MY VIEW OF AMERICAN CONSERVATISM NOW, INCLUDING EXPERIENCES WITH REPUBLICAN PARTY AND TRUMP ERA VOTERS
I once defined myself as a ‘Conservative,’ because I was finding the closest description to my views as it was then. So, I do not define myself in this sense anymore. However, mostly, it has to do with Trumpism, after it obtained control of the Republican Party, supported by the grand majority of its voters and representatives. I knew I was not a Democrat, and could not be of their Party. Did my views change? In principle, no. I am even becoming more socially conservative, which I did not anticipate. It is perhaps, not anticipated by others as well, regarding an “occultist/esotericist,” but such is based on ignorance and perverse notions in the culture. Regarding my view since then on Conservatism: “American Conservatism” is very strange. A Conservative I listened to once was careful to differentiate ‘European Conservatism’ (i.e., through Burke) from ‘American Conservatism’ (through the New Deal before the fifties to Kirk, etc).
In a crisis of political identity for some time in the past decade, the young generation (including Libertarians on ‘the Right’) began to ask as generations before them asked, “What is Conservatism,” and “What are the Roots of the ‘Historic Right’.” Naturally, some turned to traditionalist European Conservatism, Dark Enlightenment thought, &c. — soon encountering a rabbit-hole of fringe ideas and memetic-ism. Plainly, I am very confused about Modern American Conservatism. While, I no doubt come across a great many well-written articles from “Conservative intellectuals,” I never find its elegance, grace and morality expressed in action by Republicans who ironically for decades in this country, have become wholly and nothing but synonymous with “Conservative.” There is a failure to articulate respectable and noble ideas today about preservation of culture, heritage, family, etc, which it no doubt possesses. So, therefore it cannot impress itself on the culture.
“There is no reason for conservatives to adopt a dichotomy that was drawn up for them by their adversaries. All too many conservatives have misunderstood their own tradition because of their thoughtless acceptance of this Schlesingerian division. Russell Kirk certainly rejected it: In A Program for Conservatives, Kirk contended that Hamilton did not qualify as a conservative, and urged that “the liberal is mistaken, and the conservative ill-advised if they try to make Hamilton into the founder of our conservative politics.”Likewise, nearly four decades ago these very pages carried a rather different assessment of where conservatives’ sympathies should lie. In “The Jeffersonian Conservative Tradition (Union and Empire),” Clyde N. Wilson argued, correctly in my view, that the proper conservative position was that of Jefferson: strict construction of the Constitution, states’ rights, and a relatively weak executive.
If anything identifies a conservative, it is his realistic appraisal of human nature—his appreciation of what is good and admirable, and his recognition of what is base. He understands the need for institutional restraints to keep man’s predatory instincts under control. That is especially true with regard to the exercise of political power.” (Thomas Woods, American Conservatism & the Old Republic)
None of this “philosophy” of Kirk seem to translate from the paper to the political pulpit, and in the actions of these lawyer-politicians — buffoons, top-hats and snakes, claiming to be for the “working-class.” It manifests as something else. And that I’d say, is not merely ironic, but yes — confusing.
The Republican voters interviewed on cameras say, “I’m more Conservative (or identify more as Conservative) than Republican.” What does this mean, when being Conservative supersedes being a Republican? And if being Conservative is something, which supersedes being a Republican, than why call the Party by the latter name? Now, since the Party is the Party of Trump, what is so Republican about it, or even truly Conservative? The identity, or the idea of what is actually a “Republican” does not come to their mind at all; and not especially to party voters and representatives, that believe “Liberalism is a mental disorder,” and claim that only they (!) “Love America.” You find it repeated ad nauseum in comment sections. Republican is a name placeholder for a Conservative movement that has long now claimed the Party, and established many organizations and advocacy groups to maintain its influence. However, despite semantics and linguistics, it seemed to me, no matter what you called yourself, you were hated for being on the other side.
Yet, the ideas of the alt-right and Trump were simple to recognize through the paleo-conservatives. It was not much difference. Trump’s views were merely the culmination of decades of talking points from paleoconservative radio show hosts I observed, rather than a coup on the Party. I was very upset with how they treated President Obama, though I was not fond of the cultism he generated. I heard everything Trump said his entire campaign last election from hosts like Limbaugh and Savage since 2000 on my little radio in my pre-teen years listening to political radio channels. Strangely, political talking soothed me. However, the yelling from the likes of Savage was nonetheless, an entertaining source of laughter.
Now, GOP voters were with Trump, and just wanted their representatives to concede defeat to authority in Donald J. Trump. Nevertheless, when I think of American Conservatism, I can only now think of Trump (or Trumpism), and political cowardice. Trump had utilized the slurring of the old Lügenpresse tactic so well, that any Republican Party representative who were against Trump prior to the primary nomination were seen as part of a grand conspiracy. There were purges and so forth. I was witness to oddly, true anti-Jewish (I’m not talking about criticism of Israel and the Israel lobby) sentiment entering in this time, among other elements, which were just a mixture of influences. Neoconservatism became the term for a scapegoat in both casual and political conversation with party members.
The annoyance of trolls and anonymous accounts, which read like agents sniffing around with weird questions so out in the public of social media, or just merely coming off as zealots and idiots has irreparably ruined my idea of American Conservatism. Even among its intellectuals, like Ben Shapiro — I began to see through his rhetoric shortly after he came to Chicago once. I did not even huddle with my college Republican group, when they took a group picture with him, simply because of his comments about single-parent Black households, among other things he covers by mentioning “data” all the time. Speaking to nothing but a bunch of white suburban students, and being merely one of three Black students there, seeing them nod and laugh agreeably to Mr. Shapiro on issues he has no experience living under was embarrassing. There was one other young Black student in the group in that picture those couple years back, but it was not going to be me. I can say, that these influential minds are manipulating voters and appealing to them with nonsense, keeping them in a constant cyclical state of fear and paranoia about “invasions of immigrants” &c., but I have no influence, or corporations in my pocket. I’m one man thrown into the fray of this political squabble, in which my view is outnumbered.
For example, on Twitter, I wrote frustratingly in late August, “Republican Party is losing its mind over its envy for Ilhan Omar and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez,” in reaction to Alabamian Republicans, since 78% of Minnesota’s 5th District elected Rep. Ilhan Omar, despite certain controversies as of late. These obsessions frustrate, numb, and bore me, when I believe this Party has issues within it, which it fails to reflect upon. Trump was never a revolution within the Party. He provides for them the perfect excuse, not to reflect, but to blame the Democrats, the Press, etc.
“American Conservatism is finished and its remaining adherents are, whether they know it or not, merely ghosts wandering, mazed, in the daylight.”REVILO P. OLIVER
I will describe the environment or what I learned from my experiences with Republican Party colleagues and members. One of the most naive mistakes I made in my early college period was in only associating with left-winged political organizations and advocates, especially on the basis that Democrats were (assumed to be) tolerant. Truthfully-speaking, they were not, as long as you agreed, or aided them. Accepting this was very hurtful during the last election, but never in the years I experienced it subtly. I was part of these groups, knowing I thought differently, and fundamentally about society and politics. I tried to learn from everything, but it was impossible to hold an utterly positive notion of everything. When I became open in my views, in hopes to get them out, so I may develop them, discard and change as I pleased on account of new information, I still lost many colleagues. No one could understand me, and already being an alienated person, it beyond hurt me. At that point, no — at this point still, I am angered and vengeful about it all. There is nothing to prove to those people, and they can think whatever they wish of me. They never consulted me personally, despite getting in shouting matches in public with people who were once friends, over politics. Now, all of a sudden, these people peak on my social media. This is why I deleted my personal social media late last year.
It might had been freeing and different when I hung around those more right-oriented, because I hung around nothing but liberals, socialists, and whatnot for years. Despite the rudeness and disrespect from people on social media who never met me, or don’t know me, because I disagree on a thing, those I knew in person were generally welcoming and respectful. It is just that, they were much more relaxed, given the politically-correct free zone I felt around other Republicans. In this environment, you had to hold your own so to say, and toughen-up, as no one was going to come to your side if you felt offended by some kind of light racial joke; which you were happily expected to mutually exchange with quick wit and laughter than feeling salty. The College Republican scene for me seemed degenerate anyway, given my by the time increasing social conservatism. But I was pretty over the college life by then. Although, I was not religious, I naturally expressed or conducted myself as such, even when I didn’t want to. The puritan manners that I have strangely developed is a puzzle to myself too. All my life, my views, e.g., on sex, liquor, smoking, and music were rather liberal, and now, I only listen to what soothes my soul, eat what helps me healthily — all to help sustain the contemplative life and good mind I want to live. Sure, I desire true friendship, companionship, etc., as anyone else, but searching for that in a group, especially political is not a good route for me.
Hasan Piker on The Young Turks was not fully right in my view a month ago during Trump’s insult of American Jews, when he explained that the Republican Party could win more if they simply fixed their view on Race, pointing to the fact immigrants are more socially conservative. My family can be described as socially conservative and tough on the idea, that there should be no excuse not to achieve a measure of success if you go through college first. Many lectures was about boot-strapping, and just accomplishing what you have to do to get ahead in life. “Focus on the money.” “Focus on yourself first,” before all the social activism I was getting involved in, and admittedly lost and distracted. I’ve since young wondered why they only vote Democrat, when they sound like Republicans sometimes.
I learned early, it was because of views on race and the understanding it gave in their reflections, as they work in education, healthcare, and are veterans. They say, that Republicans don’t like us, care about us, nor understand us (I also have a family of immigrants). They are right. When I’ve gotten into arguments with Conservatives, Libertarian Right, Paleocons, or Alt-Right, they always try to tell me the facts of what really goes on with Blacks, like Shapiro. They tell me what my experiences are, speaking as if we were some “burden” to them; and then they say, my anecdotal evidence isn’t proof. People, that would not step a foot, nor probably ever have, in the neighborhoods, they cannot believe I casually venture, because supposedly, violence is at every corner. They always have the same several sheets or memory of data and statistics they spout from. It is like they’re all reading and listening to the same books, news, podcasts and audios, because they are. Their language, dog whistles and talking points weave together, lead to each other, creating an echo chamber I find false and very uncomfortable. Such thinking had infested the Republican Party for decades!
The Trump voter says he cares about the condition of “people of color,” and yet I’ve never received the respect that shows this. Republican Party only come when it’s time for the National Vote, and they recruit through misleading propaganda, which I see through. When I complain or point it out, what frustrates me is when they go run to get one of us as backup so they can say to me or you, “I’m black and I think they’re [person speaking degradingly of poc] right!” So, they pit one race against itself, then have the nerve to speak about the hypocrisies of the “Plantation Party” (Democrats). It’s so sad, as I knew this was the stereotype of Black Republicans, and I have to deal with being assumed to think like that by association.