The dying legitimacy of American conservative politics
What identifies a conservative is that one understands the need for institutional restraints to keep man’s predatory instincts under control, especially in regards to the exercise of political power, Thomas Woods states. Yet, here we are today governed by Conservatives aiding a President abusing political power. Four years is too long to have not corrected themselves.
“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 and the Old Republic, 2017.
So, why the hell does such a thing as a Trump-Conservative exist?
The American Right has an identity issue. In the past decade, the young Conservative 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 a potent stream of traditionalist European Conservative intellectuals, Dark Enlightenment (Anti-Enlighteners and Counter-Revolutionaries), Paleo-Conservatives, Libertarian populist theorists, Post-Liberal theorists, Monarchism and “Third Positionism,” and various ethno-nationalist positions, including conspiracy theorists. Alt-Lite, Alt-Right, Identitarian Right — it doesn’t matter, because the American Right is compromised.
All of that mixing, experimentation and exploration for many did not just disappear, or else 70 million of our fellow Americans would not have voted for a man that appeals to the fantasies of man-boys behind their keyboards more interested in “owning the libs” with memes from their parent’s basements, or busy cosplaying as militia-men, Batroc the Leaper and his terrorists, yet still getting their teeth knocked in at the parks of America by a rando skinny Anarchist, all while still claiming to be “Alpha-Males.”
Basically, many have circled outside of the American political tradition, and seem to be able to allow themselves to believe they are: the rightful protectors of the Republic, of the Constitution and the Founders, Pro-Police, Pro-Military . . . y’know, All-American. They also see themselves as the real patriots versus those Democrats and Leftists who ‘hate their country’ because civil disobedience, fighting for civil justice and rights, and criticizing American history is Anti-American, though it isn’t.
The delusion that has taken over the Right is at this point for me far too much to bear, and too far along its course of self-destruction for me to ever allow myself to have a single ounce of trust for any “American Conservative” politician.
Now, there’s nothing “Imaginative” about these Conservatives, nor anymore excuses for them to run, given the fact, that Conservative intellectuals as we may find on The Imaginative Conservative have been abandoned for a man with the face color of a orange soda, and a brain the size of one. The kids today don’t read Kirk.
As you can tell from what I stated in the beginning, this entire God, Country and People thing American Conservatives play at as their identity in this country is a lie. Thomas Woods does not seem to understand, that it is the very rationale in Conservatism that led to them, as he claims, misunderstanding their own “tradition.”
They have been in-fact asking the question very straight-forward, “What is real Conservatism?” So then, they looked into this history of their own tradition, and what did they find?
They took on the history of the Right. They are finding a host of traditions, ideologies, and thinkers, that are in fact oppositional . . . very historically adversarial towards Republicanism and Ancient Democracy, despite the condition of our own broken one. Their belief in democracy is very weakened to the point, many believe there was never even a vision to hope for. They sound very similar in tone to the somber and realist attitude of the early Fascist philosophers and the monarchists’ (during the republican revolutions) thoughts on Democracy. You do not need to be a “Conservative” to be moral, or a lover of tradition, ancient knowledge and antiquity. Our love for those things anyway, as Classicists like to demonstrate can also ever only be partial, never fully.
No one appreciates an “imaginative conservative,” especially in this hour. Sure, they need the intellectuals to make them appear legitimate. However, voters on the Right just want to win and hold power, because of the propaganda they learn, the things they believe the other side will do to the country. Conspiracy theory is their last refuge, yet it continues to keep them afloat. American conservative tradition is impoverished, which is why many on the Right were pulled in many other different directions, in the hopes of finding a better winning formula in the ole’ “Culture War.” Once I realized I did not need to fit all of my imagination into Conservative Tradition years ago anyway, that is part of what helped me see through the false suavité of the Conservative.
Thanks to Conservative politicians in my country, and those that vote for them, I continue to.
“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