Thursday, February 14, 2013

Stupid Shit Andrew Sullivan Says, Ctd.



Over at "The Daily Larison muses/ Drum asks/ A reader writes...  Dish", Andrew Sullivan is once again fucking making sweet, sweet Burkean love to that same, tired "They're not real Conservatives" chicken (emphasis added):
What’s revealing to me is how it now takes a lefty like Kornacki to defend basic parliamentary tradition. No entity in our polity right now is more radical and revolutionary than the current GOP: their contempt for institutional custom knows few bounds when it comes to the short-term tactical possibility of impeding even a newly re-elected president, after losing the popular vote for the presidency, Senate and House. The whole concept of putting country before party is that sometimes you take the long national view rather than the short partisan one. You give the other party a chance to govern, as the Democrats did Reagan. But the anti-conservative revolutionary party that Gingrich began and Kristol egged on is now in its zombie stage – with no viable way back to majority status but lunging slowly and malevolently toward anything that is not far right. That includes the Constitution and its evolved customs and parliamentary traditions.
-- Andrew SullivanFebruary 14, 2103
Dear Andrew,

As I have patiently explained to you over and over again, Conservatism in your abstract, affinity purified, solvent extracted, academic sense does not exist in America:
What has existed in America during all the "decades" that Mr. Sullivan has been lending it his academic, intellectual and gay-friendly credentials has been American Conservatism: a deeply authoritarian, massively well-funded movement to "conserve" the social and religious ideals of the Confederate States of America.
This if because:

...Conservatism is...software.  An app, that can be loaded into any platform that features "traditional rules and existing institutions" under assault by headlong revolutionaries.

...

But like so many of Conservatism's dilettante Useful Idiots, Mr. Sullivan cannot bring himself face what happens in the real, non-Beltway world when those abstract, dorm-room ideals are adopted by bad people fighting to preserve despicable institutions.

What happens when those "traditional rules" are the pro-ignorance, anti-science, anti-female, homophobic tenets of Conservative Christian fundamentalism?

What happens when the "existing institution" is white supremacy, girded generation after generation by an ancient, paranoid, rage against those damn Yankee devils and their Evil Gummint in Washington interfering with their traditional, bible sanctioned way of life?

These are the true and terrible realities of what happened to Conservatism in America, which is why Mr. Sullivan instead prefers to jerk off endlessly about what I refer to as (and am probably borrowing from some cleverer person) "Firefly Conservatism".  A Conservatism with all the  glories and grace notes of the antebellum South -- the nobility of a Great Cause all dressed up in buckskin and clever dialogue about liberty and scrappy underdogs standing up to the Oppressive Buttinski Central Gummint -- shorn completely of the brutal, racist realities out of which that culture grew. 

Liberals have gotten this right since the beginning.

And thus, just like Sarah Palin and Bill Kristol  and Sean Hannity, instead of honestly facing Conservatiism real American history, Mr. Sullivan is busy rewriting the past to suit his fantasies.

To this end, Mr. Sullivan conflates the very different fates and histories of four, prominent apostate Conservatives -- "Posner or Greenspan or Bartlett or Frum" -- who (like Mr. Sullivan) spent most of their professional lives carrying water for the bad guys and who have only very recently left the Movement...or have been frog-marched out of it against their will.

In Mr. Sullivan's telling, these often-very-reluctant 11th hour converts to "honest Conservatism" are heroes of "intellectual honesty" who ("unlike so many who pass for conservative intellectuals these days") come by their beliefs via "independent thinking and study."

Of course, if all you knew about the last 40 years of American political history was Mr. Sullivan's fairy tale, you would never know that the ground which Mr. Sullivan's League of Extraordinary Burkeans have been forced to reluctantly occupy has been the intellectual homeland of a group of people called "Liberals" for generations (or, as one long-forgotten wag once put it, "repeating as breathless epiphany stuff thoughtful Liberals have been saying for 30 years.")

Instead, in Mr. Sullivan's telling, his band of Honest Conservatives has not only had to overcome the perils of the Fire Swamp -- "[t]he raving loons in the GOP base" and those "who pass for conservative intellectuals these days" -- but (as is the case in all Apostate Conservative fairy tales)  these noble, white, well-paid Conservative men have had to contend with the wiliest enemy of them all. 

The Dirty Fucking Hippie:
Each one of them, unlike so many who pass for conservative intellectuals these days, has his own view of the world, formed by independent thinking and study - often in the face of institutional liberal disdain.
Right now, America's Leading Conservative Public Intellectuals exist in a despised intellectual limbo between the ravening monster they helped create...and those who were right about the monster all along.   Which is why -- no less than Palin, Hannity and Kristol -- America's Leading Conservative Public Intellectuals are frantically rewriting history to recast themselves as the heroes and sages of the age to come, and to remove from the public record any hint that the Dirty Fucking Hippie were right all along...
So let me ask you again, very patiently:  What exactly is it about this state of affairs that you are too fucking thick to comprehend?


5 comments:

kcBill13 said...

So Sully is still at it. I think he does understand, but like Upton Sinclair said about being paid to not understand. That kind of understanding that comes with starting a new media enterprise, and knowing you will continue to make money

kcBill13 said...

So Sully is still at it. I think he does understand, but like Upton Sinclair said about being paid to not understand. That kind of understanding that comes with starting a new media enterprise, and knowing you will continue to make money

Suzan said...

Answer:

Everything.

Nothing.

Bravo, Dg!

S

Roger said...

I don't loathe Sully as much as you do - but then I am a Brit who lives just down the road from the Sussex town he grew up in, has a not entirely dissimilar working class Irish Catholic background and like him went through my own delayed adolescent Tory Boy stage (but in my case I did grow up).

And this is the key to his problem - even after half a lifetime in the States he still sees conservatism through blue-tinted English Tory spectacles and indeed Tories have (barring a dubious proto-fascist phase during the last great Irish Home Rule crisis just before WW1) been willing to act as a loyal parliamentary opposition.

And even now when they are gleefully engaged in destroying the welfare state our Tories still avoid the know nothing idiocies of US Republicans (although this is at least partly because if there are any UK votes in Guns, Gays and Jesus they are probably liberal ones) and the decimated and despoiled welfare state that will be left when they are kicked out of office will still be more progressive than any American liberal can dream of.

So almost everything he writes about US Republicans has an underlying whine of 'why can't they be like my old friends David Cameron and Boris Johnson' (although had they noticed him at all when they were all at Oxford together they doubtless mocked him behind his back as a pansy state school oik) as well as snobbery of the sort that only upwardly mobile members of the English middle class still excel at.

This is particularly evident with his obsessive virtual vendetta against Sarah Palin - who represents not an ideological enemy (after all they actually agree on rather a lot politically) but just the wrong class of person altogether.

After all he pulled himself up from his rural (well by British standards) and lower class roots, went to a top university, worked a real apprenticeship in what was a real profession (of sorts), assiduously liked the asses of every one who could advance his career, crossed the Atlantic to the land where ones class background is not supposed to matter - and was still never quite admitted to the inner circles of power around whose edges he had been circling ever since that first day at Oxford.

And then along come this Alaskan Troglodytess with a joke degree in Sports Journalism from somewhere he didn't even think they had colleges and is straight away catapulted to the heights of fame and fortune - while poor Andrew Sullivan who loves America so much it hurts was not even sure for year after year whether his Green Card will get renewed or whether he'll be be unceremoniously deported back to England as a failure.

So he's a much more complex and in his weird little way a tragic figure than a David Brooks as he is doomed by his peculiar position to remain a perpetual outsider.

If like Hitchens he had mixed with the Trots and Labourites at Oxford rather than the Tories he could have effortlessly inserted himself into the liberal media elite of NYC and Washington.

But because he was a conservative that route was closed to him (especially after his misdeeds at The New Republic) - and because he was a snobbish, socially liberal and gay British conservative there was no place for him at the National Review and what was to become the Fox propaganda machine - and so appropriately enough for Catholic he must remain forever circling around in a virtual Limbo never admitted to either Left or Right.

Anonymous said...

Not to mention that ``lefty'' Kornacki is just a nice, intelligent, sweet, run-of-the-mill garden-variety Constitution-admiring liberal who has encyclopedic recall of political minutiae -- which just makes him someone who pays more the fuck attention to facts than Andrew Sullivan.