Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Sole Survivor

Cursed with second sight.

Alan Pell Crawford, who was "present at the creation" of the modern Conservative Movement, believes now that the Pineapple Ice Cream Conservatism of Andrew Sullivan's dorm-room-bong-a-thon imagination never actually existed (with emphasis added):
Twilight of the Right
When conservatism became a movement, it lost its soul.
By ALAN PELL CRAWFORD • February 26, 2014

I’d like to think that a movement incapable of critical self-examination is doomed, but I have been wrong before. As late as 1992, I wrote in the Washington Post that the Reagan years were a period in which conservatism “was transformed from a philosophy of cautious stewardship into an ideology that encourages individuals to pursue self interest, whatever the consequences to others.” This, again, was probably wishful thinking. I’m no longer persuaded that American conservatism as it has existed for half a century has ever been a “philosophy of cautious stewardship.” I’m not even sure, given the magnitude of this country’s challenges, that “cautious stewardship” will be good enough.

So, in light of my sorry record, I will not hazard a guess to the movement’s future. But I have been to a few Conservative Political Action Conferences through the years, and these annual hootenannies offer some perspective on how conservatism is faring. I attended my first in 1975, if memory serves, and the most recent in 2013. I get to observe how the movement is changing—there are ever bigger crowds—and to see old acquaintances, if not exactly friends, and always admire the orators’ ability to strike a balance between scaring their audiences half to death and assuring them that, with hard work, they will completely annihilate their enemies.

There are always the usual chicken hawks, of course, but I have also noticed, as some of the veterans of these events get up in years, something comparable to chicken hawks on the domestic side. There are the people who don’t go to church themselves but think religion is necessary for others. There are serial monogamists like Rush Limbaugh and Newt Gingrich who express deep-felt concerns about the institution of marriage. There’s the divorced and childless old roué who worries that other white people aren't reproducing in sufficient quantities to maintain their positions of privilege and influence.

But at last year’s CPAC, the venerable Stan Evans offered these worry warts cause for hope. Conservatives might not be having babies fast enough, he said, but liberals “are aborting themselves out of existence.” I am still figuring out whether conservatives should think this is a good thing. If it’s true, they should be able to relax and let the demographics work their will, though that seems a rather Darwinian way to get the job done. I also wonder how it might factor into their “pro-life agenda.”

I’m not sure Evans or his cohorts have given the matter serious thought. But this grisly nightmare vision might well represent the nadir of a “movement” that in its opposition to totalitarianism once claimed a more humane approach to politics, rooted in a respect for the dignity of the individual. This disintegration was many things—but not unpredictable.
Seems like I've been hearing this same fucking prognosis.
From a group called "Liberals".
For decades.
On the other hand, since we're all dead, I suppose it no longer matters who was right and who was Conservative:
Liberals Face A Hard Day’s Knight?
That’s a pretty pathetic knight up there on the cover of the March issue of Harper’s Magazine. Battered and defeated, his shield in pieces, he’s slumped and saddled backwards on a Democratic donkey that has a distinctly woeful — or bored, maybe — countenance. It’s the magazine’s sardonic way of illustrating a powerful throwing down of the gauntlet by political scientist Adolph Reed, Jr. He has challenged the nation’s progressives with an article in the magazine provocatively titled “Nothing Left: The Long, Slow Surrender of American Liberals.”
OK, so Conservatism died. 
Long ago.  
Then its rotting corpse fell off of Mount Reagan. 
Right onto Liberalism. 
Which also died.

Very sad.

Nothing to do now but go through their pockets looking for change.

Change we can believe in.


Cirze said...

Change we need!

(Hope we find it.)

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

BOC references are pretty cool.

OBS said...


That's a very critical umlaut, ZRM. Sheesh.

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

I learned my html on the street, OBS. Not like SOME fancy-pants Sadly moderators.

OBS said...

Where do you think I learned it, some sort of school or something? As if.