Sunday, August 1, 2010

From Neocons to Crazy-Cons?

Well, yeah, according to David Klinghoffer:
What has become of conservatism? We have reached a point at which nothing could be more important than to stop and recall what brought us here, to the right, in the first place.

Buckley's National Review, where I was the literary editor through the 1990s, remains as vital and interesting as ever. But more characteristic of conservative leadership are figures on TV, radio and the Internet who make their money by stirring fears and resentments. With its descent to baiting blacks, Mexicans and Muslims, its accommodation of conspiracy theories and an increasing nastiness and vulgarity, the conservative movement has undergone a shift toward demagoguery and hucksterism. Once the talk was of "neocons" versus "paleocons." Now we observe the rule of the crazy-cons.

Klinghoffer veers into spirituality, and suggests that the conservative vision has lost the "metaphysical dream that allows for ultimate meaning in our existence."

I can't speak for Andrew Breitbart, and I actually reject a good bit of the "craziness" on the right, but as you finish Klinghoffer ask if American politics, realistically, will be returning to a more wistful, respectful era? (And also ask if being "crazy" is code for being "racist"?) Besides, National Review's not my top source for right wing news. I prefer Commentary and Weekly Standard, to say nothing of
Ace of Spades HQ, Instapundit, and The Other McCain. And I read these sources, among others, because they provide me with the intellectual sustenance to "save civilization," which is what Klinghoffer suggests is "what he signed up for" when he became a conservative.

And here's the thing: A lot of us became conservative because we saw society's moral foundations in tatters, and it was the Democratic-left holding the shears. You can always hold up your hands and scream "clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right," but you still have to choose. We have no viable third party movement, and the GOP at present is the best place to form a conservative-libertarian coalition for political victory. And as a party out of power, the most strident voices at the base are going to get a lot of play, especially when new media is driving most of the key political memes. I choose conservatism. It's a no-brainer. But notwithstanding the citations above, I'm not wedded to any particular talking point. I think for myself, thank you. For example, is it crazy to call President Obama a socialist? I think he is (but on an intellectual level, e.g., see Jonah Goldberg, "
What Kind of Socialist Is Barack Obama?"). But that kind of talk gets one attacked as an extremist by the left-wing media machine. How about if you don't submit? Breitbart's attacked mercilessly as a "liar" and a "unprincipled" scoundrel because he gets results. Yet, almost daily I find some MSM outlets reporting not just factual errors, but outright lies, and then people like me are crazy for calling out this sh*t? I don't think so. People are mad. And when people get mad they starting gravitating to more polarizing messages, and some of it can get heated. For me though, Klinghoffer and others like him (which no offense to him, would include idiots like Charles Johnson) simply prop up the left's Media Industrial Complex, and in that sense they're enabling the very anti-conservative forces Andrew Breitbart is finally beginning to take down.


Opus #6 said...

They want us to sit with our hands folded, acting like "good conservatives". Well, I have some news for them.

As the left destroys this nation hammer and tongs, the right is galvanized into action. Get used to it.

Reliapundit said...

well argued, professor!

i will add only this:

i believe in attacking the enemy on all fronts with no holds barred.

to bring down the whole msm/.dem/socialist complex we need to attack them with everything - and sometimes that means overthetop attacks and getting personal and whatever.

moderation in everything except the defense of liberty and the West.

dave in boca said...

Klinghoffer really is a sort of fossil if he thinks NRO is the vanguard of conservatism. Klinghoffer is well-meaning, like the Rockefeller GOP types whom Iowahawk parody.

Even NRO has stand-up guys like Jonah and Andy McCarthy who are actually as strong-minded on Islam as any conservatives or Republicans. Would Klinghoffer call McCarthy "crazy-con" for saying in his recent book The Grand Jihad: How Islam and the Left Threaten America that the Demonrat left and the Islamic terrorists are in a curious parallel mode?

I think that Journolist and other media cabals are ignored by purists like Klinghoffer because, like Gerson and Kathleen Parker at the WaPo and David Brooks at the NYT, the underpinnings for conservative philosophy are not supported by opportunists---and that's what Klinghoffer is.