This weekend, Mr. Andrew Sullivan went down to the basement to mix up a batch of every pundit's favorite popskull poteen: True Conservatism.
And queued up right next to the still, with money in-hand and positively shaking with the TCDTs (True Conservative Delirium Tremens) was Senator Ben Sasse:
well worth a read...— Ben Sasse (@BenSasse) September 15, 2018
America Desperately Needs a Healthy Conservatism
by Andrew Sullivan https://t.co/fFCbhAyNfn
True Conservatism (also known as "Pineapple Ice Cream Conservatism"*, as one wag once dubbed it or "Unicorn Piss", as one wag is dubbing it now) is eternal. No matter what happens -- no matter if the bathtub still where True Conservatives are brewing up their latest iteration of Unicorn Piss explodes, or the entire building burns down, or they invade the wrong country, or nuke the global economy -- none of that matters to them. None of it counts. Because as long as they have a copy of the original recipe and access to basic materials and collaborators in the media, they can always whomp up another batch, anywhere else, at any time.
So, before we plunge headlong into the woozy, boozy world of True Conservatism Unicorn Piss, lets get our facts straight. From David Leonhardt in the NYT yesterday:
‘Trump Derangement Syndrome’ Is a MythIn truth, the facts have never supported the story, so a really obvious first question would be, why has the story persisted?
And the Democratic Party has not actually become a band of radical leftists.
Conventional wisdom says that the middle is disappearing from American politics: The Republicans have moved far to the right, the Democrats far to the left, and woe to any moderate voters looking for politicians to represent their views.
Well, the conventional wisdom is wrong. The Democrats have not actually become radical leftists, or anything close to it.
You keep hearing this story partly because Republicans have an obvious interest in promoting it and partly because large parts of the news media find it irresistible. It’s a “both side do it” angle that allows us journalists to appear tough, knowing and above the partisan scrum. We love that image. But the facts don’t support the story in this case...
Well, in the case of Both Siderist and True Conservative pundits, the answer is obvious: if the Both Siderist lie collapses, so do their careers and reputations. And so, for True Conservatives to pass their Unicorn Piss off as the enlightened middle between the Extremes on Both Sides, all problems must be amputated and rearranged on the bloody scales of false equivalence until they are perfectly divided between the Left and the Right.
From Mr. Andrew Sullivan:
America Desperately Needs a Healthy ConservatismThe rest of the Mr. Sullivan's "diary" consists of him ranging up and down the history of Western Civilization and claiming that Virtually Every Good Thing That Ever Happened from the Magna Carta to the Tennessee Valley Authority to the Instant Replay is obviously the invisible hand of True Conservatism at work.
In these fetid times, it’s easy to know what you’re against. And I’ve spent many diaries assailing the dueling Trump and “social justice” cults on the illiberal right and left these past several months...
In today’s America, this conservatism is completely under siege. The left will increasingly tolerate nothing that gets in the way of what it calls “social justice,” which far too often reduces individuals to their racial or class or gender identities rather than their merits, or character, or talents...
But conservatism is more deeply besieged by the Republican Party, its alleged harbor. If you consider the themes I’ve emphasized above, it becomes clearer that the GOP is not only not conservative, but actually dedicated to destroying that tradition...
The elite indifference to mass immigration — especially the illegal kind — is an ugly pact between Republican elites, eager for cheap, exploitable labor, and Democratic elites, who cynically encourage it because they think it will give them a reliable voting bloc...
Without a healthy conservatism, liberalism will degenerate. Without liberalism, conservatism has no inheritance to defend. And both rich veins in Western moderation are now under assault from the ideological left and the authoritarian right. We have to brave this pincer attack, conservatives and liberals together, or we will die together...
Like the Holy Spirit, True Conservatism bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth. This why the sellers of Unicorn Piss are always be guaranteed a profitable customer base of twitchy Centrists, deluded Independents and gutless Both Siderists, pantingly eager to buy whatever turpentine-and-crushed-up-dollar-store-peppermint sludge they're hawking as God's Own Water of Life this time around.
Because, in addition to Eye of Newt, bone of the father, unknowingly given and hemp, according to Mr. Sullivan, here is a partial list of the unique and glorious virtues you the customer will find in every bottle of True Conservatism.
...abhors war as the ultimate change-maker and disrupter
...it despises concepts of race or gender that eradicate the uniqueness of the individual; it defends high culture against philistinism and mediocrity
...values the particular over the general
...prefers present laughter to utopian bliss
...relishes humor in all its forms
...defends art as an apolitical force
...respects religion as a separate avenue for the search for ultimate truth, and a critical component of the civil and moral society that enables government to be small and limited.
...can tackle soaring social and economic inequality as a way to save capitalism, restore the financial sector as an aid to free markets and not their corrupting parasite
...emphatically does not mean resistance to all change. In fact, it understands some change as critical to conservation.
...will end our unending wars
...[will] rid the criminal justice system of its racial blind spots
...[will] defend liberal education and high culture against the barbarians of postmodernism and the well-intentioned toxins of affirmative action
...[will] pay down the debt
...[will] reform the corruption of religious faith
...[will] protect our physical landscape
...[will] invest in non-carbon energy
...[will] begin at the local level to rebuild community and the spirit of American civil association.
And this is why the fairy tale of the perfect batch of Unicorn Piss -- which has never existed outside of Mr. Sullivan's ideological dorm room -- persists.
Because, like smoking, sneering at Both Sides and extolling the glories of an Imaginary Center, is the perfect cynical pose for the young and foolish, which quickly becomes the unbreakable addiction of the old and cowardly who no longer dare to form their mouths to say that "The Left has been right about the Right all along". And the deeper they sink into their Unicorn Piss cups, the more desperately they cling to the fantasy of the an Imaginary True Conservatism is their infinitely versatile answer to every inconvenient question.
It is a gallon jug of All Good Things and No Bad Things that never runs dry. It pairs well with fish, tofu and gator meat. It is self-lubricating and water absorbent and water resistant. It conflicts with nothing except those terrible Extremes on Both Sides. It's a floor wax. It's a dessert topping. It takes the shape of whatever container you pour it into and will solve whatever problem happens to be vexing you at this moment. It'll grow your hair back, lose you 30 pounds, get you laid like a rock star and runs on sunshine and mindfulness.
At least that's what it says on the label.
On fact, it is an addiction cycle being maintained by pushers who have nothing but to Unicorn Piss left to sell, and users who are terrified of stopping. A scam that depends entirely selling cowards and quislings a new batch of True Conservatism as the whiz-bang, never-fail, sure-fire cure to --
-- the savage hangover from their last True Conservatism bender.
*Pineapple Ice Cream Conservatism:
If Mr. Sullivan suddenly developed a taste for pineapple ice cream, within a week he would be penning columns about how "Liking Pineapple Ice Cream" is a cardinal Conservative value because of something something Edmund Burke. If he got sick on bad Thai food, we would suddenly see a spate of columns discussing bad Thai food and how it is something that only extreme Christianists or Left Liberal would ever put in their mouths.
He is, at best, a flighty dilettante with a wealth patron and does not have the slightest fucking clue about how his adopted country works.
Behold, a Tip Jar!