Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Andrew Sullivan is No Conservative

Andrew Sullivan continues to claim he is conservative time and again (and of course, he is not), and then he has readers who send him e-mails declaiming anything to do with what are basic conservative views, like this one:

I celebrated Easter yesterday with my ultra conservative family. I love my family but they have gone so far to the right over the past 8 years that it is difficult to have any sort of discussion with them. I think they are typical of conservatives born in the baby boom. They are scarred by the culture wars and the hatred they have for the left is so strong that it becomes disturbing.

Another important point is that 9/11 pushed them away from any level of pragmatism. My family is originally from Manhattan, so 9/11 was taken as a very personal attack. My father worked on the 76th floor of the WTC for years, he lost a lot of friends that day...

So with this in mind I compiled a few themes from the days discussions that you might find interesting (or horrifying). None of this is ground breaking but it is interesting to see these generalizations about the current conservative movement be personified in ones family.

1. Total insulation from MSM.

Everyone refuses to read the New York Times or Washington Post. Sunday morning while getting ready for Church I put on "Meet the Press" and my father looked on with disgust and changed the channel to Fox News. At dinner I brought up an article in The Economist that was critical of Barack Obama and my uncle said that it was a socialist rag.

2. Distrust of centrists When discussing the future of the Republican party I suggested that we needed to create a bigger tent and avoid social issues that alienated us from younger voters. My GRANDMOTHER responded that we don't need the back benchers like Christopher Buckley dictating our principles. I think that line was straight from the Mark Levin show.

3. Neoconservative aspirations The most interesting part of the day, was that so much of the discussion focused on the Somali Pirate issue. It was the story of the day, but I didn't think their was that much to talk about. Surely, not as interesting as talking about Iran, Obama's budget, the economy etc. However we spent most of the day discussing Obama's lackluster response to the issue and the weakness he displayed in not acting quicker. My father was incensed that the media kept referring to this as a crime rather then an act of terrorism. His suggestion was to engage in a land war in Somalia...

It convinced me of one thing that if a new conservatism is going to flourish, it is going to have to be led by a younger generation. People born between 1947 and 1960 have way too much baggage.
I'll be travelling with my wife and sons to Fresno on Thursday to spend the weekend at my father-in-law's. Fox News will be on all morning, then most likely some History Channel in the afternoon. We'll have big dinners with the extended family on the weekends. The views expressed by Sullivan's reader will be bread and butter around the dinner table. I'll be very comfortable hanging out and rejoicing in the community of people who love America without having to think about it first.

Conservatism is alive and well in this country, and it makes me happy to see an example of regular folks (not "extreme") living their lives not much differently from how my family members live.

Memo to Andrew: I know conservatives. My family is conservative. You, sir, are no conservative.

10 comments:

Dan Nexon said...

You used to call your blog "Burkean Reflections." Surely you must have some idea of why Sullivan characterizes himself as a conservative?

Perhaps my perspective is too colored by not being a self-identified conservative, but I see "conservativism" as a much broader set of principles than adherence to the world view of the Fox News Channel.

Donald Douglas said...

I do, Dan, but I bailed on Burkeanism because I couldn't sustain it intellectually (and that's a "previous" blog - I've changed, as has Sully).

I think you're right that conservatism can be broader, and yeah, the Fox folks could be seen as a caricature, but Sullivan has gone over to the progressive left. Even toys with the idea of announcing he's on the other side. He should just come out with it all the way.

Tim said...

Donald: We were just in Fresno last weekend, and I'm sorry there won't be any dissenting voices heard at the dinner table this weekend!

Just so your readers know, Fresno is in the middle of the most conservative part of California. The San Joaquin Valley is a red state in the midst of liberal greatness. It's also where I grew up, so it can't be that bad.

Dan Nexon said...

Donald: you're not really being responsive. Unless you're saying that you came to the conclusion that you weren't a Burkean. But, surely, you would agree that Burkean conservatives are conservatives, even if that leads them to reject neo-conservative principles when they conflict with Burkean ones?

JBW said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JBW said...

"I'll be very comfortable hanging out and rejoicing in the community of people who love America without having to think about it first.""We love America just as much as they do. But in a different way. You see, they love America the way a four-year-old loves her mommy. Liberals love America like grown-ups. To a four-year-old, everything Mommy does is wonderful and anyone who criticizes Mommy is bad. Grown-up love means actually understanding what you love, taking the good with the bad, and helping your loved one grow." -Al Franken, in Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them on how conservatives and liberals love America differently

Yes, thinking is highly overrated, isn't it Don? Thank God all you have to do is thank God and watch FOX News to be completely informed.

Tim said...

JBW: They may have God on their side.

We have humor. Way stronger!

JBW said...

If their god makes me laugh is that the same thing, Tim?

tomas said...

But guys......Douglas' father-in-law has Fox news playing all morning!!

Now there's "conservative" in all its rigor right there folks!

UNRR said...

This post has been linked for the HOT5 Daily 4/15/2009, at The Unreligious Right