americans, particularly White American citizens, have no one representing their interests.

Since my early days of blogging I’ve been open about having been a deluded liberal in my younger days, and when I finally cottoned onto the fact that the Democrats and their ilk (including the Bernie Sanders-style left) don’t care a whit about common folk, I still found the Republican alternative unappealing because to me they merely represented Big Business, corporatism, military adventurism, and the wrong kind of ‘elitism.’ However, for most Southrons, the Republicans were the only option because they at least pretended to support freedom of religion and traditional America. But this has in recent years proven to be a facade, so my initial misgivings about the Republicans were correct.

I have long thought that if the ‘old right’ returned to its populist roots, to its nationalistic philosophy, so-called ‘isolationism’ or noninterventionism, it could reach many disaffected people, but the Republican party has been a determined opponent of populism and the old-style conservatism of Robert Taft, et al.

But there has to be a balance, shunning populism of the Jacobin/egalitarian kind and also the elitism which characterizes the ‘country club’ Republicans and the limousine liberals alike. The ‘common man’ is not more virtuous just because of his commonness, nor is the wealthy man more virtuous because his wealth indicates his superior ‘fitness’ to compete. Both views are inaccurate to some degree. But there has to be a balance struck. The ”right” as it exists now leans more towards the ‘let them eat cake’ social Darwinism, ignoring the fact that many people with good work ethics are now unemployed (and unemployable for various reasons — immigration being one such reason). The right and left alike ignore these casualties of the ‘devil take the hindmost’ approach, and both political parties scramble to position themselves as friends of the supposed hard-working immigrants and minority victims-du-jour.

Meanwhile the rest of us are forgotten or consigned to the human junk heap.

Much of the discussion of the failings of ‘conservatism’, or at least, ‘Conservatism, Inc.’, consists of denunciations of conservatism per se, with a great many comments stating that conservatives and conservatism are useless, and are in fact ”the enemy.”

But is that true? Is this throwing the baby out with the bathwater? Is there no need for conserving what is good, true, workable, useful, successful? No need for conserving and preserving our true history, our heritage, our accomplishments? No need for those who would try to preserve the good name of our ancestors and forebears? Or must we be like the Jacobins, who had no use for the past, for religion, for tradition, and who foolishly thought to set the calendar back to the year zero, and even ‘change the days and times’, naming the months and days anew? Must we reinvent the wheel, just because those who should have been conservators of the essentials were not faithful to the task?

I have always been wary of those ‘mainstream’ conservatives of the NR ilk who talk about ”conservative ideology.’ Never trust anyone who uses those two words together. They don’t belong in the same sentence. The phrase is oxymoronic. Conservatism does not consist of an ideology, which is a set of beliefs or doctrines. An ideology is a mental construct, a set of abstractions or free-floating ideals. Just as America being reduced to a set of propositions (such as freedom, liberty, equality, social justice, or what have you) rather than a concrete thing based on bloodlines and territory, has corrupted the very nature of this nation. Nation implies flesh-and-blood people, not bloodless mental constructs and utopian ideals or intellectual abstractions.

Beware ideologues of all stripes.

Ideologies are for ideologues. Ideologues are generally those hyper-intellectual people for whom everything is a mental game, not a concrete reality. Leftist are ideologues par excellence, and as one of their intellectual fathers, Hegel, was supposed to have said when someone told him his ideas didn’t line up with the facts, “so much the worse for the facts.” This is the cry of the ideologue, whether a liberal, a libertarian, or a ”conservative” of the ideological type. It is this latter which has destroyed the good name of ”conservatism.”

Conservatism refers to a certain habit of mind, a temperament, a disposition. ‘Conservative’ once referred to those who are dispositionally wary of rapid or wholesale change. Conservative means favoring the guarding of the worthwhile things of the past. Conservatives heed the Bible passage that warns us not to touch ”the ancient landmark.” The Bible teaches us conservatism when it tells us to ‘seek out the old paths, and walk therein‘.  However, when so many of the ancient landmarks are being razed, and when the ‘old paths’ are deliberately obliterated, by those on the ”right” as much as the left, then we have to become reactionaries or restorationists. But let’s not condemn the idea of conserving what is good, just because some have falsely worn the label of conservative and destroyed the good name thereof.

For now, we have to try to reclaim what is good and true and proven, and expose those who fraudulently represent themselves as ‘conserving’ anything except their bank accounts and profits. Let’s conserve our birthright and our people.



One thought on “The discussion on ‘conservatism’

  1. I agree on the dangers of ideology. There’s a lot to be said for common sense, caution and pragmatism. Don’t try to fix things until they actually break. Traditional ways of doing things become traditional because they work.

    And I also agree on populism. It’s kind of bizarre that in societies that call themselves democracies any politician who offers people what they actually want is regarded with a mixture of scorn and fear. Apparently democracy is so precious that it has to be kept out of the hands of ordinary people!


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