Blog Credo

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

H.L. Mencken

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Edmund Burke Would Like A Word

When we think of "conservative" we usually think: Reagan!  But the word means something, mainly to conserve or preserve traditions against radical change.

The Conservative Movement - pioneered by people like Phyllis Schlafly and Richard Viguerie and accelerated by people like Jerry Falwell - is only marginally "conservative".  It is really more reactionary.  Reactionary is simply a desire to "turn back the clock" - it's a direction rather than a policy agenda.

So, the Conservative Movement is largely the Reactionary Movement and the Reactionary Movement has largely become entirely synonymous with the Republican Party.

Within the GOP, however, exists a policy agenda that is largely libertarian on economic matters and imperialist in its foreign policy.  This is the agenda of party elites, but Trump has exposed that the mass of the Reactionary Movement has little interested in business deregulation or cuts in the capital gains tax.

At the heart of the modern Reactionary Movement sits White Ethnonationalism.  The past that American Reactionaries want to return to is one that is whiter and more male-dominant than today.  This can take the form of anti-abortion policies, immigration policies or police tactics.  But overall, "take back my country" implicit argues that the country has fallen into the hands of usurpers, and those usurpers are people of color and women.

We now have efforts by "conservative" intellectuals to advocate for Trump.  Their basic argument, however, is not conservative; it is profoundly radical.  They want to burn the whole thing down.  Seriously.  They believe that "political correctness" in all its many forms will destroy the Republic through its use of gender-neutral pronouns.  So we have to install a dangerous narcissistic sociopath.  Those are our options, apparently.

That so-called "conservatives" would advocate for destroying the fabric of American governance exposes the lie that they are conservative in any meaningful use of the word.  They are ethnonationalists.  They don't like the fact that white men don't run everything anymore and they are willing to inflict great pain and turmoil on the country in order to stop efforts to make the country more equal.

That was the impetus behind the John Birch Society and the Klan; Goldwater and Reagan; Buchanan and Duke; and Trump and his tiny, groping hands.

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