For years I fought against anything conservative….I thought that their policies were harming a large portion of the society…..but starting in 2010 I became afraid of what conservatives had become….a political tribe that had no real policies that benefited society and the conservs of old were not so bad after all……
It is no secret that I am not a fan of our current president…..I find is approach to politics as uncouth as it can get…..
Analysts of all stripes have been peering through the political dust of 2017 to figure out what the hell happened. The academic monographs and bombshell memoirs stand side by side on the already groaning bookshelf devoted to explaining the Trump phenomenon. In all likelihood it will take decades to get a proper perspective on the year in American history that has irrevocably transformed the political landscape.
That transformation is deep-seated. It has not only created a schism separating competing ideas; it has pried apart the very conceptual frameworks that shapes those ideas, a gestalt change that signals we have reached a turning point in history. What we are witnessing is a watershed shift in philosophical first principles. The first irony to be observed is that this sweeping philosophical transformation was occasioned by perhaps the least philosophically minded president in United States history.
Before, years gone by, there was an intellectual component to conservatism….a component that had substantive debates with the Left….but those days are gone….now it is boiled down to slogans and insults…..the conservatism of old is dead….
Had conservatism a Cassandra, she might, amidst the current mood of triumph, point out that whereas 50 years ago the American Right boasted several political theorists destined to exert a lasting influence, today it has not one to its credit. In the 1950s and ’60s, James Burnham, Richard Weaver, Leo Strauss, Harry Jaffa, Russell Kirk, Friedrich Hayek, and Willmoore Kendall (among others) were all at the apex of their powers. No figure of similar stature remains.
To be sure, this does not mean that conservatism has gone into intellectual decline. We may, on the contrary, be living through the high summer of conservative ideas in America. If in 1950 all the right-wing intellectuals in America could fit into a single living room, today they could fill Madison Square Garden; if in 1950 one could read their combined monthly output in a single sitting, today one could not possibly keep abreast of the voluminous popular and scholarly literature that they produce. From journalism, politics, and law to religion, economics, and international relations, self-identified right-wingers abound.
I long for the days of the intellectual conservative and I think conservatives are also longing for those days gone by.